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not using the frequency in the event of another aircraft being in an emergency. Silence is twofold: first, it means instructing other aircraft and controllers on the frequency to maintain radio silence, if necessary, (‘Stop transmitting’) so that the frequency is fully available for the aircraft in distress; secondly, it is keeping the controller’s transmissions to a minimum so as not to disturb the flight crew.
source: ICAO English Pro Aviation Glossary
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