Drawing: Cobra helicopter Drawing: Cobra helicopter
Chapter 19 - Page 4


Now that you know how to let people know where you are, you need to know how to give them more information. It is easier to form one symbol than to spell out an entire message. Therefore, learn the codes and symbols that all aircraft pilots understand.


You can use lights or flags to send an SOS—three dots, three dashes, three dots. The SOS is the internationally recognized distress signal in radio Morse code. A dot is a short, sharp pulse; a dash is a longer pulse. Keep repeating the signal. When using flags, hold flags on the left side for dashes and on the right side for dots.

Ground-to-Air Emergency Code

This code (Figure 19-6) is actually five definite, meaningful symbols. Make these symbols a minimum of 1 meter wide and 6 meters long. If you make them larger, keep the same 1: 6 ratio. Ensure the signal contrasts greatly with the ground it is on. Place it in an open area easily spotted from the air.

Number Message Code symbol
1 Require assistance V gif
Black line
2 Require medical assistance X gif
Black line
3 No or negative N gif
Black line
4 Yes or affirmative Y gif
Black line
5 Proceed in this direction Drawing: Arrow
Black line
Figure 19-6. Ground-to-air emergency code
(pattern signals).

Body Signals

When an aircraft is close enough for the pilot to see you clearly, use body movements or positions (Figure 19-7) to convey a message.

Drawing: Figure 19-7. Body signals.

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Updated: 12 January 2008
Born on 14 December 1999