Pilot's tip of the week

Lost Comm


Subscriber question:

"If I am approaching a Class C or Class D airport and my radio goes dead, what do I do? This is assuming a VFR flight. What if I see a flashing red light from the control tower?" - Ainaras


“A prerequisite for entering Class C airspace is establishing two-way communications. If you experience a radio failure, you will not be able to enter Class C without prior coordination.

Lost commIf you have already made contact with the Approach facility and have been given a transponder code with instructions to enter the pattern, then squawk 7600, continue and look for a light gun signal.

At a Class D airport, if the radio failed prior to making initial contact, stay out of the Class D and land at a non-towered airport. If you made initial contact and received instructions to enter the pattern, then squawk 7600 and look for a light gun.

A flashing red light in the air means the airport is unsafe – do not land. Do exactly that – do not land. Continue above or outside the traffic pattern, maintain visual contact with the tower and wait for a green light. If no green light is received after a reasonable amount of time, depart the pattern and land at a suitable non-towered airport.

The AIM Paragraph 4-2-13 has more information on these procedures.”

tip(NEW) IFR Mastery scenario #149 “Capital City Confusion” is now available. Loss of control on an approach is a terrifying thought—and you just recovered in a valley with limited visibility and no airport in sight. Is it better to climb to safety with a known issue or scud run a few hundred feet above the ground to find an airport and some terra firma? Watch the Intro video.

Get the Pilot’s Tip of the Week

Sign up here to receive tips like this every week along with videos, quizzes and more.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.