Mayday

Are mayday’s common in your day to day as an airline pilot. How many times,on average, have you had to declare a mayday for one reason or another?
@Adam @Chris @forourspam

Ammi,

First of all the term “Mayday” is used more internationally than it is here in the US (we simply declare an emergency). Further they are not very common at all and definitely not day to day. I’ve been flying professionally for about 15yrs now and have actually never declared an emergency other than in the sim.

Adam

We are actually supposed to use “Mayday” and “Pan-Pan” in the US as well, although few do.

https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim_html/chap6_section_3.html

1 Like

I know we are but I’ve never heard it used here ever.

Adam

I am working on my instrument ticket now and I recently covered lost com procedures. Have y’all had lost com situations in your professional career? My instructor said that when flight planning, I would take the weather at the ETA and file to the final appr. fix of the predicted runway of use at that time. Is that correct?

Al,

That is not my understanding of lost comm procedures, but none of us here are going to contradict your flight instructor. I would ask somebody else at your school.

Chris

Ok no prob I’ll continue asking. The reason why he says this is so that even after lost comms, you can continue and land at your destination airport and land because ATC knows exactly where you are going. Theoretically, this keeps ATC from having to close the whole airport for you. I haven’t read that anywhere in the lost com procedures but I thought to ask. Thanks for your answer

As far as I can recall that sounds right. It’s CFR 91.175 (correction 91.185, my bad) where it’s all explained and no, fortunately I have never suffered a Loss of Comm.

Adam

It is 91.185. I see absolutely no reference in there of filing a flight plan to a fix on an instrument approach. I have never heard of that procedure, or seen it done in my entire career. Think about it from a larger airport perspective, most large airports have STARS that are used to transition from the en route airways. Those STARS may or may not terminate at an approach fix, so using this instructor’s logic, you would file the Victor airway, to a STAR, then to a fix on an approach. That simply is not how it works and I doubt the FAA would even accept a flight plan like that.

Al, the fact that you have not seen this written anywhere should be a good indicator that this is outside of normal practice.

Chris

2 Likes

Al,

I have met some instructors that have said this and I understand their thought process of trying to let ATC know what runway they plan on using IF they lose comms but always playing devils advocate (see below) and after talking to a lot of ATC employees both FAA and contract from the West coast to the East Coast from ARTCC to Tower they all have the same response which is “you squawk lost comms or go NORDO and we are moving others out of your way”, they know what airport we are going to and they most likely are already getting others out of your way well in advance for any runway of choosing since they can’t communicate with you and find out your prefered if the winds don’t cooperate with the TAF.

The devils advocate part I always ask is: you loose comms in IMC, you break out and decide to divert in VMC to the nearest airport instead of continuing for another xx hours as a NORDO aircraft. What runway are they going to expect without your flight plan having an FAF at your alternate or diverted airport? Or TAF says winds will be 330 so you file the fix for RNAV 32 but the winds end up gusting high and being more favorable for a 24 landing are you gonna take the gusting crosswind because of a filed fix or the more favorable runway?

They are already moving others out of your way whether you follow AVEF/MEA or divert.

Ah ok. Thanks everyone for the input. Was just curious if this was something that is common or normal or just his personal idea of what he thinks is appropriate.