International Ground-to-Air Signal Codes

Require doctor serious injuries

Require map and compass

All well

Require medical supplies

Indicate direction to proceed


Unable to proceed

Proceeding in this direction


Require food and water

Probably safe to land here

Not understood

Require firearms and ammunition

Require fuel and oil

Require engineer


You can lay out these symbols using strips of fabric, pieces of wood, stone, or any other available material. Try to make as big a color contrast as possible between your symbol(s) and the surrounding terrain. Symbols should be at least 8 feet in height or longer. Take care when constructing these symbols so that they can't be confused. In addition, you should use any means possible to try and attract an aircraft's attention: radio, flames, smoke, flares etc.

Aircraft Acknowledgements

Message Understood: An aircraft will indicate that ground signals have been understood by rocking from side to side or by making green flashes with a signal lamp.

Message Not Understood: An aircraft will indicate that ground signals are not understood by making a complete right-hand circuit or by making red flashes with a signal lamp.

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