Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Ground & Other Ops Forums > ATC Issues
Reload this Page >

ATC Actions upon a Pan/Mayday

ATC Issues A place where pilots may enter the 'lions den' that is Air Traffic Control in complete safety and find out the answers to all those obscure topics which you always wanted to know the answer to but were afraid to ask.

ATC Actions upon a Pan/Mayday

Old 8th Mar 2019, 17:59
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Europe
Posts: 25
ATC Actions upon a Pan/Mayday

Hi all, would any helpful controllers reading this be willing to give me some insight into the practical differences in actions that ATC take in the event of a commercial airliner declaring a Pan Vs a Mayday.

Iím a 320 skipper working for a UK airline - in the simulator it is often talked about and debated eg for a PAN it is widely believed that you get little priority and operations continue on around you as normal. On the other extreme, if you declare a Mayday this includes local fire services and ambulances being called in from outside of the airport, hospitals being put on standby (including non-urgent surgery being postponed keeping theatres available!).

some general info and background from the horses mouth would be greatly appreciated.
SpiralStability is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2019, 18:22
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The foot of Mt. Belzoni.
Posts: 2,017
Spiral,

I've been retired a while, but a good initial source of information is CAP 493, (available online), which is The Manual Of Air Traffic Services Part 1. Its contents apply to all U.K. ATC units and Section 5 deals with emergency situations.

Each unit also has a 'MATS Part 2', which covers the procedures at individual ATC units, but these are not usually available online.

I dare say lots of information will follow from those currently working at ATC units or in the training system.

Also, certain NATS units often ask for aircrew to take part in 'emergency training days', often at the 2 main ATC centres, but it's always worth checking with aerodrome units too.
ZOOKER is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2019, 18:55
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: LHR/EGLL
Age: 40
Posts: 4,276
Originally Posted by SpiralStability View Post
Hi all, would any helpful controllers reading this be willing to give me some insight into the practical differences in actions that ATC take in the event of a commercial airliner declaring a Pan Vs a Mayday.

I’m a 320 skipper working for a UK airline - in the simulator it is often talked about and debated eg for a PAN it is widely believed that you get little priority and operations continue on around you as normal. On the other extreme, if you declare a Mayday this includes local fire services and ambulances being called in from outside of the airport, hospitals being put on standby (including non-urgent surgery being postponed keeping theatres available!).

some general info and background from the horses mouth would be greatly appreciated.
The thing to remember is that MAYDAY v PAN is you setting the level of urgency, nothing else. That in itself doesn’t trigger any particular emergency response by the airfield.

I’ve seen a MAYDAY declared due to a sick passenger, and no emergency response was declared by ATC, apart from ensuring the local ambulance service were aware.

Likewise, I’ve seen conditions in flight that don’t merit a PAN receive a ‘Full Emergency’ emergency response.

So, MAYDAY/PAN is basically how much priority you want on approach and how much devoted attention you want, but emergency response is determined based on what’s actually wrong.


Gonzo is online now  
Old 8th Mar 2019, 19:30
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: etha
Posts: 271
If you declare a MAYDAY, I'm going to Squawk you 7700 and send you direct to where ever is the most expeditious fix and then coordinate. If you declare a PAN, I'll consider 7700, coordinate first, and then I'll send you direct on the most expeditious route once it has been all tied up which could take a few minutes. I also agree with Gonzo, there is an element of what you tell us in what we do next too, and as has happened recently with two MAYDAYs and two PANs all heading for the same piece of concrete, if you only declare a PAN you could get "take up the hold for one spin, MAYDAY traffic ahead", it's rare, but it's happened!!
zonoma is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2019, 19:39
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Wherever someone will pay me to do fun stuff
Posts: 1,014
I'm well-retired from operational work but my answer would be as above, really - it depends entirely on what follows the mayday or pan call.
LookingForAJob is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2019, 19:45
  #6 (permalink)  

Avoid imitations
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 11,977
Just don't forget:

ShyTorque is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2019, 19:46
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: mids
Age: 53
Posts: 0
What the pilot says defines nothing to do with the response to the level. Basically as soon as you mention anything then the response is utterly nothing that you can control.

I have requested descent been refused then declared to get down to fl100 cancelled, down at fl100 for another 1:30 then been met by a 747 worth of water and ambulance for 9 souls on board.

For the next 5 days after that had numerous requests from various government bodies asking about said emergency. How the hell they got my number I don't know.

My reply of it wasn't an emergency and please contact the satco of xyz airfield for the reason why you pissed 20k of overtime up the spout plus left half of Highland region without fire cover due every engine heading south to deal with a 747 that couldn't fit on the runway at Min dry weight anyway for a crappy tp.

You would have thought that if an aircraft has flown past Manchester, Edinburgh, Prestwick, Glasgow. It's not going to need afs, full local services, 20 ambulance and multiple local fs. But a swift controller seemed to think it was required.

But as soon as controller knows there is an issue the pilot can say what they like the response level is completely outside thier control.

Go into Man with a donk shut down on a pan and you get asked do you want anything? Answer No, And it's a normal taxi in no blues and twos, not even a follow me to the stands you have zero clue about if you normally park in the caldsack.

tescoapp is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:07
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Wellington,NZ
Age: 61
Posts: 1,626
Speaking as a non-UK controller, either call will get you my undivided attention for as long as you need it.

As the others said above, the ground response will depend on what's actually wrong, and range from an ambulance being called to meet the aircraft, to full bells and whistles, or even the rescue coordination centre (SAR) being activated if a remote forced landing (or worse) is considered likely.
Tarq57 is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2019, 20:16
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: solent-on-sea
Posts: 427
I believe, in the London TMA, the current situation is a PAN will get you priority and no delay to wherever you determine, current runway config, a MAYDAY the same but the option of the non duty runway (wrong end).
Not Long Now is offline  
Old 8th Mar 2019, 21:05
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Wherever someone will pay me to do fun stuff
Posts: 1,014
For the next 5 days after that had numerous requests from various government bodies asking about said emergency. How the hell they got my number I don't know.

My reply of it wasn't an emergency and please contact the satco of xyz airfield for the reason why you pissed 20k of overtime up the spout plus left half of Highland region without fire cover due every engine heading south to deal with a 747 that couldn't fit on the runway at Min dry weight anyway for a crappy tp.
Sadly, in the UK these days it is often is not up to the controller on duty to decide what level of ground response is declared. There are rules in the national book that require a certain level of emergency to be declared, and local rules can add to to this. Common sense and professional judgement seem to be valued less - or maybe are present less - than the old days when I were a lad. Back in my operational days I had one of those invitations to tea and biscuits with the Airport Director where I was quizzed why I only declared a 'local standby on station' for the airport fire crew when a twin TP arrived having made a precautionary shutdown on one engine. It was a beautiful summer afternoon, maybe 5kts of wind straight down the runway with plenty of time to talk with the crew to make sure there were no other concerns to be taken into account. It was all very relaxed....up to the meeting with the Director, where I was berated for acting unprofessionally despite my pointing out that had the circumstances been different I may have taken different decisions - I don't recall any tea or biscuits either. The following day the local instructions (MATS 2) was amended to say that if an aircraft suffered a 50% or more power loss a full emergency must be declared (which brought half the County fire and ambulance services to the airport and meant that non-critical cases got turned away from A&E at the local hospitals). Maybe if I were in management and wanted to avoid any possible liability claims I would do the same, but it does rather suggest a lack of confidence in the competence of one's carefully selected staff.
LookingForAJob is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2019, 07:27
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: London
Posts: 500
Ive been in a civil tower once when a tornado aborted take off and asked for the fire crew to have a look in case his brakes were ‘a bit warm.’
According to local orders that constitutes an AGI.
Also according to local orders an AGI initiates help from outside agencies so 10 minutes later a dozen fire engines and two dozen ambulances turned up!

Del Prado is offline  
Old 9th Mar 2019, 07:52
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Down South
Posts: 286
If you call a PAN I'll put my coffee down, upgrading to a Mayday means I'll put the newspaper down as well

Seriously, it's been covered well enough by most of the previous replies. Either will get the attention of every controller and then we'll go from there
The Many Tentacles is online now  
Old 9th Mar 2019, 08:16
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Up there
Posts: 36
Originally Posted by The Many Tentacles View Post
If you call a PAN I'll put my coffee down, upgrading to a Mayday means I'll put the newspaper down as well

Seriously, it's been covered well enough by most of the previous replies. Either will get the attention of every controller and then we'll go from there
Made my day - thanks for that!
flyfan is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 14:07
  #14 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Europe
Posts: 25
thanks all for your responses, really useful.

one further question - does making a mayday call ever guarantee a sterile runway?

I guess your answer will be similar i.e. it depends - there are some failures on the bus where once the gear is down, we are effectively committed due to the huge increase in fuel burn and therefore making a go-around almost always a non-starter. I therefore generally recommend requesting landing clearance at 10 miles before extending the gear. Any thoughts?
SpiralStability is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 15:36
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Wherever someone will pay me to do fun stuff
Posts: 1,014
Very much an Ďit dependsí answer as you surmise. But in that situation I would expect ATC to understand the issue and agree a point after which the runway is yours. However, there are academic discussions that can be had about what sterile means - for example, are departures ok whilst your aircraft is on approach, can vehicles cross the runway before you get there, and so on. My personal view would be in the circumstances you describe that I would not allow anything on the runway after you are committed to land but I have no doubt others may hold different views. And I suspect those views may be different at a very busy airport.
LookingForAJob is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 23:42
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Can't remember
Posts: 27
Originally Posted by SpiralStability View Post
thanks all for your responses, really useful.

one further question - does making a mayday call ever guarantee a sterile runway?

I guess your answer will be similar i.e. it depends - there are some failures on the bus where once the gear is down, we are effectively committed due to the huge increase in fuel burn and therefore making a go-around almost always a non-starter. I therefore generally recommend requesting landing clearance at 10 miles before extending the gear. Any thoughts?
Many years ago in a far off land I had an Orion A300 on finals when a 747 downwind called Mayday to approach with an electrical fire on board and subsequently turned base.
Single runway so I sent Orion around....thinking was if Orion blocks runway with a burst tyre then 747 is not a happy bunny. No questions asked of my decision. ...but that was then.
smallonions is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.