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Quiz: You Just Lost Your Radios On An IFR Flight. What's Next?

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You just lost your radios. What's next?


  1. 1) You're flying IFR cross country from Austin (KAUS) to San Antonio (KSAT) when your radios fail. What transponder frequency should you squawk to notify ATC of your failure?
    Boldmethod

    You got it. If you lose radio communication with ATC, you should squawk 7600.

    If you lose radio communication with ATC, you should squawk 7600.

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  2. 2) Less than 10 minutes after your radio failure, you break out of the clouds into VFR conditions. What should you do now?
    Matthew Piatt

    You got it. According to 91.185, if you encounter VFR conditions on and IFR flight plan, you should continue under VFR and land as soon as 'practicable'.

    According to 91.185, if you encounter VFR conditions on and IFR flight plan, you should continue under VFR and land as soon as 'practicable'.

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  3. 3) You're being vectored to final for the ILS to runway 04 in San Antonio when you lose radio comm in IMC. After squawking the lost comm code on your transponder, what should you do?
    View KSAT ILS 04

    You got it. According to 91.185, if you're being radar vectored, you should continue by the direct route from the point of radio failure to the fix, route, or airway specified in the vector clearance. In this case, since you are expecting the ILS and you are in IMC conditions, you should squawk 7600, continue the ILS approach, and land.

    According to 91.185, if you're being radar vectored, you should continue by the direct route from the point of radio failure to the fix, route, or airway specified in the vector clearance. In this case, since you are expecting the ILS and you are in IMC conditions, you should squawk 7600, continue the ILS approach, and land.

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  4. 4) You're on the climb out of Austin in IMC on your way to San Antonio on V17. You're climbing through 2,900', and you've been cleared to 6,000' when your radio fails. The MEA for V17 is 3,500'. What altitude should you climb to?
    View Low Altitude Enroute Chart

    You got it. According to 91.185, you should climb to the highest of your: 1) assigned altitude, 2) minimum altitude of the route, or 3) altitude ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance. Since 6,000 is the highest altitude, you should climb to it.

    According to 91.185, you should climb to the highest of your: 1) assigned altitude, 2) minimum altitude of the route, or 3) altitude ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance. Since 6,000 is the highest altitude, you should climb to it.

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  5. 5) You're flying from Austin to San Antonio on V17, and ATC instructs you to hold at the SHEPE intersection and expect further clearance at 18:45Z. On your way to SHEPE, you lose communication in IMC. What should you do?
    View Low Altitude Enroute Chart
    View KSAT ILS 04

    You got it. According to 91.185, if your clearance limit is not a fix from which an approach begins, leave the clearance limit at the expect-further-clearance time if one has been received, or if none has been received, upon arrival over the clearance limit, and proceed to a fix from which an approach begins and commence descent or descent and approach as close as possible to the estimated time of arrival as calculated from the filed or amended (with ATC) estimated time en route.

    According to 91.185, if your clearance limit is not a fix from which an approach begins, leave the clearance limit at the expect-further-clearance time if one has been received, or if none has been received, upon arrival over the clearance limit, and proceed to a fix from which an approach begins and commence descent or descent and approach as close as possible to the estimated time of arrival as calculated from the filed or amended (with ATC) estimated time en route.

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  6. 6) After all of these failures, you get your radio fixed in San Antonio by a mechanic. On your way back home, you've been cleared to climb to 5,000 feet, and to expect 7,000 feet 15 minutes after departure. You're 18 minutes into the flight and you haven't been able to contact ATC for the past 10 minutes. The MEA for your route is 3,500 feet. What altitude should you climb to?
    View Low Altitude Enroute Chart

    You got it. According to 91.185, you should climb to the highest of your: 1) assigned altitude, 2) minimum altitude of the route, or 3) altitude ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance. Since 7,000 is expected 15 minutes after departure, you should climb to it.

    According to 91.185, you should climb to the highest of your: 1) assigned altitude, 2) minimum altitude of the route, or 3) altitude ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance. Since 7,000 is expected 15 minutes after departure, you should climb to it.

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Well, that was a pretty tough quiz...

You scored %. Better luck next time.

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Not bad, you have most of these procedures down...

You scored %. Nice work.

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You could handle IFR lost comm procedures in your sleep.

You scored %. Well done..

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Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at colin@boldmethod.com.

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