High alert as PA-28 161 Warrior II sounds 7700 ‘Squawk’ at 5,000ft over England

A Twitter post by the EGTTinfo account said: “Squawk 7700/7600/7500 detected: ‘GBTRK’ G-BTRK [Piper PA-28 161 Warrior II] of Stapleford Flight Centre of United Kingdom at 5223ft AMSL (Squawk 7700).”

Squawk codes are assigned to every flight before departure and the four digits can be between zero and seven.

The most well-known of these is the code 7700, which is used to indicate a general emergency.

A pilot will enter this when they are aware they are in an emergency situation, either instructed by Air Traffic Control after declaring an emergency or without communication.

This means all tracking ground controllers will be clearly informed the aircraft has an emergency and should be given appropriate assistance.

This could include any type of air emergency or a serious ‘Mayday’ situation.

Among these could be engine failure, pressurisation issues, other technical problems on the aircraft or a medical emergency.

It comes after a Scandinavian Airlines flight from Stockholm to Dublin was forced to land in Edinburgh earlier this month after emitting an emergency “squawk”.

The flight performed an abrupt turn towards Edinburgh instead of continuing on its journey to Dublin.

Squawk Tracker via Twitter reported that the plan had emitted the emergency “7700” signal at 10.06 this morning.

Writing for Flightradar24, Ken Hoke, a Boeing flight captain, explained “squawking” is a way of an aircraft declaring an emergency with traffic control, so they can receive on-the-ground assistance.

He said: “If a crew resets their transponder to the emergency code of 7700 (squawking 7700), all air traffic control facilities in the area are immediately alerted that the aircraft has an emergency situation.

“It’s up to the crew to let ATC know what the exact situation is. It may be an aircraft problem, medical issue, or something else.

“In some cases, a crew may not elect to change their transponder to 7700 (it’s not required). If I’m talking to Chicago Approach and have a problem, I’ll tell them the problem, declare an emergency over the radio and get vectors to land immediately.”