Sudden From Sweden, joined Jul 2001, 4128 posts, RR: 6 Posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 10383 times:
What I wonder is pretty simple, I think.
When a pilot declares PAN PAN PAN, what is the procedure for ATC then?
MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY is very clear in regards to give priority for landing at nearest suitable airfield, or the pilot will set the A/C down where appropriate, assuming pilots have some control over the A/C.
PAN is not as severe as MAYDAY, so what action does ATC take, and what info will the pilot need to provide ATC with?
Would there also be any preparations made at the airport they are inbound for? Firedepartment and so forth.
A couple of years ago we had an inbound flight declaring PAN PAN PAN, but ATC didn't know what it meant. Now that's a scary thing, cause a PAN can eventually lead to MAYDAY call, I would guess.
Couple of days later I spoke to some pilots about it while preparing their outbound flight, and they found it really "odd" (what they really said is not suitable for this board) as this is something ATC should know about.
Quoting AIM, http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publi...ons/ATPubs/AIM/aim.pdf:
a. A pilot who encounters a distress or urgency condition can obtain assistance simply by contacting the air traffic facility or other agency in whose area of responsibility the aircraft is operating, stating the nature of the difficulty, pilot's intentions and assistance desired. Distress and urgency communications procedures are prescribed by the International
Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), however, and have decided advantages over the informal procedure described above.
b. Distress and urgency communications procedures discussed in the following paragraphs relate to the use of air ground voice communications.
c. The initial communication, and if considered necessary, any subsequent transmissions by an aircraft in distress should begin with the signal MAYDAY, preferably repeated three times. The signal PAN-PAN should be used in the same manner for an urgency condition.
d. Distress communications have absolute priority over all other communications, and the word MAYDAY commands radio silence on the frequency in use. Urgency communications have priority over all other communications except distress, and the word PAN-PAN warns other stations not to interfere with urgency transmissions.
Jayeshrulz From India, joined Apr 2007, 1021 posts, RR: 2 Reply 4, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 10268 times:
When the pilot Tells PAN PAN PAN, he says it in the sense of urgency...
maybe when the fuel is low,the pilot may say he is low on fuel and atc will help it atleast to get in to no 2 or 3.
Or if he declares pan, it may lead that atc will act fast and give it immediate landing.
the pilot may be helped to divert to nearest airport if it wont be anything fast.
So what i think is he will get more attention...in it maybe done in medical emergencies for fuel thing...or if there is a minor problem to the aircraft.
Bri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4 Reply 5, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 10216 times:
As a pilot, I don't think I'd use PAN-PAN too often. If I have a situation that needs priority from ATC, I'm going to delcare an emergency. That does a number of things:
1.) It eliminates any confusion (within ATC's mind, my mind, or other pilot's minds) about what ATC should do for me. They should do everything they can to accommodate my request, period.
2.) It invokes a clause in the FARs allowing me to violate any FAR to the extent necessary to meet the demands of the emergency I've declared. For a simplistic example, if I am (stupidly) low on fuel and need to land NOW, I might make non-standard maneuvers or exceed speed limits or other instructions in order to get on the ground quickly and safely.
3.) It allows me to set 7700 in my transponder, so if I end up having an off-airport landing, my location is prominently displayed on the controller's screen and rescue personnel can find me immediately.
I have always believed that filling out a form, if requested by the FAA, is a small price to pay to guarantee those things. PAN-PAN just seems like it would confuse things.
Swiftski From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 2701 posts, RR: 2 Reply 6, posted (3 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 10203 times:
Quoting Sudden (Thread starter): A couple of years ago we had an inbound flight declaring PAN PAN PAN, but ATC didn't know what it meant. Now that's a scary thing, cause a PAN can eventually lead to MAYDAY call, I would guess.
I don't believe this is true.
A PAN PAN call gives the aircraft priority over all other aircraft except MAYDAY aircraft.
I can tell you it's true as I worked at the airport in question where this happened, and everybody was talking about it at work after seeing it on the news.
Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 5): If I have a situation that needs priority from ATC, I'm going to delcare an emergency. That does a number of things:
1.) It eliminates any confusion (within ATC's mind, my mind, or other pilot's minds) about what ATC should do for me.
Great and logic answer! May I ask a follow up question?
I know that PAN PAN is not as severe as declaring an emergency, but what main factors differentiate the 2 in that case? You state that you would declare an emergency to eliminate any confusion. Makes sense, so is it fair to say that PAN PAN could be taken out completely?
AirstairFear From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 82 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 9804 times:
Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 5): It allows me to set 7700 in my transponder, so if I end up having an off-airport landing, my location is prominently displayed on the controller's screen and rescue personnel can find me immediately.
Many many years ago I believe I heard something to this effect at some sort of FAA safety workshop: *IF* you are already in contact with ATC and have been assigned a transponder code, it's better to _not_ squawk 7700 and just remain where you were assigned.
I do not remember the reason. Is this even true, any controllers care to chime in?
Perhaps it causes their computers to lose your info attached to the target? And first responders do not have radar scopes anyway so they're just going to get the loc info from the same guy at center you were already talking to. Again, this all is assuming you were in contact with somebody before you got in trouble.
And closely related... 121.5 is about the worst way to ask for help if you know where you are. That one I can understand.
Yes, if you arbitrarily change your transponder code it could cause your tag to drop off the scope. This would create more work for the controller or worse cause him to lose track of where you are.
As for the original question there wouldn't be much difference in how I would handle the situation if a pilot said Pan Pan or Mayday. I would find out what the problem was, what the pilots intentions were and go from there. Honestly unless there is a lot of frequency congestion it's just easier for pilot forgo the "theatrics" and explain what problem is, what they need and declare a emergency if need be. I think both expressions are mostly holdovers from older eras of air transportation. Also there is no ATC flow chart that says if a pilot declares pan pan then he gets x% of the attention unless someone declares mayday then the pan gets y% and then mayday gets z%. Each situation is different and needs unique handling.
Bri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4 Reply 10, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9683 times:
Quoting Sudden (Reply 7): what main factors differentiate the 2 in that case
I don't really know, and flying single-pilot, I wouldn't really want to waste time trying to figure it out. I could probably think of a few examples where I could use PAN-PAN, but I could also use MAYDAY in any of those and still get the results I want. I am very appreciative of the bevy of resources available to me from ATC, and will do what I need to in order to take advantage of them as necessary. I could think of a few examples:
1.) Flying VFR, I encounter IMC and need ATC assistance immediately. Calling up the local controller "VFR with request," I am told he/she is too busy for VFR requests. I could declare "PAN-PAN, PAN-PAN, PAN-PAN, Cessna N12345 inadvertent IMC, request immediate radar service" or something similar. But I could do the same with "MAYDAY" and get the assistance I need. In either case, I'm probably going to be asked to review the incident with the FAA later on, but if I am safely on the ground, that's the best outcome.
2.) Flying with a passenger who experiences a medical problem. Perhaps it's not life-threatening, but a passenger gets severely ill. The closest field with good access to medical resources is a Class C airport, and Approach tells me to remain outside of the airspace on initial contact. I could declare "PAN-PAN," explain the medical needs of the passenger, and request immediate landing, and I would probably get it. Of course, declaring "MAYDAY" with the same conditions would result in the same outcome for me and the passenger.
There is only one thing about declaring "MAYDAY" that I don't like -- the request from the controller, time permitting, for the pilot to relate "fuel remaining and number of souls on board." That always sends an ominous chill down my spine.
Quoting Jgarrido (Reply 9): if you arbitrarily change your transponder code it could cause your tag to drop off the scope
If I was IFR or VFR with flight following and a discrete code, there would be no need to use the emergency code. I should clarify that I would do this only if VFR and squawking 1200 as my target might be indistinguishable from other VFR traffic at the point where I might lose radar contact.
ARFFdude From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 145 posts, RR: 1 Reply 13, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9666 times:
Don't forget the controllers can also declare an emergency for you. I've had it happen several times where the tower has requested us to roll the trucks and be out there for an aircraft where the pilot has specifically stated he does not want any equipment response. There was actually a fairly heated argument between the pilot and the controller once over it.
Fabo From Slovakia, joined Aug 2005, 1156 posts, RR: 1 Reply 17, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 9472 times:
Bri2k1: I am not sure about FAA procs, but from what you are saying, it sure seems as if there is no difference between emergency and distress there.
While here, distress call (pan pan) is made, when attention is necessary, but destruction or damage of the aircraft is not likely i.e. aircraft is not in "imminent danger" (typically, medical condition, non-destructive engine shutdown inflight, or limited fuel) while emergency call (mayday) would be issued when immediate action is required to avoid plane damage up to destruction (destructive engine shutdown, for ex. as result of birdstrike, rapid fuel loss, explosive decompression, etc). There is also difference in rescue service provided etc.
Hope I am speaking clearly and no confusion is about to arise
The light at the end of tunnel turn out to be a lighted sing saying NO EXIT
9VSIO From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 651 posts, RR: 2 Reply 18, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 9452 times:
There is a difference in that a Pan will be superseded by a Mayday. But the controller, assuming that nothing else is going on, will take pans very seriously as it could well develop into a mayday.
The only time I've heard a pan call was when I had requested a MATZ transit and before the controller could reply, one of the Red Arrows made a pan call due to a bird strike. The controller pretty much stopped everything and gave his full attention to the Red Arrow, right up till he was handed off to tower.
Perhaps not the fairest indication of a Pan situation, as it was a Red Arrow, but thought I would share. He did a broadcast to the effect of "all stations, stand by, emergency in progress".
Also, one can do practice pans, but not maydays. At least in the UK.
Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
Meristem From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 73 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 9444 times:
My experience with the degree of difference between pan-pan and mayday comes from boating and from EMS; based on some situations it's transferable. A pilot would pan-pan due to mechanical failure not leading to immediate critical system failure (I need down, but not down now now now) or, for example, you have an adult passenger who is suddenly presenting with high fever above 100 F, or who just had an asthma attack needing the use of an inhaler and the passenger's breathing seems ok but he or she has no idea why the attack was triggered. These are emergencies with relatively long fuses.
Compare with low fuel (stupid human trick category), low fuel (stupid mechanical trick category), heart attack reversed by onboard AED, passenger throwing up blood, passenger in sudden advanced stage of labor. Those emergencies have very short fuses.
Pan-pan: Non-life threatening/ Need priority assistance
Mayday: Life threatening/Need immediate assistance
However, I do believe that at thousands of feet ASL, the definition of 'life-threatening' cannot be narrow.
Curiosity killed that cat. I still have some lives left.
Bri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4 Reply 21, posted (3 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 9334 times:
Quoting Meristem (Reply 19): Pan-pan: Non-life threatening/ Need priority assistance
Mayday: Life threatening/Need immediate assistance
However, I do believe that at thousands of feet ASL, the definition of 'life-threatening' cannot be narrow.
This kind of sums up my feelings. I don't mean to imply there's no difference, and I quoted from the FAR/AIM and Pilot/Controller Glossary which is as close to the FARs as I can get from a Part 91 pilot's perspective for these terms.
I guess the key for me is that ATC is almost always very efficient, professional, and responsive, and I'm going to do what I need to so I get their attention when I need them. I don't think anyone is going to get in trouble for declaring MAYDAY when they could have declared PAN-PAN, or even the other way around. ATC is standing by and prepared to help me when I'm in trouble, and I'm going to take advantage of that.
If I declare PAN-PAN and then relate that I need EMS at the airport for a critically ill passenger, ATC is going to have the ambulance standing by even though I didn't call MAYDAY. As another poster mentioned, ATC can also declare an emergency even if the pilot doesn't, and can have ARFF crews or other assistance mobilized at their discretion.
My instructor always said, "You're paying for the services of ATC, why not use them?" I always file IFR or get VFR flight following at a minimum. Someday, it might not be "free" like it is today, and I'll sure miss it.
Jayeshrulz From India, joined Apr 2007, 1021 posts, RR: 2 Reply 22, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 9007 times:
I think it is still useful.
Eg, If you are low on fuel and you want to land in priority, even though there are 15 aircrafts holding, you get the priority.
But when you land, you get to face a lot of questions by the ATC as why were you low on fuel and why wasn't the appropriate fuel carried in the airplane.It may freak you out sometimes.
But if its a necessity, the you can for sure declare a pan and get help.
Sprout5199 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1822 posts, RR: 2 Reply 23, posted (3 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 8972 times:
To me, flying in a C-152, a Pan-Pan would be my door window flying off, no real emergency, but makes me nervious (but in reality I, being a low time student, would call a Mayday in real life), and a bird strike or something like that would be a Mayday. Both would also call for new shorts, and seat covers.
Gemuser From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 5457 posts, RR: 6 Reply 24, posted (3 years 11 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 8771 times:
Reaching back into my BAK (Basic Aeronautical Knowledge) test days ( and that's quite a ways now), in Oz jurisdiction anyway, a pan pan call signaled an emergency that DID NOT threaten the immediate operation of the aircraft and a mayday call was an emergency that DID threaten the operation of the aircraft.
An example commonly used was an engine failure was a mayday, but a pax heart attack was a pan pan.
Quoting Sprout5199 (Reply 23): To me, flying in a C-152, a Pan-Pan would be my door window flying off, no real emergency,
Interesting example as the C-152 is certified to fly without the window/door fitted, so pan pan would be appropriate, but some aircraft are NOT certified to fly without the door being intact, in that case it would be a mayday call. (Can't remember now but there were several aircraft types around in the 1970s that were not certified to fly without the doors on).