Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!!
You are cruising along at FL410, and you have just crossed 30 West eastbound to Dublin, Ireland. So far, everything has been uneventful and you have about three hours remaining in your flight. You are actually becoming bored and ready to get to your destination, when suddenly you hear on guard, "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!! (call sign) is declaring a medical emergency!! We are 25 degrees west and deviating 15 miles North of Track Bravo at Flight Level 370. We are attempting to receive a clearance to Keflavik. If unable to receive clearance to Keflavik, we are descending to FL275 and diverting under Track A, enroute to Keflavik."
Suddenly, you are no longer bored and very much wanting to offer any assistance that you are able to offer. Do you remember all of the rules associated with a diversion while operating in the North Atlantic? Do you remember how TCAS is supposed to aid you in this situation? Will you remember all of this when things get "Real"?
Earlier this year, ICAO updated the North Atlantic Operations and Airspace Manual, which is the document that details oceanic contingency procedures. The aircraft with a medical emergency was properly following the contingency procedure.
First, they attempted to get a new clearance. They broadcasted their position and altitude on 121.5. When they did not hear back with a new clearance, they watched for traffic, turned on all their aircraft lights, and monitored TCAS while turning 45 degrees left to deviate 15 NM from their track.
Is it time for you to review all the contingency procedures in Chapter 13 of the North Atlantic Operations and Airspace Manual so you are ready in the event of an emergency? In addition to reviewing the ICAO document, you can use Advanced Aircrew Academy for a refresher in both International Procedures and TCAS/ACAS operations.