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Tue, Jun 13, 2006

ANN's Daily Aero-Tips (06.13.06): Lost Comm, Part 2 -- VMC

Aero-Tips!

A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you heard this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no truer statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception of "there are no old, bold pilots.") It's part of what makes aviation so exciting for all of us... just when you think you've seen it all, along comes a scenario you've never imagined.

Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner, master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us -- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators, and as representatives of the flying community. Some of them, you may have heard before... but for each of us, there will also be something we might never have considered before, or something that didn't "stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized it for the practical test.

It is our unabashed goal that "Aero-Tips" will help our readers become better, safer pilots -- as well as introducing our ground-bound readers to the concepts and principles that keep those strange aluminum-and-composite contraptions in the air... and allow them to soar magnificently through it.

Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to you through the Aero-News Network. Suggestions for future Aero-Tips are always welcome, as are additions or discussion of each day's tips. Remember... when it comes to being better pilots, we're all in this together.

Aero-Tips 06.13.06

You're flying under Air Traffic Control (ATC) when the radios go silent -- you're "lost comm". It's time to make some decisions.

In Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC), whether flying VFR or on an instrument clearance, remain in VMC and land "as soon as practicable."

In and between the lines of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), "as soon as practicable" is FAA-speak for "at the nearest airport that makes sense." This may mean your home base or an airport where the failure can be addressed. It does not necessarily mean the closest airport, if the pilot determines the flight can continue safely to some other point. Pilots retain the prerogative of exercising their best judgment and are not required to land at an unauthorized airport, at an airport unsuitable for the type of aircraft flown, or to land only minutes short of their intended destination.

Get lost

FAA's intent is to get "lost comm" airplanes safely out of the IFR system and/or Class A, B, C or D airspace as soon as possible. Unless you have no alternative, do not enter Class A, B, C or D airspace if you're "lost comm", and if in such airspace when the failure occurs, exit as soon as possible by leaving the airspace by the most direct route or by landing at an airport in such airspace if you have no alternative.

Aero-tip of the day: If you go "lost comm" while in VMC, stay in visual conditions, get out of required-control airspace and land as soon as makes sense given your circumstances.

FMI: Aero-Tips

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