This “Pilot’s Tip of the Week” was originally published on 3/7/18. To get free tips like this each week, subscribe at the bottom of the page.

Pilot's tip of the week

I’m Lost…Now What?


Subscriber question:

"I fly with ForeFlight on my iPad for navigation and use my iPhone for backup. The other day while flying, I had both devices quit working (not my day). I know it's highly unusual to get lost with the electronics we have in modern cockpits, but it got me thinking...what should you do if you get lost?"- Larry R.


“First and most important – don’t panic. Your aircraft will respond normally. It does not know you are lost.

Climb – remove the fear of running into terrain or obstacles. (It also helps you find familiar landmarks and extends the range of radio communications.)

Communicate – get ATC involved as soon as possible. 121.5 (the aircraft emergency frequency) works in the absence of a local frequency.

Confess – tell ATC exactly what’s going on and request assistance. If low fuel is an issue let ATC know immediately.

Comply – follow ATC’s instructions. They know what to do to get you on the ground safely. Don’t compound your situation!

Use all available resources. Navaids, other pilots, situational awareness.

I know of a student pilot who crashed his airplane making an off-airport landing after he got lost. There were three airports within ten minutes of his off-airport landing site.

Think! Don’t panic.”

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