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EMERGENCY AUTHORITY By: Alan Armstrong Copyright 2009. Alan Armstrong. All Rights Reserved.

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Presentation on theme: "EMERGENCY AUTHORITY By: Alan Armstrong Copyright 2009. Alan Armstrong. All Rights Reserved."— Presentation transcript:

1 EMERGENCY AUTHORITY By: Alan Armstrong Copyright 2009. Alan Armstrong. All Rights Reserved.

2 I. BACKGROUND The PIC is the final authority to the safe outcome of the flight FAR Section 91.3(a). There are a number of regulations and provisions in the AIM that confirm the nature and extent of the PIC’s emergency authority. There are several misconceptions about the emergency authority of a pilot. The first is if you declare an emergency you will be buried in paperwork. While there are several FAR that declare a report may be requested, in my experience being buried in paperwork seldom follows an exercise of emergency authority, provided you did not create the emergency by poor judgment or improper pre-flight planning. Second, It is important that you are not meeting an emergency you created. Third, you may be deviating to meet an emergency even though the “E” word is never stated or declared Page 2

3 II. THE REGULATIONS AND AERONATUICAL INFORMATION MANUAL 91.3(a)Pilot-in-Command is the final authority with respect to operation of the aircraft. 91.3(b)The Pilot-In-Command may deviate as required to meet an in flight emergency to the extent required to meet the emergency. 91.3(c)The FAA may require the pilot to submit a written report. - - This is seldom required in my experience. 91.123(b)“Except in an emergency no person may operate contrary to an ATC instruction…” NOTE: Section 91.123 (b) says you will not deviate from an “instruction.” Page 3

4 An instruction is not a defined term in FAR § 1.1 – The Definitions -- Nor is it a defined term in the Pilot/Controller Glossary of AIM. “Air Traffic Control clearance. An authorization by Air Traffic Control for the purpose of preventing a collision between known aircraft, for an aircraft to proceed under specified conditions within controlled airspace. The Pilot-In- Command of an aircraft may not deviate from the provisions of a VFR or IFR clearance except in an emergency or unless an amended clearance has been obtained.” AIM, Pilot/Controller Glossary, p. 937. 91.123(c) “Each Pilot-In-Command who, in an emergency, or in response to a traffic alert and collision avoidance system resolution advisory, deviates from an ATC clearance or instruction shall notify ATC of that deviation as soon as possible.” NOTE: This regulation does not equate a clearance with an instruction, but an instruction remains an undefined term. Note also that I have seen the FAA include a violation of Section 91.123(c) for a momentary altitude deviation. Page 4

5 91.123(d)“Each Pilot-In-Command who (though not deviating from a rule under this subpart) is given priority by ATC in an emergency shall submit a detailed report of that emergency within 48 hours to the manager of that ATC facility if requested by ATC. AIM 6-3-1(d) “Distress communications have absolute priority over other communications, and the word MAYDAY commands radio silence on the frequency…” AIM 6-3-1(c) “While MAYDAY is repeated three times to signal the aircraft is in distress, PAN-PAN is repeated three times to convey to ATC an urgent condition. Page 5

6 AIM 6-3-2(a) “A pilot in any distress or urgency condition should immediately take the following action, not necessary in the order listed, to obtain assistance: 1. Climb, if possible for improved communications, and better radar and direction finding detection. However, it must be understood that unauthorized climb or descent under IFR conditions within controlled airspace is prohibited, except as permitted by 14 C.F.R. § 91.3(b).” NOTE: What the FAA is saying is just because you are too low to talk to ATC or be seen on radar is not, alone, a reason to climb into IFR conditions. Nor, are you authorized to descend into IFR conditions. However, you may take action to meet the emergency under § 91.3(b) and this may include climbing or descending into IFR conditions. After all, you are the Pilot-In- Command under § 91.3(a). Page 6

7 AIM 6-3-2(a)(2): If you have declared an emergency or conveyed an urgent condition to ATC, you remain on your discrete code if IFR or continue squawking 1200 if VFR. You only squawk 7700 if you cannot communicate with ATC. AIM 6-3-2(a)(3):Your distress or urgency call should include: a.MAYDAY or PAN-PAN; b.Name of station addressed; c.Aircraft identification and type; d.Distress or urgency; e.Weather; f.Pilot’s intentions and request; g.Present position and heading; or if lost, last known position, time and heading since that position; h.Altitude; i.Fuel remaining in minutes; j.Number of people on board; k.Other useful information. Page 7

8 AIM 6-3-2(b): “After establishing radio contact, comply with advice and instructions received…” Reading these provisions together explains the old adage: “Climb, Communicate, Confess and Comply.” AIM 6-3-2(c) :Bailout or Crash Landing. Time and circumstances permitting broadcast: - (1)ELT Status - (2)Visible landmarks - (3)Aircraft color - (4)Souls on board - (5)Emergency equipment on board Page 8

9 AIM 6-3-2(c): -Ditch near surface vessel -Remain with your aircraft Review of Transponder Codes: 7500 Hijack 7600 Nordo 7700 Emergency Page 9

10 III. PRE-FLIGHT PLANNING Remember you should not create the emergency. So that means proper pre-flight planning. Page 10

11 91.103 (a):IFR: Wx, forecasts, fuel requirements, alternate, traffic delays Any flight: runway lengths, take off and landing distance in AFM or other reliable data on aircraft performance. AIM 5-1-1:Preflight Preparation: Wx, departure and arrival airports, en route, navaid status, NOTAMS both Local and Distant AIM 5-1-1(f):Info to provide briefer: (1)Type of flight plan IFR/VFR (2)Aircraft N number and pilot’s name (3)Aircraft type (4)Departure airport (5)Route of flight (6)Destination (7)Flight altitudes (8)ETD and ETE Page 11

12 91.167(a):IFR Fuel Requirements a.Fly to first airport, missed approach b.Fly to alternate, missed approach c.Fly 45 minutes at normal cruising speed. NOTE: Normal cruising speed may be a bone of contention. 91.185 Radio Failure on IFR Flight Plan (b)VFR land as soon as practicable (c)IFR: Route Cleared, direct, expect, filed, Altitude: Higher for the route segment of cleared, minimum en route altitude (mea), or altitude told to expect. Page 12

13 WAKE TURBULENCE AIM 7-3-8(c):Pilots are reminded that in operations conducted behind all aircraft, acceptance of instructions from Air Traffic Control in the following situations is an acknowledgement that the pilot will ensure safe takeoff and landing intervals. VFR Fuel Requirements FAR 91.151: 30 minute day and 45 minute night Note: FAA Interpretation 2005-12 says using reserve fuel is not alone a violation of the FAR. 91.119Minimum safe altitudes -500’ above other than congested areas -No closer than 500’ to person, vessel or structure -Congested area 1000’ above highest obstacle within 2,000’ horizontal radius of aircraft -This comes into play if you are scud running Page 13

14 IV. AN EMERGENCY MAY BE UNDECLARED Airliner departing Hawaii for Germany. Returned without dumping fuel and landed overgross. Emergency was never declared. However, Captain was deviating from FARS to meet an emergency and exonerated. Page 14

15 V. HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF Two magic words: #1 “Unable:” I can’t comply with your clearance or instruction. #2 “Block Altitude” if in turbulence. Page 15

16 VI. CONCLUSION The better your pre-flight planning and the better you understand the requirements of the FAR, the less likely you will be required to exercise your emergency authority because of something you did or failed to do. If you do confront an emergency, deviate from the regulations and deal with the impact of the deviation later. Don’t hesitate to declare an emergency. Don’t forget “Unable.” Don’t forget “Block Altitude.” Page 16

17 Don’t forget that if you are cleared to depart after a jet less than 3 minutes after it departed, you can decline the takeoff clearance. When ATC says “caution, wake turbulence” it is putting the responsibility for separation on your shoulders. You can decline the clearance. So, the better your pre-flight planning, the less likely you will have to employ your emergency authority and the more defendable your position if you do declare an emergency. If you do have to employ your emergency authority, having a complete knowledge of the regulations and procedures should make you less apprehensive in exercising your emergency authority. Page 17

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