Section 9, Lesson 1
In Progress

Emergency Diversion

Emergency Diversion

Sometimes, for one reason or another, we can’t continue on to our destination. When we change destinations, or return to our departure airport, it is referred to as a diversion. Because diversions can be task-saturating, we have a standard procedure to perform a diversion.

If the diversion is time-sensitive (e.g. medical emergency), we may prioritize certain tasks and re-arrange or even skip steps of the normal diversion procedure.


Lesson Notes

In the event of an emergency diversion, we want to:

  • Airport (pick one that is suitable for the emergency)
  • Best heading (turn towards the airport)
  • Clock (start a timer to keep track of time en-route for navigation and fuel burn purposes)
  • Distance (find the approximate distance to the destination)
  • ETE (estimate your time en-route)
  • Fuel (use your ETE to estimate fuel burn)
  • Get info (get the necessary info to land)
  • How to enter the pattern.

In an emergency diversion (time sensitive), we will do these events, in this order and in a timely fashion.

In a non-emergency diversion (not time-sensitive), we will perform the A-H procedure while circling in place, and then begin our diversion by turning to our heading.

As we’ve talked about in our cross country flight planning lessons, we can find headings, distances and times using conservative estimates and rules of thumb. This is even more important when trying to make a diversion in the airplane. This can include things like:

  • Using known airspace diameters, VOR compass rose diameter (20nm), etc. to estimate distances.
  • Using VOR compass roses to estimate the heading
  • Rounding numbers to estimate time and fuel. For example, If we are going 50 nm at 110 knots, we can round 50 up to 60 and 110 up to 120 to estimate that it will take roughly 30 minutes.

Additional Resources

Flashcard Questions

How does an emergency diversion differ from a non-emergency diversion?

What ways can you make rough estimates while following diversion procedures?

How could ATC be a helpful resource during a diversion?