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smartt1982
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Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:02 pm

From speaking to other pilots there seems to be a lot of variation were one would declare a situation as a mayday and another as a Pan.

In my mind, an engine flame out = Pan Call

An engine fire, that was extinguished = again a Pan call ( the fire is out, its now single engine which requires a bit of attention but the aircraft is under control.

Example of a Mayday in my mind is Hudson River, Sioux City (we do not have full control/authority over where this aircraft is going to end up etc.)

In your decision process would it enter your mind that by declaring a mayday that Emergency services will start running from far and wide? An example that was cited to me was the case of a crew declaring a Mayday when it was not really necessary and Emer services began running and as a result a little girl was killed by one of the vehicles enroute.

I do not know if this is true but what is your opinion on the thought or decision process of declaring either a Pan or Mayday?

[Edited 2012-06-14 14:03:51]

[Edited 2012-06-14 14:05:19]
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:50 pm

Quoting smartt1982 (Thread starter):
I do not know if this is true but what is your opinion on the thought or decision process of declaring either a Pan or Mayday?

Pan = We have a problem but the situation is stable. We may or may not need help (to be determined when additional information is provided) but that situation is not going to immediately change.

Mayday = We have a problem and the situation is deteriorating. We need help immediately.

Tom.
 
320tech
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:31 am

From the Canadian Aeronautical Information Manual:

(quote) An emergency situation is classified in one of the two following categories, in accordance with the degree of danger
or hazard present:

(a) distress is a condition of being threatened by serious and/or imminent danger and of requiring immediate assistance. The spoken word for distress is MAYDAY, and it is pronounced three times.

(b) urgency is a condition concerning the safety of an aircraft or other vehicle, or of some person on board or within sight, but which does not require immediate assistance. The spoken word for urgency is PAN PAN, and it is pronounced three times. (end quote)

So there are two distinctions. First, how serious the situation is, and second, whether immediate assistance is required. If you need to land now, and want the crash trucks waiting for you, then a Mayday seems appropriate. If you have a situation where you need to have priority to land, but it's not life threatening, then it's probably a Pan.

Engine fire = Mayday
Engine shutdown = Pan, probably, if you have another engine
The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the manufacturer and impossible for the AME.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:33 am

By those criteria Thomson 253 (engine failure on take-off but doing fine) should have called Pan Pan. They called Mayday.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KhZwsYtNDE

Are rules different in Europe or does engine failure on take-off qualify as Mayday?
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Mir
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:55 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 3):
does engine failure on take-off qualify as Mayday?

In my mind, an engine failure at any time qualifies as an emergency. Perhaps the situation is a bit different in a quad or trijet, but in a twin, you have just been reduced to one motor. If that one should subsequently quit, you're screwed. So you should be doing what you need to do to get the airplane on the ground as soon as safely possible. And I would want ATC's complete cooperation in that effort.

Come to think of it, I really can't think of a reason to say "pan" instead of "mayday". Nobody's going to fault you for requesting too much assistance if you have a problem.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:03 am

Wouldn't the seriousness of the situation be based on the interpretation by the flying crew.If they feel the situation is controllable it would be a pan instead of mayday.
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:44 am

This really is something that is at the discretion and interpretation of the crew. Anything written in official documents are essentially guidance only as each and every emergency is different and it is impossible to put every situation into black and white.

Personally, I would declare a mayday if in my mind I had real doubts as to whether I can make it to an airport safely. If I think there is a good chance that my situation could end up in human injury or death then its a Mayday for sure.

There may be other times when ATC might not get the urgency of the situation and if I need to use the words Mayday to get their attention then I would not hesitate. This is especially true in many countries where English standards are lacking. Also, Pan Pan although officially recognised, may not actually be understood by some controllers, especially here in Asia where some countries again have lower English standards. In these cases I might be forced to declare a Mayday even if the situation does not quite warrant it, i.e. in a low fuel situation where I am not worried about crashing, but do need ATC to pay attention to my needs of priority handling.

I also bear in mind what happens at my local airport Hong Kong. When a Mayday is declared, a number of things happen. Fire services some out to assist. Firemen not working that day are given notice that they may be required back at work. Fire stations around the city are informed of an aircraft emergency. Hospitals here are put on standby and blood supplies checked in case they are needed. Public doctors on days off are put on standby and Police are put on standby around the city to name a few things. Basically, a Mayday results in the readiness of a large airliner crashing somewhere possibly downtown in highly populated areas. All this is overkill for something like a single engine failure and it is something I would bear in mind before making the decision of what word touse over the radio.

Having said that, if there is any doubt then it is always better to err on the side of caution and to give a higher 'category' of word. Always easier to think in hindsight that you did not need to cause so much disruption than wish after the incident/accident that you let people know how serious it really was.
 
smartt1982
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:10 am

Quoting CX Flyboy (Reply 6):
Personally, I would declare a mayday if in my mind I had real doubts as to whether I can make it to an airport safely. If I think there is a good chance that my situation could end up in human injury or death then its a Mayday for sure.

That would be along the lines that I was thinking. On Take off, we have engine fire, we go through our memory items and we get the fire out, at the appropriate time when we make an ATC call, I would jsut declare a Pan as the fire is out.

On the other hand, if we can’t get the engine Fire out I would declare a Mayday and get on the ground as soon as possible. Also for the case of a wheel well fire because on the 737NG anyway I have no real way to fight this other than stick the gear down.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:05 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 3):
By those criteria Thomson 253 (engine failure on take-off but doing fine) should have called Pan Pan. They called Mayday.

No it did not.

At the time they called Mayday - the situation was unstable and the ability of the aircraft to continue flight was unknown.

That qualifies for Mayday by any definition.

Yes, later the situation stabilized and the crew was able to fly a 'normal' single engine approach and landing.
Not all who wander are lost.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:07 am

Quoting smartt1982 (Reply 7):
Also for the case of a wheel well fire because on the 737NG anyway I have no real way to fight this other than stick the gear down.

A WW fire warning could also be hot brakes/wheels related,hence the extension of the gear to confirm.
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
arffdude
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:32 pm

Quoting CX Flyboy (Reply 6):
I also bear in mind what happens at my local airport Hong Kong. When a Mayday is declared, a number of things happen. Fire services some out to assist. Firemen not working that day are given notice that they may be required back at work. Fire stations around the city are informed of an aircraft emergency. Hospitals here are put on standby and blood supplies checked in case they are needed. Public doctors on days off are put on standby and Police are put on standby around the city to name a few things. Basically, a Mayday results in the readiness of a large airliner crashing somewhere possibly downtown in highly populated areas. All this is overkill for something like a single engine failure and it is something I would bear in mind before making the decision of what word touse over the radio.

Interesting. In my experience, there has never really been a distinction between the two. Tower would simply call us and say, "We have a 757 coming in and the pilot reports that blah blah blah". They've never said whether it was a pan or mayday and it doesn't really make a difference to our response.

Now if it sounds like a moderate or very serious problem, we'll call for our mutual aid fire departments from the surrounding towns to respond, but that's our call whether or not to do that.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:18 am

Quoting ARFFdude (Reply 10):
Now if it sounds like a moderate or very serious problem, we'll call for our mutual aid fire departments from the surrounding towns to respond, but that's our call whether or not to do that

presuming when you say "our" you mean as an Airline.....out here if there is an Emergency declared,ATC ensures all concerned are alerted,that includes Regulatory,fire services,emergency services,airlines concerned,Security personnell & airport concerned dept staff.
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:27 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 11):
Quoting ARFFdude (Reply 10):
Now if it sounds like a moderate or very serious problem, we'll call for our mutual aid fire departments from the surrounding towns to respond, but that's our call whether or not to do that

presuming when you say "our" you mean as an Airline.....out here if there is an Emergency declared,ATC ensures all concerned are alerted,that includes Regulatory,fire services,emergency services,airlines concerned,Security personnell & airport concerned dept staff.

Considering his username, I suspect "our" means that he works as a fireman at an airport.
 
jgarrido
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:19 pm

I'm not a pilot, but if I were I don't think I would spend much time trying to decide if the situation I'm in warrants a Pan Pan, or Mayday. As a controller I don't care which one the pilot uses because without the specifics I can't do anything to help. So the Pan Pan or Mayday are only useful in getting my attention and I'm NOT going to think "That was only a pan pan, I'm going do something else first".

Engine fire
Engine Shutdown
Pressurization Problem
Controllability Problem
Loss of static instruments
Windshield heater fire

These are some of the emergencies that I've dealt with. There was only one were the pilot said Mayday or panpan (he actually said both at different times), but not once did I worry or even think about if it was a mayday or panpan situation.
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:12 am

wouldn't just declaring an emergency do the same thing?? I'm being a little sarcastic here.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:58 am

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 14):
wouldn't just declaring an emergency do the same thing??

I know you are - but

Quoting jgarrido (Reply 13):
So the Pan Pan or Mayday are only useful in getting my attention

That is critical.

Lets take the Thomson 253 as an example.

That pilot said "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday" before the aircraft was 200 feet off the ground. What he meant was "Everyone shut up - I got a serious, possibly fatal problem and I need help and everyone's attention right NOW."

When a pilot says Mayday that is a signal to everyone one the frequency that the Mayday pilot needs priority on every thing.

We all know cases where Mayday or Pan has been used and the situation was stabilized - the emergency eventually being handled in a somewhat routine matter, but urgency of course.

And we all know cases where Mayday or Pan was not use but the aircraft was in mortal danger. Some ended up crashing with major or total loss of life.

Swiss 111 used Pan
ValuJet 592 used neither only "Five Ninety Two needs immediate return to Miami"
Not all who wander are lost.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:59 am

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 14):
wouldn't just declaring an emergency do the same thing?? I'm being a little sarcastic here.

In an English speaking country I would guess so. However in a country where English is weak, "Mayday" or "Pan Pan Pan" may be more effective to prevent miscommunication. Just a guess.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Mir
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:45 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 16):
However in a country where English is weak, "Mayday" or "Pan Pan Pan" may be more effective to prevent miscommunication. Just a guess.

In a country where English is weak, I'd be even more inclined to use "mayday" so that I won't have to worry about being able to describe the problem over the radio in order to get the assistance I need.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:41 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 17):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 16):
However in a country where English is weak, "Mayday" or "Pan Pan Pan" may be more effective to prevent miscommunication. Just a guess.

In a country where English is weak, I'd be even more inclined to use "mayday" so that I won't have to worry about being able to describe the problem over the radio in order to get the assistance I need.

Absolutely. But you might not say "declaring an emergency".
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:12 am

perhaps. maybe i'm just tired of reading this and should go to bed.


Quoting smartt1982 (Thread starter):
Example of a Mayday in my mind is Hudson River, Sioux City (we do not have full control/authority over where this aircraft is going to end up etc.)

In neither of these cases would anything have changed. In both cases they were speaking to controllers who knew exactly their situation and in the case of the Hudson river there was very little conversation anyway. I guess that's why I'm not seeing the real importance of this. I apologize for my negativity here.
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:58 am

There are airspaces I fly through where VHF contact constantly drops out, there is interference from radio stations and huge amounts of static. Even a simple and standard position report has to be spoken slowly and clearly and often repeated partly due to bad reception and partly to bad english of the controller. If you can interrupt the awful music to get a call out in an emergency, MAYDAY is the word you want to use and you want to use it three times to make sure the controller and everyone else hears.

I agree that in the US on a good frequency speaking to someone else with english as a first language and with other english speakers on frequency, it probably doesn't matter much which you say (Assuming you don't care about activating all the things which happen I wrote about on my earlier post - in a juristiction where this happens.). For a pilot who flies internationally through good and bad airspace in terms of ATC, an airline MUST have a standard and must train pilots about the wording they choose to use in an emergency.

What seems unimportant to one person is very important to another, especially if they are exposed to a wider range of variables. Having a standard is important instead of winging it. We are professional aviators, not cowboys up there.
 
swiftski
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:08 am

Quoting Mir (Reply 4):
In my mind, an engine failure at any time qualifies as an emergency.
Quoting Mir (Reply 4):
Come to think of it, I really can't think of a reason to say "pan" instead of "mayday". Nobody's going to fault you for requesting too much assistance if you have a problem.

Indeed.

There is a saying... "those who have never had an engine failure THINK it's a pan pan. those who have KNOW it's a mayday"
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Pan Or Mayday, The Decision

Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:00 pm

we fly thru those bad comm areas too and those calls would certainly alert ANYONE who could hear you and they too may alert controllers as to your problem and intentions. heck remember that even in FANS airspace there's an EMERGENCY option to send to ATC

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