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Aviation Safety - What Is An Emergency?

by John M. White |  | 1 comment

As you fly around have you ever wondered what declaring an emergency would be like? Have you ever thought that perhaps this is the time you should declare one? What would happen if you did declare an emergency? Ultimately the safety of the aircraft and passengers lies with the pilot-in-command, and no one else. This includes air traffic controllers, company dispatchers or any other individuals who attempt to tell the pilot-in-command what to do with his aircraft. On May4th, 2010 an American Airlines heavy, American Flight 2, a Boeing 767 traveling from Los Angeles to New York did exactly that - declared an emergency. As they approached JFK International Airport in New York they were assigned Runway 22 which was experiencing a crosswind of 320 degrees with the wind gusting from 23 knots to 35 knots. Apparently, this amount of crosswind is beyond the approved operating limits for the Boeing 767, and the pilot in command insisted on landing on runway 31R. Runway 31L had been closed for upgrades some 8 weeks prior to May 4th. Listen to the conversation between the pilot and the JFK controller: American Heavy 2 Emergency Having declared an emergency American Flight 2 landed on runway 31R and the event is under investigation. My take on this? The pilot did the right thing, had every right to do so, and was smart enough to not listen to the controller and allowing himself to be put into a bad situation. This demonstrates clearly what you should always do as pilot in command of your aircraft. Don't ever let anyone else tell you how to safely operate your aircraft; remember, if anything does go wrong the pilot in command will always be blamed! Any thoughts? Please leave a comment below.... Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

Comments (1)

  • Guest on June 24, 2019

    The heroics of the pilot is tainted by the fact of why declare an emergency now, if fuel was a problem, it should have been declared earlier. I am sure the pilot got a picture of the winds on the ATIS and had the opportunity to ask for the other runway many miles out. Reaction to poor planning does not make a smart pilot, a smart pilot would have never been in that situation.

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