What happens when you go NORDO and don't have 121.5 tuned

Intercept by German AF of a NORDO airliner…

And the break…


There be paperwork upon landing me harties…yaaaaarrrrrr


Papers, Papers please.

It must be quite the sinking feeling to casually glance left, see that Eurofighter just hanging there and then go ‘Oh, yeah…’.

I wonder if the protocol is that the wingman hangs back until comms are established, just in-case?

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I imagine it must be sort of like looking up and seeing police lights behind you, only 100x worse.

What I assume happened is One went into try and communicate. Two sat back in optimal sidewinder/cannon position. If the bogey tries something stupid One does a deconflict turn and two immediately splashes him.

Clearly that’s not likely, or would move that quickly against something like an air liner. I’d be utterly shocked if any of them had their master arms armed.

Missing a handoff or flying out of a sector’s VHF is not that unusual. Of course, in order for fighters to be scrambled, you’d have to be out of communications for quite some time. And of course the first thing the civil aviation authorities are going to want to know is - were they both asleep? So they’ll go to the CVR on that one - which can be embarrassing unto itself.

All of that said - at least in the United States - 121.5 (emergency frequency) has become a huge distraction in the past 10 years. There are a bunch of clowns on it fairly regularly hamming it up whenever someone mistakenly uses the frequency. Some of the interactions are funny…but really, you are interfering with the hearing of comms on the primary frequency, which might someday result in an accident. I’ve muted 121.5 before in a terminal area because of some ridiculous nonsense going on so that I could better concentrate on the primary frequency.

I practice my gruff “Guard Nazi” voice each and every day… YOU’RE ON GUARD! :grinning:


That’s you…??? :wink:

My favorite - which was annoying as hell to listen to, but I have to begrudgingly give it a nod for creativity, was the guy who spent 3 minutes on 121.5 doing a fake “I’m a Delta pilot, ex military, and my smooth flying will get you to the destination…” spiel… It was hilarious and the damn freq lit up afterward for five minutes. It was too entertaining to mute.


If you ever get a “So are you” reply, it might be me… :wink:
We have a lot of russians on guard here. Not every day, but on flights close to the russian border, there are often some russian chatter.

I find it bad over france, you get bodily noises, music and of course the reply " On guard!!!" which then sometimes turns the freq into a meltdown of arguing.

Sometimes amusing, sometimes not. Just hope i never see a fast mover siding up next to me :scream:

Not in the EU to be honest, airspace is so small so that fighter are scrambled pretty much instantly. Obviously it’s usually just a faulty frequency switch or something along those lines. Still embarrassing. though

Any backup vids on those?

Ah…interesting. Wonder if the Civil Aviation authority, the airline, or the military made them pull them.

Ah…I figured the upper airspace must be controlled by a singular organization…or at least a patchwork of somewhat larger organizations.

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We do! But if you want to land at schiphol you are going to start descending in Germany or Belgium, the fun reality of small countries!

Re intercepts - when I ran operations at EUCOM’s Joint analysis Center we never felt with intercepts inside Europe - just the Russian BEARs coming out of the Kola…which was always fun.

Of course this isn’t the crowded part of European airspace.

I know NATO has a few AWACS with multinational crews - I assume NATO has a system for coordinating intercepts between countries…but I was always on the US side of the house, not the NATO side. Obviously if the bogey is over Germany or France they probably get first dibs.

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