Be prepared before your trip. Stay safe in the air.

When setting for the skies, it is important to ensure you have properly planned and are prepared for all circumstances.

Important safety tips for aviators

We have developed the following pre-flight, during, and post-flight precautionary safety checks to complete in preparation for each trip.

Pre-flight safety checks

If a registered civil or ultralight aircraft crashes, ditches, or goes missing, we have a national responsibility for coordinating the search and rescue (SAR) response. We encourage all pilots to ensure they are fully prepared for the possible emergency situations ahead.

The following precautionary measures ensure your safety as a pilot, and your passengers onboard, as well as assisting authorities to initiate a SAR response as soon as possible after being alerted of an emergency situation.

During an emergency situation

In the event of an emergency, a MAYDAY or PAN PAN call should be the first attempt of alerting authorities of a distress situation as verbal communications provide the most details related to the emergency and can result in an immediate response. If not operating on an ATS frequency, always have the area or overlying airspace frequency set for immediate use.

Post-flight checks

Cancelling SARTIMEs and reporting arrivals

Failure to cancel SARTIMEs or failure to report arrival alerts can inadvertently activate the SAR system, potentially diverting search and rescue resources and personnel from real distress situations. This is a significant overhead for both Airservices Australia and us.

As the pilot in command you are responsible for cancelling your SARTIME.

We recommend the following ways to avoid this situation:

  • include a step to cancel a SARTIME in your shutdown checks
  • set an alarm on your watch or mobile phone 5 minutes prior to the nominated SARTIME
  • always review your SARTIME in flight and amend if required
  • if you change aircraft or have cancelled or replanned a flight at the last moment, check if your SARTIME is still active
  • if you are an instructor, emphasise to your students the importance of cancelling your SARTIME.

Only the pilot in command or an AMSA Search and Rescue Officer are authorised to cancel a SARTIME.

Incidental information that the aircraft has arrived safely at its destination cannot be used to cancel a SARTIME. Instead, this information is passed to us by the Airservices Australia CENSAR operator, along with the statement of the phase. We then take whatever action is required to ensure the aircraft has arrived safely.

A SARTIME can be cancelled via the same methods used to lodge a SARTIME as follows:

You can cancel a SARTIME via the following methods:

  • online—NAIPS Internet Service (NIS) provides automatic confirmation of successful flight notification. Make sure that you have received a confirmation to ensure your SARTIME was submitted correctly.
  • phone—phone Airservices Australia on 1800 814 931 to lodge, cancel or amend a SARTIME.
  • radio—when the above methods are unavailable, a SARTIME can be lodged, cancelled or amended by VHF or HF radio. This method is only recommended when the above methods are unavailable as there may be some delays due to operator workload or HF interference.

SARTIME phraseology for radio

When lodging or amending SARTIME details over the radio, always begin your transmission with the phrase 'SARTIME details'. Then wait for the operator to ask you to go ahead. At the end of your flight, use the phrase 'cancel SARTIME'. Other phrases such as 'cancel SAR' do not clearly distinguish between VFR and IFR flights and may confuse air traffic services operators.

Contact us if you have questions or need further information.

Last updated: 

Thursday 19 May 2022