Intercept procedures

If you are intercepted by a U.S. Military or law enforcement aircraft, immediately:
  1. Follow the instructions given by the intercepting aircraft. (See chart below.)
  2. Notify ATC, if possible. 
  3. Attempt to communicate with the intercepting aircraft and/or ATC on the emergency frequency 121.5 MHz, giving the identity and position of your aircraft and the nature of the flight.
  4. If equipped with a transponder, squawk 7700, unless otherwise instructed by ATC. If any instructions received by radio from any sources conflict with those given by the intercepting aircraft by visual or radio signals, request clarification while continuing to comply with the instructions given by the intercepting aircraft.
Intercepting aircraft signal Meaning Intercepted aircraft response Meaning
Rocks wings. After acknowledgement initiates a slow level turn, normally to the left, onto the desired heading. You have been intercepted. Follow me. Rocks wings and follows. I understand and will comply.
(At night, the pilot will also flash the navigational lights at irregular intervals.)   (At night, the pilot will also flash the navigational lights at irregular intervals.)  
       
Performs an abrupt breakaway maneuver consisting of a climbing 90 degree turn, or more, without crossing the intercepted aircraft's flight path. You may proceed. Rocks wings. I understand and will comply.
       
Circles airport, lowers landing gear, and overflies runway in the direction of landing. Land at this airport. Lowers landing gear, follows the intercepting aircraft and lands if the runway is considered safe. I understand and will comply.
(At night, the pilot will also put the landing lights on.)   (At night, the pilot will also put the landing lights on.)  
       
Intercepted aircraft signal Meaning Intercepting aircraft response Meaning
Raises landing gear while flying over runway between 1,000' and 2,000', and continues to circle the airport. This airport is inadequate. If the intercepted aircraft is requested to go to an alternate airport, the intercepting aircraft raises its landing gear and uses the intercept procedures (listed above). Understood, follow me.
(At night, the pilot of the intercepted aircraft will also flash landing lights while passing over the runway.)   To release the intercepted aircraft, the intercepting aircraft will perform the breakaway maneuver listed above. Understood, you may proceed.
       
The pilot switches on and off all available lights at regular intervals. Cannot comply. Performs the breakaway maneuver listed above. Understood.
       
The pilot switches on and off all available lights at irregular intervals. In distress. Performs the breakaway maneuver listed above. Understood.


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