Emergency Services #
The pilot in command may vary from any aviation rule to the extent necessary to respond to an emergency demanding quick action; this is where Emergency Service comes in. On that, the law is very clear. Additionally, the pilot has access to a number of services that may be used to help address any issues that may arise during the flight, so they are not alone in this circumstance. When a pilot deviates from an ATC clearance during an emergency, the PIC is required to immediately alert ATC and obtain a revised clearance. This is also obvious: take care of the emergency first, then explain what happened, and be ready to provide documentation if necessary.
The pilot in command is the ultimate decision-maker and is directly in charge of ensuring the aircraft is operated safely. On top of that, the rules are very clear. Because the PIC is essentially the boss, the crew and passengers must obey him in an emergency. Pilots should not be reluctant to declare an emergency when faced with a situation requiring action, such as one involving distress or haste. Running out of fuel, for instance, after less than an hour on board, is an excellent illustration. An urgent scenario is what we have here. When the engine actually fails and a landing is required, a distress situation develops.
A number of technologies have been created by the aviation industry to assist an aircraft in an emergency. Transponders, emergency locators, emergency direction finding devices, radar services, and intercept and escort services. Last but not least, there are search and rescue organizations that have the necessary tools.
Radar Services #
When the pilot is able to communicate with ATC, a VFR aircraft in trouble might ask for radar support and guidance services from them. But keep in mind that you must remain VFR; if a clearance will send you into the clouds, you should decline it and let ATC know. As the PIC, you will still be in charge even if this radar service is essentially navigational support. The majority of VFR pilots lacked the necessary training to conduct safe instrument flying. In order to avoid IFR circumstances, it is prudent to keep the controller informed of the weather you are currently experiencing.
Choose a course of action that will enable you to safely land in VFR conditions, if at all possible. If the aircraft is equipped for IFR flight and you currently hold an IFR rating, you may proceed. If not, think about announcing a distress situation if the scenario prevents a safe flight.
Transponders should be set to mode A/3 code 7700, mode 3/C altitude, and, if fitted, mode S when a pilot declares a distress or emergency situation. This will allow you to contact the closest ATC facility. When they detect code 7700 or any other specific designated transponder code, radar installations will sound an alarm. TIP: When switching your transponder to a different code, be careful not to unintentionally choose any of these codes. Make careful to turn it off, enter the new code, and then turn it back on before returning it to ALT.
Direction Finding #
Pilots have traditionally relied on direction finding (DF) technology to assist with navigation, find missing aircraft, and direct them to VFR weather. The airport must only have direction finding equipment, which consists of a unique antenna and radio receiver with an indicator. Practice these DF steers, making sure to do so in VFR conditions and preferably with an instructor on board, is beneficial for VFR pilots. This won’t happen anymore in the modern day when every pilot owns a mobile device with powerful navigational software.
Emergency Locators #
The Cospass-Sarsat satellite system keeps an eye on these devices, which emit a downward sweep on specific frequencies. Although they include a crash detector, they can be manually triggered (G-force switch). They can communicate airplane data, including position, when engaged.