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Mayday calls

Guest skydemon

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Guest skydemon

G'day all, I am just having a read through the flight guides on auf.asn.au (in particular emergency procedures) and I notice there are some discrepancies between what is published and what I was taught.


from http://www.auf.asn.au/comms/safety.html :


<div ="quotation">


When a non-instrument rated recreational pilot realises that he/she is likely to be in difficulties (very low on fuel – lost or in failing light – low cloud and rising terrain) or that the difficulty has arrived (the engine has failed), the top priorities are to (a) fly the aircraft (b) continue flying the aircraft whilst running through the pre-planned emergency drills and ©


decide the best landing area. During this period an assessment must be


made of the probable outcome in terms of possible injury and/or


survival following the landing.


* If the aircraft is


normally controllable, visibility is OK and the area is clear terrain


with normal rural population density and road infrastructure, then the


landing will not be life threatening and, if unable to remedy the fault


on the ground, the pilot won't have to walk far to find assistance. In


this circumstance most ultralight pilots would not consider


communicating any form of alert except, perhaps, to advise an


accompanying aircraft.


* If however the pilot is experiencing control difficulty, or the


terrain is rough and/or heavily treed, or in a more remote area, then


it is most likely that the landing cannot be carried out without risk


of injury and the ultralight pilot would be well advised to initiate a


distress broadcast – a MAYDAY call.


In between these two extremes there are circumstances which make some


form of alert or urgency communication advisable, even if the pilot


doesn't want to ask for help or feels a bit embarrassed about it. (But – in my book – better red than dead).


The frequency chosen, at the pilot's discretion, depends on


circumstances and should be that which is most likely to provide a


quick response or rapid assistance at the scene. One option is the


local CTAF if other aircraft or a Unicom operator are known to be on


frequency. Otherwise if the pilot is not in contact with Air Traffic


Services, the norm for ultralight aviation, the first choice response


station will usually be Flightwatch, on the area frequency. A third


option is the international VHF distress frequency of 121.5 MHz which


is continually monitored by RPT aircraft.


However, I was taught to ALWAYS transmit a mayday call if in a situation such as an engine failure on the local center freq (in my case 120.0) and squawk 7700 (this is assuming I am not within gliding distance of an airfield),


but going but what was quoted above it is ok to exclude a mayday call


completely assuming you are confident in landing the plane without


incident. It also does not mention having to squawk 7700 when in




Any comments?



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Posted on behalf of a guest:




There's far better value in lining yourself up for a nice landing than worrying about who to call.


In theory if you are already on the appropriate frequency for your area all you need to do is transmit when in trouble.


Valuable time can be lost when trying to dial up an alternate


frequency, especially if you've got one of those fiddly Microair's or




If time is tight, it may be quicker to set off your ELT first - you can


always cancel it later if you land ok. Better to be safe than sorry.


If you can, always lodge a flight plan too and activate flight following if appropriate.


7700 is probably not on the RA-Aus website because of the relatively


limited number of U/L aircraft with transponders fitted. Michael,


looking on the website at the Jabiru's that you've been flying, they


appear to be the exception to the norm and are fairly well equipped


with transponders, etc. This isn't usually the norm.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Steven


Its interesting that you point out that 8 Gazelles that you know of have transponders. This is probably, as a guess, due to so many Gazelles having been VH registered at some point in their life.



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