Monitoring 121.5 is MANDATORY
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In my travels for PIC, I've trained pilots all over the USA (short of Hawaii), and one common thread is the lack of awareness of the legal requirement to monitor 121.5 (aka "Guard") at all times in flight in the US National Airspace System if capable. Perhaps the reason many folks are unaware of this requirement (not just recommendation) is that it was promulgated as an FDC NOTAM rather than a new FAR. I suspect a lot of folks don't understand that FDC NOTAMs are by definition regulatory.. However, as it is regulatory, it has the force of law, and failing to comply is a violation of the FAR's and can result in enforcement action.

Of course, there are times when you can skip this. If you have only one comm radio and are actively using it for other communications, like talking on CTAF in the pattern or getting a weather update from FSS or talking to ATC, then you are excused. But if you're motoring along not talking to anyone else, by this rule, you must have it up on 121.5. Likewise, if you have two radios, the second one must be on 121.5 unless you're using it to get the ATIS/AWOS/ASOS or something like that.

The current edition of the FDC NOTAM is:
 
!FDC 4/4386 FDC SPECIAL NOTICE... NATIONAL AIRSPACE SYSTEM INTERCEPT PROCEDURES. AVIATORS SHALL REVIEW THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION AERONAUTICAL INFORMATION MANUAL (AIM) FOR INTERCEPTION PROCEDURES, CHAPTER 5, SECTION 6, PARAGRAPH 5-6-2. ALL AIRCRAFT OPERATING IN UNITED STATES NATIONAL AIRSPACE, IF CAPABLE, SHALL MAINTAIN A LISTENING WATCH ON VHF GUARD 121.5 OR UHF 243.0. IF AN AIRCRAFT IS INTERCEPTED BY U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT AND FLARES ARE DISPENSED, THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES ARE TO BE FOLLOWED: FOLLOW THE INTERCEPT'S VISUAL SIGNALS, CONTACT AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL IMMEDIATELY ON THE LOCAL FREQUENCY OR ON VHF GUARD 121.5 OR UHF GUARD 243.0, AND COMPLY WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN BY THE INTERCEPTING AIRCRAFT INCLUDING VISUAL SIGNALS IF UNABLE RADIO CONTACT. BE ADVISED THAT NONCOMPLIANCE MAY RESULT IN THE USE OF FORCE.​

...and remember that per 14 CFR 1.1(b)(1), "Shall is used in an imperative sense."

Now, this is something that should be covered in pilot training, review courses, safety programs, etc., not to mention FIRC's so CFI's teach it appropriately. I'm putting a few fleas in a few ears about that. But I think we all know that there are a lot of pilots who've busted airspace and paid a price for it, and who would have avoided the problem completely if they'd be listening on Guard. Case in point (and yes, I really heard this on 121.5 while flying from FME home to SBY)...
 
"Aircraft operating ten miles east of Annapolis, heading 270, 1500 feet, 105 knots, squawking 1200, this is the United States Air Force on Guard. You are approaching a flight restricted area. Recommend turning east or contact FAA."​
2 minutes later...​
"Aircraft operating five miles east of Annapolis, heading 270, 1500 feet, 105 knots, squawking 1200, this is the United States Air Force on Guard. You are entering a flight restricted area. Turn east or contact FAA."​
2 minutes later...​
"Aircraft over Annapolis, heading 270, 1500 feet, 105 knots, squawking 1200, this is the United States Air Force on Guard. You are in a flight restricted area and being intercepted by armed military aircraft. Nearest exit point 090, 5 miles."​
1 minute later...​
"This is Bonanza 12345 on Guard. There's an F-16 on my wing. Does he need help?"​

I may still have the mark on my forehead from where it struck the glare shield after the last transmission.

And I hereby grand permission to reproduce this post unaltered and in its entirety, including attribution to me (Ron Levy, ATP, CFI), anywhere you think it may do some good.
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Ron makes a very good point here by this post. Although this Notam was issued 17 years ago in May of 2004, it is still current (with one exception), relevant, and in effect today. This was a post 9/11 NOTAM issued in the interest of national security. As the AIM is constantly updated, intercept procedures today can be found in paragraph 5-6-13, as opposed to the paragraph noted in the NOTAM.

The story Ron regaled us with should be heeded. I have heard many similar broadcasts over the air in the past 20 years; those of ground agencies trying to contact an aircraft about to enter a flight restricted area, who has neither the proper clearance or authorization to do so. Although I cannot say I ever heard one with such a bizarre ending!

None of us are perfect, but we sure don't want an F-16 for a wingman. Wouldn't it be a whole lot nicer to hear a voice telling you to get out, rather than flying formation with a fully armed F-16 after it's too late? Chances are, that pilot does NOT need help. You do.