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Old 02-08-2008, 11:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Do you have to squawk 7700?

Not too long ago one of our crews experience a rapid decompression. They began an emergency decent and told ATC they had a pressurization problem and needed lower and a diversion. They landed successfully, job well done.

Later during the investigation the crew was criticized and even threatened by the FAA with enforcement action because at no time did they squawk 7700. They did declare an emergency however so I contend there is no need to actually squawk 7700.

Now in our sim sessions there is an emphasis on squawking 7700 in addition to all the other tasks we have to perform. I think this is total BS.

Squawking 7700 is for benefit of ATC. In my opinion If I declare an emergency I'm done. I'd like to work on the problem now please. Don't bother me with your problems! Doesn't squawking 7700 just make my blip light up so ATC can more easily identify me? I don't care about ATC's problems. I'm concerned with my airplane, crew and passengers. I'm pretty sure once I declare an emergency ATC knows who and where I am. If they really need 7700 they can ask me to squawk it and I will when I have time.

I don't know what happened but I don't think any enforcement action was ultimately taken against the crew.

What do you guys think? Does it matter if you actually squawk the numbers or is verbal communication enough?
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'll say that in my 20+ years of mil flying that I have never used 7700 in any/all of the EPs that we have had...Informing the controlling acencies always sufficed for us.
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have not used 7700 in an emergency. I was in ATC contact. I would not use it in the situation you described above. I would tell the FAA to "bite me!"
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Squawking 7700 does have some benefits. I was sitting at Burbank Approach when Alaska went in off shore. They were squawking 7700, which kept me aware that they could do anything, and it might not be wise to put an airplane in their way.

The aircraft was neither in my airspace, nor was I communicating with the aircraft via radio. But the message was received.

But, I would absolutely argue that informing ATC via ANY means would suffice. Naturally, if I have a radio failure, I'll squawk 7600 since I've lost my direct communication method. If there's a illegal intervention, I'll take care of that in the prescribed manner should verbal means not be possible, smart, or could be misinterpreted in some way.

Navy guys coming offshore with the P3's would regularly squawk 7700 when they couldn't get #4 engine started, after 8 hours of patrolling on 2.

I'd suggest not to do that, but I'm sure that they're just following orders.

Finally, the enforcement folks are COMPLETELY clueless as to what is going on in ATC land.
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike734 View Post
What do you guys think? Does it matter if you actually squawk the numbers or is verbal communication enough?
I cannot believe this is even a topic of discussion - slow news day I guess.

How long does it take to plug in a transponder code? 3 seconds? Just do it.
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I reviewed a number of QRHs in my museum of flight from my current and previous carriers I have flown with. Squawking 7700 is part of the procedure for rapid depressurization with anticipation for an emergency descent. This allows the aircraft’s beacon return to standout, thus providing fast efficient separation of other aircraft from the one that’s in trouble.

I have heard fellow airmen in similar situations, reminded by ATC to change their squawk to 7700. It also makes ATC sector handovers easier too.

But reprimanded by the FAA, never heard that one before.
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Led Zep View Post
I cannot believe this is even a topic of discussion - slow news day I guess.

How long does it take to plug in a transponder code? 3 seconds? Just do it.

How long is useful consciousness during a rapid D at 410? Aviate, navigate, communicate. 7700 is communication and comes after the first 2.
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Led Zep View Post
I cannot believe this is even a topic of discussion - slow news day I guess.

How long does it take to plug in a transponder code? 3 seconds? Just do it.
It is a topic because the crew faced certificate action as a result of not squawking the code. I think that is ridiculous. It is a topic because you may be in a similar situation. Maybe you can learn something from this topic.

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I reviewed a number of QRHs in my museum of flight from my current and previous carriers I have flown with. Squawking 7700 is part of the procedure for rapid depressurization with anticipation for an emergency descent. This allows the aircraft’s beacon return to standout, thus providing fast efficient separation of other aircraft from the one that’s in trouble.

I have heard fellow airmen in similar situations, reminded by ATC to change their squawk to 7700. It also makes ATC sector handovers easier too.

But reprimanded by the FAA, never heard that one before.
Our QRH also says you should squawk 7700. It is the fact that it is written in the QRH that got the FAA's panties in a bunch. Still I think some bureaucrat lost sight of the big picture. The crew got the airplane down and everyone was safe.
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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How long is useful consciousness during a rapid D at 410? Aviate, navigate, communicate. 7700 is communication and comes after the first 2.
No kidding Einstein. I didn't imply making it your first priority.
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike734 View Post
It is a topic because the crew faced certificate action as a result of not squawking the code. I think that is ridiculous. It is a topic because you may be in a similar situation. Maybe you can learn something from this topic.


Our QRH also says you should squawk 7700. It is the fact that it is written in the QRH that got the FAA's panties in a bunch. Still I think some bureaucrat lost sight of the big picture. The crew got the airplane down and everyone was safe.
Quote:
Maybe you can learn something from this topic.
Yes, like follow your QRH to the tee.
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