Author Topic: is emergency always a distress?  (Read 4363 times)

Offline busy

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is emergency always a distress?
« on: February 05, 2014, 04:49:39 PM »
Hi! It's just a matter of terms used in aviation.
 Could you clarify something for me, please?
Heard a couple of times pilots "declaring emergency". And I wonder if "emergency" means distress or the situation is not clear till the pilot says "MAYDAY" or "PAN". I mean does "emergency" is the same as distress or it can be urgency as well.

Offline blakepilot

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Re: is emergency always a distress?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2014, 10:55:26 AM »
Well there's several levels of priority interpreted when dealing with ATC - at least here in the US.  The lowest would be asking for priority from ATC for something like approaching minimum fuel.  Not an emergency, but telling ATC you don't have much room for any delays or penalty vectors.  If a pilot declares emergency, that means they need to get on the ground immediately with no delays.  Sometimes you here airline pilots use the emergency phraseology when they get at minimum fuel in busy airspace.  They need to have time to complete an approach and possibly go around without further holding or delay.  Pan-pan is the international version of declaring an emergency that requires priority.  Mayday would be the ultimate distress call, and would almost always be used by any pilot that's in a life threatening situation likely ending in casualty.