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Guest Scott Campbell

Mistaken Radio Frequency

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How does a Professional Pilot mistakenly tune in a radio frequency that alerts the authorities of a hijack? Was it the transponder?

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Yes, must be the transponder code. Squawk 7500 for just a second and everyone will think you're hijacked.Martin767 fetishistIt's a lot like life and that's what's appealing

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I wonder this too. I was reading about that USAir A319 that did it the other day and you have to wonder... that takes effort to dial 7500 in, plus ATC will say "USAir X, confirm squawking 7500" before launching the fighters. How they got past that point is beyond me...I'm fairly positive too that momentarily passing by 7500 while tuning the transponder will not cause anything to be seen on the controllers scope either. It's just a blinking "HJK" that comes up on the aircraft's datatag anyway, not like it's some big alarm with bells and whistles... ;)

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>I'm fairly positive too that momentarily passing by 7500 >while tuning the transponder will not cause anything to be >seen on the controllers scope either. It's just a blinking >"HJK" that comes up on the aircraft's datatag anyway, not >like it's some big alarm with bells and whistles... ;)But doesn't the "HJK" stay even when the transponder code is changed?I've always heard that pilots should never squawk 7500 (if not hijacked obviously), not even when changing codes.Martin767 fetishistIt's a lot like life and that's what's appealing

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This was not a case of the transponder being set to 7500 or 7700. There is a word/phrase that you add to your radio transmission to let ATC know that you are in a hijack situation. This word/phrase is common in everyday use but has no place in ATC communication usually so why and/or how the flight crew said it is what is curious to me. Any Part 121 pilot would know this word/phrase. I think we should probably leave this as vague as possible since this is a public forum and not be any more specific as to what might have been said.-------------Michael

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There is not a supplimental directive, but a general understanding between the FAA/ATC and Part 121 operators only.-------------Michael

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>This was not a case of the transponder being set to 7500 or >7700.Sorry, I didn't know the question referred to a specific case.So, what's this "special" word/phrase? ;-)(I think it's "Squawk seven five zero zero". :-lol)Martin767 fetishistIt's a lot like life and that's what's appealing

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>"Sorry, I didn't know the question referred to a specific case."I'm sorry too, I thought you were referring to the USAir flight to Baltimore that ws escorted after the pilot accidentally said the special phrase. I think it is best not to discuss the phrase in public forums so I wont mention it.I think that the whole squawking think is kinda out since hi-jackers started taking flight lessons and learned about it. I'm not sure if each Part 121 operator have their own code they use with the FAA, but I do know that they are switched frequently. The USAir pilot had no idea what he had said the other day, but it was the wrong thing. Poor guy was scared to death when he was interviewed by the authorities. Of course, I guess I would be too if I had a couple of F-16s up my tail. And believe me, they were not there for escort. One of them was locked on and ready to fire if the order was given.-------------Michael

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I think this whole code word / brevity code thing came out of the need to find another way to communicate certain things. The military has been using brevity codes to convey certain meanings all of the time on a "card of the day" that changes frequently. because anyone can eavesdrop on the freqs they might happen to be using. Although with freq-hopping radios now, it is harder to eavesdrop.Since the bad guys have figured out the transponder 7500 thing, it makes sense to come up with a covert means to convey certain specific events that may require special attention. But the AIM does mention specific ways to convey a hijack, and ATC responsibilities, which does include asking the pilot to confirm 7500, and if there is no response, ATC is to take appropriate action, all delinated in the AIM.The brevity code I guess is a covert means of announcing the same event without having to rely on the transponder or having to say "transponder seven five zero zero."Cheers :)

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Michael,Actually, he did know he said it. After accidentally saying it, ATC alerted the FAA and authorities, and the USAir control center, who tried to contact the plane. USAir informed the FAA that the pilots did not respond, and the military was informed and sent up the escort.However, right after the USAir control center couldn't get hold of the plane, the pilot called ATC and said "I didn't mean that! It was a mistake. Everything is fine."Too late, and it didn't mean anything anyway. What would a pilot say if he was hijacked?So he was highly embarrassed when he landed. At least he went to his scheduled airport and had no problems landing since all the traffic was cleared out of his way. Was right on time. ;-) Sitting on the runway for a while while snappily-dressed lads clambered onboard with M-16s is another thing. ;-)

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