View Full Version : Comms Failure

20th Feb 2013, 17:58
Hi guys!
Maybe u can help me,
I'm an FI in a JAA country, and i came across something i believe its weird. There is no procedure in how to proceed into a traffic pattern and land in case of a loss of Communications. It does only state in the AIP to proceed under the JAA Requirements and Annexes...obviously for VFR Flights:
"Continue to fly in VMC and land at the nearest aerodrome"
But the most complicated part, how to enter the pattern safely is not published ANYWHERE, i've been researching deeply.
I come from a country where each airport has its own R/T Failure Procedure published in the VFR App Charts....but here there is nothing.

Any advice? In such case shall i just proceed as i was used in my own country? Shall i try CAA to give me an answer? Anybody did came across something similar?

20th Feb 2013, 20:53

In the absence of specific local procedures proceed as follows:-

Overfly the airfield at 2000ft AGL and:-

a) Observe the signal square if available.

b) Observe other aircraft in the circuit.

c) Look at the windsock.

Based on the above determine the runway in use and circuit direction, position your aircraft on the deadside, descend to circuit height and then fly a normal circuit.

Also keep a particularly vigilant lookout since being non-radio you may well be a total surprise to all of the othercircuit aircraft.

I would not bother to look for light signals since anytime spent trying to see them distracts you from flying the aircraft safely given that you are, potentially, a total surprise to other aircraft.

21st Feb 2013, 04:56
That's what I was taught to do and furthermore to broadcast blind on the radio my intentions and actions just in case I was transmitting and not receiving. Of course in those far distant days radios had valves and could do one or the other.
This might be of some use as a guide and these days you've probably got a transponder. Constellations didn't have those gizmos.

CAA Flight Instructor Guide ? Circuit Training: Radio Failure (http://www.caa.govt.nz/fig/circuit-training/radio-failure.html)

A and C
21st Feb 2013, 07:02
At the pre X-C stage in the PPL training I would always fail the radio and expect the student to recover to the airfield, this was pre arranged with ATC, the student usually had no problem with this, ATC had no problem with this, but listening to the ATC tapes it sounded like a number of other aircraft considered this some sort of crisis ( despite ATC assurances that this was just practice)

Any how the light signals worked as advertised and the proof of the drills was when one of my students had a real radio failure at night, this time it was pyro signals and all worked without drama for my student and ATC.

The biggest problem is that radio failure is not practiced enough during training and so the pilot having he failure is unfamiliar with the drills and other pilots are not sure how to react to an aircraft that is not communicating by radio.

21st Feb 2013, 09:29
Some airports have their own specific comms failure procedures in the AIP aerodromes section, so it's worth being familiar with your home base.

For example Bournemouth used to have something along the lines of a number of orbits at the class D zone boundary, then proceed to a base leg, a further orbit then land on the appropriate runway.

The best option by far is just to find an airfield that you know will accept non-radio traffic and do an overhead join, preferably one with a ground signal board to show runway in use and any gliding etc.

21st Feb 2013, 10:27
Thanks 4 the answers guys, i do believe personally that a join in the deadside from overhead 2000' is the safest way not to conflict with any other traffic. I will speak to my HT to see if we may contact the aiport authority or CAA.

21st Feb 2013, 22:38
"Some airports have their own specific comms failure procedures in the AIP aerodromes section, so it's worth being familiar with your home base."

I've heard of this procedure at Bournemouth, there was one at Cardiff also which involved flying around the Wenvoe TV mast twice in a specific direction! Remembering the damn thing was too difficult for me...But I remembering searching high and low for where all this was written down but it just seemed to be word of mouth. There's nothing in the AIP that I can find. Whenever I used to take students over the tower at Cardiff, the controllers told them about it now and again, so it must be published somewhere surely???