What would YOU do?

E_Dawg

Moderator
You're lost comm IFR; in VMC above a solid layer that covers everything in the area within 100nm or so. You believe the solid layer of clouds clear out beyond that based on your weather briefing... but you have no way to verify / check because your radios are dead. Do you proceed IFR, following the lost comm procedures to your filed airport? Or do you continue in VMC and hope the briefing was accurate?

---

Again, lost comm IFR. You break out on the ILS above the circling minimums for that airport and continue on the approach, but you don't see any lights from the tower. The runway appears safe. Do you land? Do go missed? Do you climb back up to the circling mins and circle, hoping for a steady green?
 

braidkid

New Member
My instrument regs are a little rusty but here goes....

1) I would continue on my filed IFR flight plan. I believe the AIM states that if you loose comm you should first follow the last clearance you received, follow the clearance you were expected to receive, or if none apply, follow your original filed flight plan.

2) This would depend on what the last ATC transmission was but if you lost comm before talking to tower then I would go ahead and land. If you filed IFR the tower will be expecting you if you arrive at your ETA.
 

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
Tough Questions, but I'm glad you asked since I obviously need more practice thinking about lost comm situations.

Scenario 1

I'd proceed IFR as cleared following lost comm procedures as long as there were no visible breaks in the overcast. I would not take the gamble that it would get better 100 NM over the horizon because it could do just the opposite.....
I say this because I believe that's what ATC would expect you to do. I think that if you went out, off your cleared/filed course, searching for VMC it would throw them for a loop. To me, predictability is important in these situations for ATC.

Scenario 2

I assume you mean you've lost your comms before you've been cleared to land or cleared for the approach. In that case, with IFR or MVFR weather I'd land as long as the airport looked safe. Again, that's what ATC would have to be expecting you to do. In this scenario, I'm more concerned with getting myself safely on the ground than "busting a regulation", yes, I'd land withouth the light gun clearance. VFR is a different story.....I'd go find a nice quiet uncontrolled field somewhere if I couldn't get the CT to send me any light gun sigs.
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
I would do the same... but the FARs can be really bad sometimes, as in both cases it would be technically illegal...
 

CapnJim

Well-Known Member
I'd wait for the light gun signals myself. If you're squawking 7600, approaching the airport deaf and dumb, and shooting an approach without clearance, odds are pretty good that ATC has notified the tower about your situation and they are going to be ready for it, light gun in hand.It just seems like it would be more dangerous to deviate from your flight plan to find that uncontrolled field, especially if you are in MVFR conditions.

Although if you had other troubles in the cockpit (low fuel, panicky pax, ice, etc.) it may be prudent to squawk 7700 and get the bird on the gound. Just prepare for a call to the tower.
 

sbav8r

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Again, lost comm IFR. You break out on the ILS above the circling minimums for that airport and continue on the approach, but you don't see any lights from the tower. The runway appears safe. Do you land? Do go missed? Do you climb back up to the circling mins and circle, hoping for a steady green?



[/ QUOTE ]


You should land without the light gun signals. If you lost comms your supposed to leave the intial approach point at your scheduled time because ATC has that airspace cleared for you. If you stay in the air then your going to arrive later then scheduled and potentially imede other traffic. When comms are lost the procedures are in place to maintain a steady flow of traffic, if you start changing things around then your creating more hazards. Land the plane, that's what they are execting you to do with or without thier gun signals.

Think about it. If the airport is under IFR conditions then chances are pretty good you might not make out the gun signals anyway. If the airport is under VFR conditions then you should maintain visual seperation and circle the field until given light signals or go to and uncontrolled field.
 

C650CPT

Well-Known Member
One thing to keep in mind, most of the regs were witten when aiplanes had dirt floors, in todays ATC enviroment there is this thing called radar. They are watching you and usually can figure out what your intentions are by your actions. They are going to expect you to follow the loss como procedures as filed, after all that is the purpose of the IFR flight plan, it communicates your intentions in the event of loss comm. I assume since you had a filed destination it met the WX requirements for a succussful approach and landing. If after succussfully flying IFR and doing an Instrument approach, I would not be concerned about a light gun signal from the tower, I would Land. AGAIN that is what ATC is expecting you to do. I would not elect to bypass my filed IFR flight plan and fly to VMC conditions (unless the WX deteriorated), but if during the flight I flew into VMC conditions I would LAND VMC then contact ATC via the FSS. Just my 2 cents worth. Hope it never happens to you.
 

CapnJim

Well-Known Member
Good points! ATC is expecting you to land, and you would be throwing a monkey wrench into things circling around for gun signals.
 

ananoman

New Member
In most aircraft that we fly IFR we have 2 Nav/Coms. I wonder what the odds are that both Coms quit, but we can still navigate to our destination. I think the most probable scenario for lost coms in most aircraft is total electrical failure. It is good to think of what you would do if you lost coms, and there has to be rules for this situation, but I wonder how practical they are.
 

ananoman

New Member
C650CPT brings up a good point about the flight plan. It lets ATC know your intentions if you loose coms. This can take some careful consideration on your part. Lets say you are going to an airport that has multiple ILS approaches. You do not have RNAV or GPS. All the ILS approaches have a note: Radar Required. There are no feeder routes for any of the approaches. If you loose coms, how will you get from the enroute structure to the approach. You really can't. Did you notice this and file an alternate? Should you have?

There is at least one airport like this near Miami. It would really suck to be down there lost coms and not know what to do. Or to have ATC wondering about where you are going.
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
[ QUOTE ]
In most aircraft that we fly IFR we have 2 Nav/Coms. I wonder what the odds are that both Coms quit, but we can still navigate to our destination. I think the most probable scenario for lost coms in most aircraft is total electrical failure. It is good to think of what you would do if you lost coms, and there has to be rules for this situation, but I wonder how practical they are.

[/ QUOTE ]

Well they are quite practical. Even though you have two radios they are both connected to the same amplifier and headset. You could always try the speaker if your headset goes out but if the amplifier fails...
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
You could always try the speaker if your headset goes out but if the amplifier fails...

[/ QUOTE ]

You reach into your flightbag and pull out your handheld.


Its definitely not an excuse to not know the lost com procedures...far from it. But the one com failure I've had under IFR was made a lot less stressful because I had a handheld. ATC can't always hear you too clearly on it, but they can hear you well enough to know whats up, and you can hear them really good. They had me acknowledge instructions, etc. by identing.
 

jtrain609

I'm a carnal, organic anagram.
Heya,


I'd also follow the lost comm procedures, and I'd land if I broke out and had the airport. If your radio has failed already, I wouldn't want to bet on nothing else failing and flying back into the murk. Who know's what's going to go out the window next.

I don't carry a transciever with me, but I do have a Sporty's JD-100 reciever. If I ever loose my radio I won't be able to transmit back, but I'm sure as heck gonna squawk 7600 and start listening to see if they say anything and I imagine they'll eventually ask me to ident. But that's just my plan.

Cheers


John Herreshoff
 

say_speed

New Member
I think the FARs are pretty clear on that point, if you loose coms in VMC, stay VMC and find your way somewhere else.
I understand the points made that it does not appear to clear anywhere around; but hey, 100 NM around is a long long way... I don't remember seing a weather pattern that wide!
If you're going to fly the lost com procedures in VMC and proceed to your intended destination airport, you better have a solid weather briefing with you, because one of those Father of All Aviators guys is going to want to talk to you about regs...
For your landing, as previously said, when you have a lost com, ATC clears the area around you, expects you to leave the FAF at your ETA, or as close as possible, and regardless of weather (providing you have the approach minimums), you are cleared to land; don't start looking around for the tower and gun signals that close to the ground, any distraction in the landing phase can be harmfull...
At least, this is my understanding of the FARs.
 
Top