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Emergency Transponder Squawk Codes

by Jason Schappert

One of the biggest falters in emergencies is the pilots failure to properly communicate the emergency. Knowing the emergency transponder squawk codes can help ATC evaluate your situation and notify help sooner or aid in getting you to the nearest airport.

Below are the 3 squawk codes every pilot should commit to memory:

7500 – Hijack
7600 – Lost Comm (radio failure)
7700 – Emergency

An easy way to remember this: 75 taken alive, 76 technical glitch, 77 going to heaven.


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  • http://www.aviationchatter.com/ Patrick Flannigan

    Always a good reminder. You’re memory aid is sure a lot better than my method. “75 guys hijack an airplane, then they destroy the radios, now you’ve got a real emergency!” *shrugs*

  • http://www.aviationchatter.com Patrick Flannigan

    Always a good reminder. You’re memory aid is sure a lot better than my method. “75 guys hijack an airplane, then they destroy the radios, now you’ve got a real emergency!” *shrugs*

  • http://samuraitoday.blogspot.com/ Albert

    Great blog with lots of useful and interesting information thanks.
    My instructor taught me “ICE” for transponder codes.
    In Case of an Emergency – ICE
    I – Interference (someone interferes that is Hijack – 7500
    C – Communications problems – 7600
    E – Emergency – 7700

    I guess it is important to use what works for you.
    Cheers
    Al

  • http://samuraitoday.blogspot.com Albert

    Great blog with lots of useful and interesting information thanks.
    My instructor taught me “ICE” for transponder codes.
    In Case of an Emergency – ICE
    I – Interference (someone interferes that is Hijack – 7500
    C – Communications problems – 7600
    E – Emergency – 7700

    I guess it is important to use what works for you.
    Cheers
    Al

  • http://www.JasonSchappert.com/ Jason Schappert

    Leave it to pat to come up with the unthinkable! haha!

    Albert, Great addition!! I always love hearing how other people remember and learn things!

    -Jason

  • http://www.JasonSchappert.com Jason Schappert

    Leave it to pat to come up with the unthinkable! haha!

    Albert, Great addition!! I always love hearing how other people remember and learn things!

    -Jason

  • http://www.freewebs.com/live-for-jesus Grant

    Wow, I love your reminder! That’s freaking awesome! (For those of us who are going to Heaven).

  • http://www.freewebs.com/live-for-jesus Grant

    Wow, I love your reminder! That’s freaking awesome! (For those of us who are going to Heaven).

  • Dean

    just came across this. great way to remember them. The memory aid I was taught went like “Hi Jack, can't talk now, I'm on fire” for 7500, 7600 and 7700. The “I'm on fire” part sometimes got substituted out with other emergencies, but I found the fire one most memorable. Only problem with mine was when I was just starting flying, I thought 7700 was solely restricted to fires, until someone told me otherwise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=689042092 Craig Rairdin

    As someone who got to enter 7700 into his transponder last week, I can tell you that when the time comes, you’ll remember. :-)

  • Andy

    I remember them as “Hi, Jack. Can’t talk right now, I’m on fire!”

  • Healthy212000

    Great Job

  • Sam

    Did you know, if you squawk 7500 then 7700 then 7500 then 7700 over and over… from what I learned, it means that youre beeing hijacked and you judge that it is better to destroy the plane ASAP in flight. Like 9/11, if the hijacker would have forced the pilot to crash on a building, the pilot should squawk between 7500 and 7700 and then just wait to be destroyed. I hope that someone like an ATC or somehting confirms with them before :P

  • Jhr61elton

    Could be embarrasing in London if an a/c with a genuine comms failure going into Heathrow gets one number wrong and transmits 7500 rather than 7600.  At what point will it be shot down?

  • Screddy Lee

    OMG, Love it! I’m committing that one to memory…

  • monico

    7700 is what type or types of emergencies?

  • http://www.facebook.com/SSBohio Steve Brack

    When I was learning, one thing we were cautioned on was not to “dial through” one of the emergency codes on the way to another transponder setting, such as:

    You’re using code 5700, then get instructed to squawk VFR (1200). If you adjust the first number up from 5 to 1 as the first step in changing to 1200, the transponder will briefly be on 7700 and could trigger an alert.

    This may not even be an issue with newer equipment, where you change the code, then press a button to set it in, but it used to be.

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