Losing communication capabilities is nerve-wracking in VFR conditions, but is relatively straight-forward if you can see where you are going, even if where you are going is controlled airspace – though under VFR you can very easily go to a non-towered airport without talking to anyone and no one would really even know the difference (you might annoy other pilots in the pattern, but you would be perfectly legal). Towered airports can still communicate with you via light signal – you do have those light signals memorized for the checkride right? And if you are post-checkride, you have a cheatsheet on your kneeboard or pasted to your instrument panel, correct?
That said, under IFR, lost communication is a situation that might require a change of underwear upon reaching your destination – how the heck are you supposed to know what you are expected to do if air traffic control can’t give you vectors and altitudes?
This Testing Tuesday, we have a question that you will definitely hear on your IFR checkride’s oral exam:
What are you expected to do on an instrument flight when two-way communications has been lost?
Andrew Hartley is a certificated flight instructor and commercial pilot in Columbus, Ohio.