What Is an Emergency Landing and Why Does It Occur?

Have you ever wondered what is an emergency landing and why it occurs? I have always wondered what it was until I became a pilot and figured out the reasons.

An emergency landing is required when a serious issue erupts on an airplane during the flight. It can occur for a number of reasons, including engine failure, weather conditions, a sick passenger, etc.

Most of us don't like to imagine emergencies while flying, and preparing for a crash landing might feel like a far-off nightmare. People might fly multiple times in their lives without ever having an issue, but one emergency landing and their complete life experience is changed.

The pilot reports an emergency landing by declaring an emergency with air traffic control or by saying "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday" over the radiotelephony system here in the US. In almost all other parts of the world the phrase Pan Pan, Pan said three times is more understood than a Mayday call.

An emergency might occur due to multiple reasons. The captain or co-pilot decide to land at the next suitable airport depending on the severity of the emergency. One consideration might include the size of the airport and the size of the aircraft. Not all airports have fire and rescue assets, nor can they handle aircraft over a certain size. The pilot constantly considers diverting to appropriate alternate airfields when planning their flight schedules. In rare instances, air traffic management has its own set of protocols.

While emergency landings may feel or sound like an issue, the commercial airline sector has excellent justification for resisting using the term until it is necessary. After all, air travel is usually safe, and travel companies would like you to believe so.

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