View Full Version : Radio failure procedure

6th Feb 2006, 02:23
Hi everyone just want some opinions on what you think would be the best option in this situation:

If flying VFR into a controlled airport (Class C or C) for a touch and go landing and when inbound and before you get clearance to land, your radio fails. If all attempts to contact ATC fail, the ERSA states that you should continue tracking to the destination in accordance with the flight plan and commence a descent in accordance with standard operating procedures (EMERG-3 ( But then it states that you should descend to the initial approach altitude and carry out the approach to the prescribed circling minima.
My question is that this relates to IFR traffic, and I cannot find anything that relates to landing procedures for the VFR. In this situation in a VFR aircraft, would the best course of action to be to fly to the airport and descend in accordance with SOP's maneouver the aircraft for a landing on the preferred runway and look for light signals from the tower and land (and if you do land should you continue with the touch and go or should you make it a full stop to inspect the radio) OR should you overfly the airfield and continue onto the next location


Also one other quick question does anyone know where the permissible unservicability schedule for each aircraft is located - is it the flight manual?

6th Feb 2006, 02:43
Interesting question skimmer,

There is really no definite right or wrong thing to do because the ERSA is written quite loosley in this situation but if I was in your situation as described I would:

Continue as per the last instruction given by ATC. This might be to track to a certain point or it could be to make a visual approach and join on a left base for example.

If i was given an instruction to track to X, then i would go there, hold for 3 minutes, listen out on NDB's, VOR for instructions and put the xponder on 7600, and then continue to land and make it a full stop.....DO NOT CONTINUE.

If I was cleared for a left base visual approach, then I would go ahead and do that and then land full stop......DO NOT CONTINUE.

At all times watch for light signals.

If you weren't given an inital clearance into CTA, then I would avoid it and land somewhere else even if you were a VFR CHTR with paxs onboard and they had an important meeting.....just land at some CTAF and call for a cab when on the ground......best not to try and get yourself into an uncomfortable predicament with ATC and causing confusion etc.

As long as you abide by the ERSA rules then legally you should be pretty safe.

Hope that helps


6th Feb 2006, 04:28
Yes it is a little loose in the ERSA and thanks for the replies. I agree that there is no wrong or right answer and that what happens in a particular situation will depend on many other factors (ie maintenance facilities ect...)


6th Feb 2006, 05:28
From memory, the first thing the VFR guide says is go away.....to a CTAF somewhere, preferably not CTAF (R) but to stay away from a GAAP airport or controlled airspace.

In theory you then land.

If you are stuck with a GAAP or controlled airspace like YMEN, then you are supposed to overfly and join the circuit, then keep in the circuit waiting for a light signal. Transponderr 7600.

PS. If at YMMB why not give the tower a ring and discuss with them what they would prefer you to do. They will also demonstrate the light signals to you if you ask them nicely on radio and they are not too busy

6th Feb 2006, 05:32
You could also ring the tower concerned on the trusty cellphone.If flying near a busy controlled aerodrome with one radio, I'd certainly carry one, and have the relevant numbers handy.

6th Feb 2006, 05:56
Squawk7700 says to Squawk7600 on this occasion and only Squawk 7700 when you are in big trouble.

Landing at a CTAF may not be option (if there even is one), especially at night and depending on your aircraft type, so you'd need to know the appropriate procedures. Calling the tower on the mobile is not the desired option.

The rules were written for a reason peoples... don't make up your own depending on where you fly. The rules were written before mobile phones existed.

Skimmer; the procedure for landing without a radio does not depend on the type of maintenance facilities located at the airfield you are landing on.

When the radio fails and you don't have a backup, Squawk 7600, execute procedures as per ERSA / CAO'S & CAR'S. Don't make stuff up because "someone" told you to do that.

6th Feb 2006, 06:59
Squawk 7700,
As a controller, I would far prefer a pilot operating in my airspace with comms failure to phone me, rather than relying on the com failure procedures, and the uncertainty, not to mention the delays to other traffic, that ensues.
There is nothing in our rules to prevent a pilot doing this (NZ), not sure about yours.The rules were written before mobile phones existed
Perhaps then it's beyond time that the rules were modified.

6th Feb 2006, 07:12
I have had aircraft(ATC) a radio fail. They could receive only. They could hear me. I gave them our number and told them to call on their mobile. All sweet.

6th Feb 2006, 07:12
If you know the towers number, and have a mobile phone....USE IT

It would then be as straight forward as obtaining your clearance and watching for light signals.

Quick, safe and relatively easy.

And NO you would definately not do a touch and go.

6th Feb 2006, 08:59
I would read 1.5.4 in ERSA EMG a bit differently, if you are VFR in CTA and in VMC, only a, b & c apply. You should squawk 7600, listen out on ATIS/NAVAIDS, transmit your intentions with "transmitting blind" on the end and land at the most suitable aerodrome.

AIP gives you enormous latitude with the "most suitable aerodrome" instruction, so you could make your TGL a full stop landing, or go on to your destination or land somewhere else. I expect they are being non-prescriptive to avoid an inflexible rule sending a VFR into IMC. If you are in the circuit I wouldn't be dicking around with your mobile, just land. Otherwise we would be glad to hear from you.

Everything else after C is for IFR, or for you if you have wandered or are wandering into IMC, and if that is the case you would probably not be doing a TGL. Have a good look out the windows mind.

chief wiggum
6th Feb 2006, 12:50
Also one other quick question does anyone know where the permissible unservicability schedule for each aircraft is located - is it the flight manual?

ummm... a P.U.S is only obtainable from CASA. The MEL(Minimum Equipment List) is located with the MR usually, but only when your companies maintenance schedule allows for one, else everything else must be either working, or U/S as stated by the AFM or CAO's ... I think.

Atlas Shrugged
6th Feb 2006, 23:04
Don't just read 1.5.4 in ERSA EMERG. It needs to be read in conjunction with local procedures for each aerodrome, for example:

Sydney - Bankstown

a. Carry out Communication procedures in EMERG
b. TR via the appropriate GAAP approach point
c. Enter BK CTR at 1500FT and TR to overhead the aerodrome at that altitude
d. Ascertain landing direction and join the appropriate circuit for the runway selected
e. When ready descend to circuit altitude remaining clear of the other circuit
f. Maintain separation from other ACFT
g. Proceed with normal circuit and landing
h. Watch for light signals from the TWR

Sydney - Kingsford Smith

In the event of a radio failure (or blocked FREQ) on the DIRECTOR FREQ, pilots must comply with the following actions:
SQUAWK 7600immediately
Track to intercept final at a MAX 30DEG prior to the IAF of the nominated RWY

Maintain assigned vector for no longer than 2 minutes. Track as required to join final for the nominated RWY at MAX30DEG intercept to commence final

Quite simple, really :ok:

7th Feb 2006, 00:19
Operate within the rules.
Use all means at your disposal.


If a call on the cellphone will alleviate some questions/reduce time in the air(thus increasing possible probs)/help the controller sort out what you are doing....then do it.

10th Feb 2006, 05:46
In the event of a radio failure (or blocked FREQ) on the DIRECTOR FREQ, pilots must comply with the following actions:
SQUAWK 7600immediately...

SQUAWK 7600...

Quite simple, really :ok:

What is the transponder code for a total electrics failure? :rolleyes:

10th Feb 2006, 07:19
You could try 7999

10th Feb 2006, 07:24
7800 is transponder fail.

10th Feb 2006, 10:18
I have had occasion to use the mobile phone the last time I had comms failure....worked a treat.

I would put it (and ATIS if applicable) in the memory of your mobile...

SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1