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
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
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
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