Mayday Mayday Mayday

In 1921, a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London named Frederick Stanley Mockford was commissioned to envision a word that would indicate distress and would be understood and recognized by all pilots and ground staff in the event of an emergency.
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The word MayDay was selected, and was derived from the French term “m’aider” which directly translates to “HELP ME”. 
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Sometime later, the International Radiotelegraph Convention of Washington adopted the voice call "mayday" as the radiotelephone distress call in place of the traditional SOS radiotelegraph (Morse code) call
 
The standard procedure for declaring an emergency goes as follows: crew discretion in omitting any portions deemed unnecessary for expediency, or where irrelevant
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MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY;
Aircraft call sign and type;
Nature of emergency;
Meteorological conditions; VMC/IMC
Pilot's intentions and/or requests;
Present position and heading, or last known position and heading if currently unaware
Current Altitude/ Flight level;
Fuel endurance remaining in minutes;
Number of souls on board
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Another lesser-known fact about aviation radio phraseology is another word that was also surprisingly derived from the French language.
 
When a pilot or crew member encounters an imminently dangerous situation, either caused by his/ her own negligence, or an unfortunate happenstance related to weather or mechanicals has reached a critical level requiring immediate resolution, or imminent death is the expected result.
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Usually supported by other cockpit indicators such as clenched cheeks and dirtied undergarments... pilots are known to declare a heightened level of distress by repeating the French word for "Seal" three times.
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"Phoque! Phoque! Phoque!"

 
Although, not officially listed in ICAO Standard Phraseology, "Phoque, Phoque, Phoque"  has become a widely known, accepted, and utilized communication procedure by military and civilian flight crews around the globe.

 

 

 

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