Flying in the Dolomites? Take note: PMR 8-16 is the official radio channel for free flight safety.
If you come flying in the Dolomites you are required to keep a radio always tuned on this channel (technical details are provided below). It must be a second radio dedicated to safety, not the same radio you use for other conversation (don’t worry PMR radios are very cheap).
Before starting a rescue operation, the helicopter rescue team will broadcast on this channel information about the area involved by the rescue operation (in english and in italian). They will inform all free flight pilots that an helicopter is about to arrive and they will identify the area where the rescue operation will take place. Free flight pilots are required to leave the area immediately and any take-off must be suspended.
Thanks to the ongoing collaboration with the rescue operators and authorities we managed to keep Dolomites open to
free flight pilots from all over the world but we are still facing the risk of free flight to be banned in the area because of justified safety concerns.
We keep working both on prevention and for safer and more efficient rescue operations.
High traffic of paragliding and hang-gliding pilots is one of the most critical issues during an helicopter rescue operation. We believe that having a channel where, ahead of time, information about an imminent rescue operation is provided to all pilots in the area is very important. When the helicopters arrives, the area is expected to be free.
It is very, very important that this dedicated channel is used properly: it must stay silent all the time and it must be used only for safety communications. This means that having a second radio dedicated to this channel is absolutely important. This radio must be always tuned on the safety channel, never transmit on this channel unless you need to coordinate a rescue operation. In this case you will have the advantage of being able to talk directly with the rescue operators on the helicopter.
If we use this tool properly, it will certainly help everybody: the people who need rescue, the rescue operators and our community of free flight fellow pilots who will still be able to visit and fly in a unique area.
What radio do you need? Just a plain PMR radio that you can find almost everywhere for a few euros. Tune it on channel 8 and subchannel 16 (for the tech-savy channel 8 and CTCSS subtone 16). That’s why we call it channel 8-16, in Italy it’s a channel conventionally used for safety in the mountains.
For the real radio geek, the frequency is 446,09375 MHz and the subtone is 114,8 Hz.
Don’t worry, it’s not complicated: just get a PMR radio and tune it on channel 8, subchannel 16, keep it on all the time and you’re all set.
This radio channel cannot be used to call for rescue. To call for rescue use the phone number 112.
A free app is also available both for Android and IOS that allows to call 112 while automatically sending the exact GPS coordinates to the rescue operators. If the person that calls for rescue is close to the person in need for help, this is very useful.
The app is called “ 112 Where ARE U”, you can find in the app stores.
We want to keep these wonderful flying sites open to all pilots, we want to keep everybody safe, we need collaboration from all the pilots.
This radio requirement is immediately effective, rescue operators are already equipped to use this radio channel.