ATC emergency landing communication

How can you tell or can you tell ATC that you are dangerously low on fuel and need to land fast?


If you’re low on fuel, there will be an option that pops up in your command that’ll say “Emergency fuel” or “Minimum fuel”


The above commands will only pop up if you have been flying for a certain amount of time, which I believe is over an hour and you would need to have something like 1% left.


It’s happened to me twice when I have under estimated my fuel needs, I had to detour due to terrain height which made me burn more fuel than I expected to.

I believe it is correct that it’s one hour.

And please, just a reminder
If you see there is a very long approach line and you just contact approach and say emergency fuel, don’t expect to be given a straight in approach.
Approach controllers won’t let you cut in line when there are people who already wait for 30-45 mins queuing in the air. Just divert and land anywhere you feel comfortable with.
Try to imagine if you have waited 30mins and then suddenly someone call emergency and you have to make a missed approach because of them, it is not fun. We do prioritise emergency if possible, but not when there is a super long queue
Consider to divert before you even contact approach if you don’t have enough fuel to circle in the air. Both you and the controller’s life would be easier


Adding on to this, people have complained that tower has instructed their low fuel aircraft to go around due to a LUAW or an aircraft exiting. Remember, you had less than 30 minutes of fuel left. And you made a decision to land in a busy airspace. Don’t blame your problems on me.

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It’s happened to me once and I agree that diverting is easily the best option. I always carry an extra hour of fuel now.

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Well,I as a controller, if I receive an emergency call, I do my best to give it priority. There is no possibility of abuse because this request can be made only if you really are in minimum fuel.


Indeed. Just like in real life your fuel level gives you a certain amount of holding time. If the expected hold is more than you can do you are supposed to look at your alternates, not keep burning fuel in the expectation that once you get to minimum you can just declare an emergency and cut in line.


This is true here, not in general. Just because an expected approach time “EAT” can not be given here, and the pilot or crew can’t make the right operational considerations. But this is obvious and perhaps trivial that I say it. When there is a lot of traffic approaching due to weather conditions, or restrictions due, for example, to the use of one or more runways, the crew knows that close to the minimum diverting fuel “MDF” will divert to the planned alternate airport. The considerations change when you find yourself flying in areas where the “first suitable airport” (and this is very important), ie an alternate airport where depending on the type of aircraft you are allowed to land safely. In fact, we must think of areas such as South Africa, and some remote areas of Russia, or Canada, for example, where the first operational airport in relation to the destination is over 600 NM. In reality, if an aircraft declares a fuel emergency, the fact that there are aircraft waiting 30’ or more is not a discriminating factor. If an aircraft is in an emergency, it lands before the others and this too is trivial and obvious that I mention it. Can we imagine if in reality a plane declares emergency and instead it is not true? Of course this will never happen in real operational life (perhaps here, but not in reality). At least in my 22 years of profession it has never happened to me to feel a similar fact. I diverted several times in my life (never for fuel emergency) but always in safety. The point is that there is no EAT here and not all (rightly since we are always talking about a game) are able to make operational consideration of the type “I reach my MDF and run towards my planned alternate airport”. Also here we don’t have the possibility of communicating in speakerphone with the ATC, but we can only use the commands that are available in the communications window in the software. The point is that declaring fuel emergency has a unique and precise meaning. There can not be any considerations like "I am waiting for 30 minutes and so I have priority over you even if in a fuel emergency ". In this case the concept of “Emergency” would fall completely. It would have no sense of existing. However, the developers (very good guys) of this great App will also improve this aspect as they have always improved every aspect of an app that I feel really well organized. Indeed, I take the opportunity to congratulate them.
@Hezz this is not a direct response to you but a simple consideration that your post gave me the opportunity to do, and I thank you for this.
Have a nice flights always

P.S. I’m sorry if there are a digit error but I wrote with my small phone.


So I would like to clarify a bit the reason I said about this.
During my first hour of controlling at LPPT, there is already 4 reported fuel emergency. Of course I can accommodate that and give them priority, but the fact that so many fuel emergency suggested that the waiting queue is too long already, almost a bit over an hour and not many pilots bring that much reserved fuel. Letting the queue wait even longer is just not an option as I would be dealing with more and more fuel emergency as planes circled circle longer and longer and they also start running out of fuel.

@darioalex brought up a good point is that we can’t tell them how long they would need to wait. So for IF pilots since you have a very handy map, just observe the traffic flow before you are inbound and you can roughly estimate how long you would need to wait.

And if you made the wise decision to divert as you see the traffic is too congested already, just simply ask for FF to the airport you want and we will hand you off in no time

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I am on a 19 hour long haul from NZAA to EGLL (London Heathrow) if my fuel is scarce enough should I just land at EGKK (London Gatwick)

and also can ATC divert you to a nearby airport if the delays are to long

Not a feature now, but I believe it will be added soon
Just ask for FF to another airport for now

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If 27L at London is too far out, try 27R. Its a little closer and might just work… 😉

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I can refuel you if you would like

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