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MAYDAY over the Bay of Biscay

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MAYDAY over the Bay of Biscay

Old 6th Jun 2006, 03:15
  #61 (permalink)  
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At the risk of getting my head chopped off at the neck, I respectfully suggest that Mr. 411A appears to have a point. The one or two professionals I know epitomise extremely cool calm people when under pressure and appear to maintain that calmness in emergencies.

Even in my humble single, a mayday call is not at the top of the engine failure checklist.
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 05:09
  #62 (permalink)  
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Keep you're tin hat at the ready, YesTAM, as many here are not likely to agree...
Now, if you think about it just a bit, that 'Mayday' call should be absolutely the LAST of your priorities.
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 06:51
  #63 (permalink)  
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What has having a calm manner got to do with the decision to say PAN or MAYDAY? Declaring MAYDAY <> Panic.


<rolls eyes> Maybe you should think about it a lot, instead of just a bit. Most engine failures scenarios involve an change in flight path - emergency turns off SIDs, drift down, changes of speed or rate of climb, immediate need to land because of fire or other complications. Now, maybe thats ok in Hicksville USA, but in a busy terminal environment you'd have to be barking mad not to get an emergency call in somewhere pretty promptly. Maybe not before pulling a fire handle, but soon after. Certainly the rooting around in the checklist is far less critical than avoiding becoming aluminium confetti.

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Old 6th Jun 2006, 07:09
  #64 (permalink)  
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Aviate, Navigate, Communicate? ...............................(runs for the door)
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Old 6th Jun 2006, 07:31
  #65 (permalink)  
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Your arguement, such as these was one, seemed to revolve around agreeing with 411 because professionalism equaled calm under pressure.

Whats wrong with CALMLY making a mayday call?

Regarding Aviate, Navigate, Communicate....

Yes, obviously retaining control of the aircraft is vital, and navigating so as not to hit anything is vital, but really.... this is a 2 crew aircraft we are talking about here. I'm not suggesting making the full 'formal' mayday call - as if anyone ever would in a time critical situation, but a truncated one takes a few seconds max and is certainly more important than going around the system panel, checklist in hand, turning off all the failed systems (which are already isolated automatically). Even in an engine fire, most types have a pregnant pause of 30 seconds or so after the first bottle is fired to see if the flames go out. Anyway, in a modern terminal environment it is mostly radar vectors, so Navigate = Communicate "Mayday - engine fire - Vector us for a 4 mile final"

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Old 6th Jun 2006, 08:06
  #66 (permalink)  
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"Aviate, Navigate, Communicate" is private pilot 101.

Looking through the posts here there is nothing that would indicate any other procedure than that. Apparently, none of the contributors here know anything other than the fact that a pilot issued a distress call and needing assistance. No one here knows the background or events leading up to this call.

So for all I care there is a pilot out there that "Aviated, Navigated and is now COMMUNICATING" FFCOL

If you loose your only engine over this much water a mayday, after having done the aviating and navigating bit is certainly in order. Even if you're in a twin bug smasher loosing the critical engine might get you in a bit of a tight spot. Additionally, some of them will barely allow you to descend more or less controlled – forget about holding level.
…when one engine on a twin fails, you don't lose half of your excess thrust, you typically lose 80% to 90% of your excess thrust…

But what gets me the most is the fact that a fellow pilot asked for help, and here we are discussing whethre or not he was right to ask for it!! It further gets me asking what some folks here know about twins, airmanship and comradeship...
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Old 7th Jun 2006, 15:40
  #67 (permalink)  
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Capt Pit Bull, you seem a switched on cookie you comments are ones that talk alot of sense.

Im sure no-one here is suggesting putting out a MAYDAY or PAN call before aviating but it is of great importance.

KLM's SOP's tell us to put out a mayday we do not have a choice in the matter when loosing am engine. During an engine fairlure after V1, the first thing we do is cancel the Master Warning rasie the gear then do nothing until 400', during this time the PNF issues the MAYDAY and tells ATC to standby until a more convinent time.....
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Old 7th Jun 2006, 16:32
  #68 (permalink)  
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During an engine fairlure after V1, the first thing we do is cancel the Master Warning rasie the gear then do nothing until 400', during this time the PNF issues the MAYDAY and tells ATC to standby until a more convinent time.....
I was wondering when when we would get a sensible post for the correct course of action instead of everyone being sucked into 411A's antagonising posts.
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Old 15th Jun 2006, 01:33
  #69 (permalink)  
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411A quote (6th june 06):
Well actually, KLM'er, he was busy at the time, raising the landing gear, silencing the fire bell, pulling the respective engine fire handle and discharging the engine fire extinguisher.... among other things.

This sounds like your f/o was the Pnf and you as the Pf.
So, you are very busy flying the aircraft (with a reduced capacity as it is a non-normal situation), he is very busy with the list you gave above, and you STILL feel that it is not a good idea for a simple:

"MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, "callsign", Engine fire ... standby"

considering that during your poor Pnf's drills, ATC may have tried to communicate with you (not realising your situation), distracting your Pnf, who may then possibly lose his place or miss a critical part of his drills ... or if you are capable of recognising his high workload, you answer, using up yet more of your capacity possibly distracting you from your flying duties ... need I really continue ?

I know the rules as well as any ... aviate, navigate, communicate.
BUT, if saying a quick sentence (which can easily be cancelled once the high workload is complete) is going to improve capacity (should an additional situation arise), performance and provide a helpful service from ATC, it is not only unprofessional but utterly STUPID. Even if you decide not to answer, that dealing with your situation is more important, the fact they are there, trying to get in touch, is going to be a completely unnecessary distraction.

Within the european area, anything other than a MAYDAY might confuse the controllers who in my experience have a limited grasp of the english language anyway and push your workload (without your knowing), through the roof.
Not all pilots have the comfort you may enjoy in the USA where everyone is fluent in english !
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Old 19th Jun 2006, 20:22
  #70 (permalink)  
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Had THE engine discard a push rod in solo X country days, my MAYDAY was handled through an overflight relaying to ATC, and the response and help was professional and reassuring. Obviously each scenario is different: 73 engine failure on take off, single engine over water, light twin in high terrain etc. Seems more an issue of when to call the MAYDAY rather than if... Our TO brief calls for " no further action below 1000', other than to raise gear, silence aural warnings and advise ATC" and that call for me will be a (calm) MAYDAY.. not only for ATC but for all other traffic in the vicinity to get a heads up. A case of as soon as practicable in other situations?
Operating largely in areas with limited ATS, and more to the point limited ability to set up SAR, or any other assistance, I'd get that Mayday out quick sharp and get the cogs turning, can always downgrade it. Again gives traffic in the area a heads up, and keeps the frequencies clear to relay your situation, progress etc.
Also operating in high traffic density areas, doesn't it alert everybody, not just ATC? Restrict all calls till a/c is assigned designating frequency etc.
Not sure why 'Mayday' = 'panic' ????
I also report ELT transmissions......
Glad to hear that a/c is ok.
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Old 20th Jun 2006, 15:12
  #71 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by DickyPearse
I seem to remember awhile back an aircraft mentioning they were low on fuel without using any dramatic language.....it wasn't prioritised and ran out of fuel while being vectored on the long route home. I know there were other factors at play in this incident, but it does highlight the need to ensure all parties are aware of the seriousness of a particular situation.
I think this is the one you are refering to http://aviation-safety.net/database/...?id=19900125-0
Avianca B.707 near New York 25th Jan 1990 73 fatalities.
Be lucky

Last edited by The AvgasDinosaur; 20th Jun 2006 at 17:26.
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Old 22nd Jun 2006, 07:56
  #72 (permalink)  
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Aviate - fly the aircraft, a bit obvious
Navigate - fly the aircraft; engine out procedure, initiate level off/decent as required
Communicate - initial mayday call and standby
These steps can take place very quickly.

Go back to the top
Aviate - assess, recall actions or checklists
Navigate - confirm EOP, decent altitude, off airway tracking
Communicate - tell everyone what you're doing

Any changes in the status of the aircraft i.e. a fire gone out, go back to the top as priorities will change
Aviate, navigate, communicate

This would seem to work in all senarios
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Old 22nd Jun 2006, 14:44
  #73 (permalink)  

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Help me - what language?

Poor English?

Rumour has it that Mayday comes from the French for Aid Me, which in true British manner, like Beaulieu and Dandelion became absorbed into the language (seafaring, aviation language in this case).

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Old 25th Jun 2006, 16:58
  #74 (permalink)  
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Thinking about it, in any environment a Mayday would be the last thing on my mind, especially out of controlled airspace. No use waffling on the radio, it's not really going to get you any help. In a light aircraft it may be of use if you're lost (D&D in the UK), but apart from that you fly the aircraft. The only time a mayday will be useful is to alert the crash services, although having the freedom to take any route to any runway would certainly be useful, and would definitely help you in a ditching scenario.
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Old 25th Jun 2006, 17:07
  #75 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Confabulous
No use waffling on the radio, it's not really going to get you any help.
When you call "MAYDAY", ATC will give you priority, give you what you want in terms of radar vectors, altitudes etc. In some areas, the other traffic may be moved to another freq. and you may get a controller to yourself removing the distractionj of the noise in your ears. I'd consider all of those a huge amount of help if in a non-stadard situation.
In addition to that, a mayday call can be reeled off in a few seconds - hardly waffling if done correctly.
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Old 26th Jun 2006, 15:56
  #76 (permalink)  
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I must have been getting it wrong for the past forty-something years of my flying career. I can recall 2 engine failures between V1 and V2, one all-engines failure in cruise, 1 runaway stabiliser, 2 occasions of jammed controls, 1 in-flight fire, 1 incapacitated Captain when I was F/O, and 2 incapacitated F/Os when I was Captain. I always operated as though my first priority was to contain the situation, and get the aircraft under control. On not one of the occasions mentioned, did I mention the word “Mayday”. I didn’t need to, because after all of 10 seconds or so, the aircraft was under complete control. I would not have hesitated to call “Mayday” if the aircraft problems could not have been resolved expeditiously and a continuing perilous situation existed.

It always sufficed to tell ATC of the problem, and the required further course of action. Several ATCOs asked the question “Are you declaring an emergency?” In each case, because I placed communication as the last of the big three (Aviate / Navigate / Communicate), my reply was “Not any more, the situation is under control”. Again, I say, I would use every means available to call “Mayday” if control and safety could not be assured after the seconds spent Aviating and Navigating, there might be someone “out there” who had a real emergency. If, in a "poor English speaking" environment, relating the problem in concise, plain language does not elicit any response, then a "Mayday" call is warranted to get their attention.

My favourite line from a great movie comes from Tom Hanks in “Apollo 13” –

Houston, we have a problem”. (Obviously the NASA guys would never make airline pilots).

411A, it sounds like your F/O in your last post did some pretty good “pilot stuff”, must have been one of the old school before news-casting became a part of the job description.

Yep, I must have been getting it all wrong, I readily admit to many many faults, over-reaction is not one of them.

I hope that the pilot/s and occupants of the aircraft event that started this thread have their feet safely on dry land.


Old Smokey

Last edited by Old Smokey; 26th Jun 2006 at 16:54.
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Old 26th Jun 2006, 20:22
  #77 (permalink)  
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DickyPearse, sounds like that avianca 707... i lived relatively close to that site, Corona Queens, and not too far from AA flt. 587...Inwood NY
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Old 27th Jun 2006, 21:44
  #78 (permalink)  
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chippie chappie

our 9's had the ''smokeless'' engines (well, less smoke anyway).

I guess I am part boy scout, I loved to have 121.5 on in case I could be the first to help out by reporting an ELT or relay a mayday.

our airline did have us monitor a company "guard" frequency other than 121.5 as well as ACARS data link.

In order to get to be better pilots, we must face our shortcomings straight on. that is one reason I made the post: REALITY CHECK...hope you will all check it out!

I don't know about the rest of you, but I would write down the frequency on the chart with position each time. By the end of the chart cycle, you knew when the freq change would happen and could keep an eye on the ATC boys and girls.

This was more important about 24 years ago when then president RR fired all the controllers...in my view our ATC has never quite recovered!

(so of course now, our FAA wants pay cuts for new controllers!...when will they learn?)

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Old 27th Jun 2006, 22:59
  #79 (permalink)  
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Just a question : how many freq. can you listen/tune into in a modern plane ? ( and I know it depends on how may radio's you have installed )

Must be more then 2, since you have ATC on comm 1, 121,5 in comm2 and you mention a company freq.... hence my question.
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Old 27th Jun 2006, 23:59
  #80 (permalink)  
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forgive any confusion

com 1 for ATC

Com 2 for company "guard" freq if ACARS not working (acars is used in lieu of company guard when ACARS is working normally)

if ACARS working ( a data link with its own vhf radio) then 121.5 in com 2

ACARS could be used for data link messages from company or getting ATIS in text form.

certainly when text atis not available, we would use com 2 for audio atis.

AND if you wanted to get fancy, ACARS dedicated number 3 radio could be tuned to any normal VHF com freq, but you would lose text capability.

again forgive any confusion.


Last edited by jondc9; 28th Jun 2006 at 00:21.
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