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6 Times You Should Declare An Emergency With ATC

Thanks to Bose for making this story possible. Check out the full series here. And if you want to know why we fly with Bose, learn more about their headsets here.

ATC has the ability to dedicate the most time and resources to you once you've declared an emergency. Don't delay, especially in these 6 situations.

1) If you've had major systems failure.

Any major systems experiencing malfunctions or failures could be reason enough to declare an emergency. Major systems that should catch your attention include: avionics, flight controls, powerplant, fuel, electrical, oil, and hydraulics.


2) You're having pressurization issues.

In many cases, you need to start descending right away. Declaring an emergency is you best way to get down quickly, and ATC can move other traffic out of your way as you get down to a safe altitude.


3) A passenger or crew member falls severely sick.

If a passenger or crew member falls severely ill, it could be time to declare a medical emergency. Use ATC's help to find the nearest suitable airport, and get to medical services as quickly as possible.

Swayne Martin

4) You're running low on fuel.

No one wants to admit they're running low on fuel, but it could be the most important radio call you ever make. ATC will prioritize your emergency, and get you on the ground as quickly as possible.

Corey Komarec

5) Smoke, fire, or burning smells.

If you have any indication that there might be a fire somewhere onboard, declare an emergency and land as soon as possible.

Swayne Martin

6) Any time you have a situation that adversely affects safety of flight.

Don't hesitate to declare an emergency with ATC. It's their job to help you get the assistance you need, so that you can get on the ground quickly.

If something is really going wrong, and the thought of declaring an emergency runs through your head, listen to the voice inside you. Declare an emergency and get the help you need.


Have you ever declared an emergency? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Curious about the new Bose A30 headsets? Learn more and read the reviews here.

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