May 2007 Issue

The “E” Word

Declaring an emergency may not get you the assistance you thought you’d get. Why pilots share responsibility for getting expedited handling.

Declaring an emergency apparently isn’t what it used to be. Recently, an airline crew’s uncertainty about their available fuel led them to declare, but that’s when events got murky (see sidebar on page 6). Since then, a lot of people have gotten into the act of discussing this event, including the controller’s union. All of which has led many of us to think about the process and ramifications of declaring an emergency.

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