14.9.2020 – 17:32z

VATSIM Guide – Emergencies (Episode 7)

Welcome to the final episode of our VATSIM Guide series. Today, we will tell you how to deal with emergency situations on VATSIM. What you can and cannot do, and what you need to talk about with ATC.

Having an emergency situation can be really tough on VATSIM, especially when it’s busy, as you may interrupt all the traffic in the entire surrounding area. I recommend doing this kind of operations in calm traffic, however, sometimes aircraft can have a malfunction anywhere. Speaking of radio malfunction, you can do it, but talk to ATC (in DMs, for example) before.

What to do and what not to do

So, what can you do on VATSIM when you want to declare an emergency? Don’t forget, terrorist attacks, medical conditions or any “fictional” emergency are not allowed. Kind of. You can do it, but ATC, as well as pilots, won’t be pleased. Radio failure can be done if you speak to the ATC, there should be no issue with that.

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Don’t forget, assigning emergency callsigns like 7500, 7600 and 7700 is prohibited, and can only be done when the ATC tells you to assign it. If you try to assign these codes on your own, you will get kicked from the network.

The emergency situations that are tolerated however, are mechanical issues and malfunctions with your aircraft. So if your engine fails, you just tell the ATC about it, and they will prioritize your landing. Don’t forget about the good old aviation rule “aviate, navigate, communicate”

Some examples of mechanical malfunctions are the following:

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  • Landing gear failure
  • Engine malfunction (including fire, explosion)
  • Pressurization
  • Flaps failure
  • Autopilot issues
  • Radio issue (if allowed by ATC)

So, if any of the listed happen to you (or something else), you need to report it to the ATC (or Unicom) as soon as possible. But make sure your aircraft is under control and you know where you are (Aviate, navigate, communicate). The information provided should be rather short and very informative, as you may need to focus on flying. In that case, using text is not really a good idea.


PILOT: Scotland Control, SHT303 (Shuttle 303), Airbus A319, engine failure, in FL330 inbound [waypoint]

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ATC: SHT303, report your closest airport you are able to land at

At this time, you need to look for an airport you are able to land at. In Scotland, it may not be difficult due to a lot of airfields that have long enough runway to land at with A319.

PILOT: Scotland Control, SHT303, the nearest possible airport is Carlisle Lake District Airport

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ATC: SHT303, roger that proceed direct to [waypoint] and descend to [altitude]

From now on, it is just going to be vectoring only. If there is another malfunction going on during the vectoring, you just say your callsign and what happened.

Don’t forget, even though you have priority on frequency, you are not entitled to interrupt other pilots, and you can’t block conversation between ATC and a different pilot. Just do your own and then report to the ATC what you did, this is referring to the “aviate, navigate, communicate” rule.

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In case you lose all the engines and you successfully land on your dedicated airport, the ATC may prompt you to leave VATSIM network as soon as you stop your aircraft because the full stop can happen on the runway, or on any dangerous area. You are not allowed to block a runway, emergency or not.

This was the last episode of VATSIM Guide. With this section of the article, we’d like to thank your for all the readers of those series, and we wish you many happy and successful flights on VATSIM.

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