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Practice PAN scenarios..

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Practice PAN scenarios..

Old 21st May 2020, 21:48
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Practice PAN scenarios..

Whilst training, it is often mentioned that you should try a Practice PAN on 121.500. I was just wondering what possible scenarios could you use, and came up with...

'Practice Pan, my throttle is stuck fully open, and am climbing towards controlled airspace. Can you give me Vectors to the nearest big airfield..?'

There are many other likely scenarios, I have not often had to use 121.500, but they are very helpful.
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Old 22nd May 2020, 07:23
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Speaking as an ex D&D'er from many, many years ago … whilst you are training in the use of 121.5 so too are the controllers on the 'other end', very useful! If they are busy with a real emergency (SAROPS ON) they'll soon let you know.
Try 'no compass, no gyro', gets the grey cells working!!
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Old 22nd May 2020, 08:01
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I fly commercially in and out of the UK regularly. Our SOP (and same across all airlines that I'm aware of) is 121.5 tuned on VHF2 at all times as a listening watch. However, all the practice pans can become particularly distracting (worse when being vectored in busy airspace, someone chatting away whilst you're trying to listen). It's not uncommon to end up switching off VHF2, and forgetting to switch it back on again. My non-UK colleagues find it baffling/annoying, seems predominantly a British thing.

Thoughts?
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Old 22nd May 2020, 09:18
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Originally Posted by FZRA View Post
I fly commercially in and out of the UK regularly. Our SOP (and same across all airlines that I'm aware of) is 121.5 tuned on VHF2 at all times as a listening watch. However, all the practice pans can become particularly distracting (worse when being vectored in busy airspace, someone chatting away whilst you're trying to listen). It's not uncommon to end up switching off VHF2, and forgetting to switch it back on again. My non-UK colleagues find it baffling/annoying, seems predominantly a British thing.

Thoughts?
Non UK colleagues seem to think it's their exclusive air to air chat frequency and shouldn't be used for emergencies practice or real according to previous threads on this subject.
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Old 22nd May 2020, 09:27
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FZRA

It's essential that students carry out practice pans. Not just so that they know how to correctly use the frequency. A large amount of students are nervous of using the radio in the first place, never mind using 121.5. We have to show them how good and friendly the guys and gals at D&D are so they don't hesitate when the time comes for prompt action.

As an aside, I got a student to do one for "unsure of position" once. When asked if any further assistance was required, I made the negative reply with the usual thanks myself. My mobile rang the next day. It was an ex-instructor of ours who'd been flying his Boeing the day before. He said; "It's a pretty poor show when the CFI gets lost around Rickmansworth!"
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Old 22nd May 2020, 09:33
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
Non UK colleagues seem to think it's their exclusive air to air chat frequency and shouldn't be used for emergencies practice or real according to previous threads on this subject.
In 5 years I've never known a colleague to use 121.5 to "chat". Occasionally hear US pilots asking about "the ride" ahead to a company aircraft. Once a week perhaps you might hear the odd meow from some #@$% but that's about it.

Originally Posted by MrAverage View Post
FZRA
It's essential that students carry out practice pans. Not just so that they know how to correctly use the frequency. A large amount of students are nervous of using the radio in the first place, never mind using 121.5. We have to show them how good and friendly the guys and gals at D&D are so they don't hesitate when the time comes for prompt action.
I don't disagree, I did so myself during my flight training (in the UK). Was just trying to add another viewpoint. Plus the fact that many of the pilots I fly with (Germans, French, Spanish, Italian, etc) get annoyed by it and it seemingly isn't the "done thing" in their country.
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Old 22nd May 2020, 14:59
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Plus the fact that many of the pilots I fly with (Germans, French, Spanish, Italian, etc) get annoyed by it and it seemingly isn't the "done thing" in their country.
That's because their country hasn't gone to the effort of setting up a Distress and Diversion (D&D) cell in their national air traffic system as has the UK.

However, in our part of the World, you need to be above 3,000' to get a decent fix from London Centre (D&D's callsign). I give my students the A5 printed sheet that D&D issue with their preferred phraseology and we generally go for the 'unsure of position' scenario, as this also tests D&D's accuracy. Even as far away as we are, it's usually quite accurate, to a mile or so.

Our local military (NAVY) generally operate fairly low so they use the local civilian LARS service for their practice PANs, on the Radar frequency. It seems they major on engine instrumentation issues 'simulated oil pressure failure' is a favourite, which our local controllers take in their stride.

I guess our having a ground service on 121.5, being unique in the World might seem a bit anachronistic in this day and age. Bear in mind it is run by the military, originally for the military. Within the UK, my first port of call if I had a problem airborne would be the unit I'm already communicating with; I never fly without having at least a basic service from someone. However, a few years ago I flew to the Faroes, over a lot of dark grey, very empty North Atlantic and we had 121.5 on box 2, just in case...

TOO
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Old 22nd May 2020, 23:50
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Originally Posted by FZRA View Post

Thoughts?
Yes, now that there are more frequencies available, why don’t [email protected] get themselves a practice freq?
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Old 23rd May 2020, 11:33
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Yes, now that there are more frequencies available, why don’t [email protected] get themselves a practice freq?
In principle possible, but the cost to replicate all of the existing tranceivers on 121.500 around the country, and the landlines from them to Swanwick, plus the fact that many of the recievers have DF capabilities etc. etc. means that it won't happen. Unless you are envisaging a practice frequency that could not handle a training fix.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 11:55
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D&D do have a practice frequency: 245.1
Not much good to the VHF only flyers, perhaps the GA community could lobby the powers that be to fund a VHF practice freq? Although, as Jim59 says, it'll be a tad expensive.

Other scenarios - "Simulating short of fuel, request steer to the nearest suitable airfield." As FantomZorbin said, the "simulated instrument failure, request a practice no compass/no gyro recovery to xairfield" should give the pilot and the controller some work.
Use your imagination - nothing too outlandish; like the practice speechless pilot who had a further practice emergency which was a bee in the cockpit!

Last edited by Il Duce; 23rd May 2020 at 12:24.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 14:10
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Thanks for the replies so far. The throttle jammed scenario has happened to me twice, once on a motor-cycle and once with a model aircraft.
For the motor-cycle I had to change into top gear and stand on the rear brake to skid to a halt.
The model aircraft had to be flown on knife-edge until it starved of fuel, then a dead-stick landing. ( it had a transverse fuel tank.)

A few days ago, I just happened to ask London Information if they could tell me my current ground speed. They initially said No.... But two minutes later said that Birmingham Radar had me at 122 knots, which was a pleasant surprise for me.... Thanks Lon Inf.
.
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Old 23rd May 2020, 15:45
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I often use 121.5 for Practice Pans. Normally they are dealt with excellently. Occasionally, we are asked to do a Practice Pan for ATC student training. The last one I did, just before lock down (a very short of fuel , above cloud & unsure of position), was not so well handled and I'm sure the student got a good debrief. The fact that things went poorly was a valuable lesson for him I'm sure.
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