Pilot Responsibility and Authority
The pilot-in-command of an aircraft is
directly responsible for and is the final authority as
to the operation of that aircraft. In an emergency
requiring immediate action, the pilot-in-command may
deviate from any rule in 14 CFR Part 91, Subpart A,
General, and Subpart B, Flight Rules, to the extent
required to meet that emergency.
14 CFR Section 91.3(b).
If the emergency authority of 14 CFR
Section 91.3(b) is used to deviate from the provisions
of an ATC clearance, the pilot-in-command must notify
ATC as soon as possible and obtain an amended
Unless deviation is necessary under the
emergency authority of 14 CFR Section 91.3, pilots of
IFR flights experiencing two-way radio communications
failure are expected to adhere to the procedures
prescribed under "IFR operations, two-way radio
14 CFR Section 91.185.
Emergency Condition- Request Assistance Immediately
An emergency can be either a
distress or urgency condition as defined in
the Pilot/Controller Glossary. Pilots do not hesitate
to declare an emergency when they are faced with
distress conditions such as fire, mechanical
failure, or structural damage. However, some are
reluctant to report an urgency condition when
they encounter situations which may not be immediately
perilous, but are potentially catastrophic. An
aircraft is in at least an urgency condition
the moment the pilot becomes doubtful about position,
fuel endurance, weather, or any other condition that
could adversely affect flight safety. This is the time
to ask for help, not after the situation has developed
into a distress condition.
Pilots who become apprehensive for
their safety for any reason should request
assistance immediately. Ready and willing help is
available in the form of radio, radar, direction
finding stations and other aircraft. Delay has caused
accidents and cost lives. Safety is not a luxury!