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View Full Version : Lost Comm


ERAU_IP406
11-15-2006, 12:24 PM
Ok...now I know this is going to start an argument, or maybe just a good thread...

What is your take on the lost comm procedure on an IFR flight plan in IMC? Here is the situation:

You depart airport ABC enroute to airport XYZ and you will be using the GHI VOR for navigation. The GHI VOR is about halfway in between and lets say the distance from ABC to XYZ is 150 miles. Your clearance limit is the VOR which is an IAF for a VOR APP. You are issued an EFC and you lose COMMs enroute to the VOR. Obviously you would hold until your EFC, but would you shoot the approach into the random airport, or follow your flight plan to your destination?

This is a discussion I had with some co-workers last night.


FlyerJosh
11-15-2006, 12:35 PM
I'm assuming that your scenario is based on an enroute hold or something that would amend your clearance limit to the GHI VOR? Remember- you're still "cleared" to your final destination (via your original clearance), it's just that a hold has been placed at the GHI VOR. The EFC determines that time for your to continue, IMHO.

I would continue on the filed/expected routing to the destination airport (or VFR conditions). I would say that you're routing hasn't been changed by the EFC. But what the heck do I know?

3. IFR conditions. If the failure occurs in IFR conditions, or if subparagraph 2 above cannot be complied with, each pilot shall continue the flight according to the following:

(a) Route.

(1) By the route assigned in the last ATC clearance received;

(2) If being radar vectored, by the direct route from the point of radio failure to the fix, route, or airway specified in the vector clearance;

(3) In the absence of an assigned route, by the route that ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance; or

(4) In the absence of an assigned route or a route that ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance by the route filed in the flight plan.

HSLD
11-15-2006, 12:38 PM
91.185 IFR operations: Two-way radio communications failure.

(a) General. Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, each pilot who has two-way radio communications failure when operating under IFR shall comply with the rules of this section.

(b) VFR conditions. If the failure occurs in VFR conditions, or if VFR conditions are encountered after the failure, each pilot shall continue the flight under VFR and land as soon as practicable.

(c) IFR conditions. If the failure occurs in IFR conditions, or if paragraph (b) of this section cannot be complied with, each pilot shall continue the flight according to the following:

(1) Route.

(i) By the route assigned in the last ATC clearance received;

(ii) If being radar vectored, by the direct route from the point of radio failure to the fix, route, or airway specified in the vector clearance;

(iii) In the absence of an assigned route, by the route that ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance; or

(iv) In the absence of an assigned route or a route that ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance, by the route filed in the flight plan.

(2) Altitude. At the highest of the following altitudes or flight levels for the route segment being flown:

(i) The altitude or flight level assigned in the last ATC clearance received;

(ii) The minimum altitude (converted, if appropriate, to minimum flight level as prescribed in 91.121(c)) for IFR operations; or

(iii) The altitude or flight level ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance.

(3) Leave clearance limit.

(i) When the clearance limit is a fix from which an approach begins, commence descent or descent and approach as close as possible to the expect-further-clearance time if one has been received, or if one has not been received, as close as possible to the estimated time of arrival as calculated from the filed or amended (with ATC) estimated time en route.

(ii) If the 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.


FlyerJosh
11-15-2006, 12:53 PM
HSLD,

the question at hand is which applies? Are you at a clearance limit (as assigned during the hold: "Cleared to GHI VOR...", or do you expect to continue after the hold? Even if you expect to continue, it isn't explicitly stated so. If you are at a new clearance limit (which is a fix from which an approach begins), do you abide by section 3?

Personally, I think that (1)(iv) applies in this situation and would continue via the filed routing after reaching the EFC.

HSLD
11-15-2006, 01:16 PM
Your clearance limit is the VOR which is an IAF for a VOR APP. You are issued an EFC and you lose COMMs enroute to the VOR. Obviously you would hold until your EFC, but would you shoot the approach into the random airport, or follow your flight plan to your destination?

HSLD,

the question at hand is which applies? Are you at a clearance limit (as assigned during the hold: "Cleared to GHI VOR...", or do you expect to continue after the hold?

Based on the info given, I'm not sure where the hold is. The only thing he stated was he was navigating the airway based on the service volume of the GHI VOR. If GHI is where the hold is, I agree that 1(iv) applies for the routing. Continue to XYZ based on para 1 and 2, then fly the approach to the FILED/CLEARED airport based on para 3.

It's easy to get tripped up on 3(i) although in this example a clearance to the airport served by GHI was never received.

I can't imagine losing VHF, HF, SATCOM, ACARS, and cell phone coverage:p

ERAU_IP406
11-15-2006, 03:06 PM
I still don't understand why you would continue when the FAR says if your clearance limit is a fix at which an approach begins, start your descent or descent and approach as close to the EFC time as possible. What parts doesn't satisfy this situation? You were cleared to a fix, you were given an EFC, and the fix is an IAF. Why would you elect to continue on the filed route?

I'm certaintly not disagreeing with anyone...yet! I am just trying to really understand this one. As with the rest of the FAR's, it's all how they are perceived!

FlyerJosh
11-15-2006, 05:14 PM
Lets look at this from another standpoint. Same situation, bigger equipment than what you're thinking of.

Substitute a turbine aircraft that has been given a hold over the same enroute VOR. The hold is at FL240. Would you still leave the hold and land at the intermediate airport, if you can proceed safely to your intended destination in accordance with the regs (or at least my interpretation).

Truth is, ATC is going to be watching you and clearing the way. As long as you can rationalize and justify your decision, so be it... but I would continue along the filed route, unless VFR (where I would squawk 1200 and proceed as such to an appropriate landing site).

The issue at hand is what is your actual clearance limit? The regs/AIM are rather vauge in their definition...

ERAU_IP406
11-15-2006, 05:25 PM
Lets look at this from another standpoint. Same situation, bigger equipment than what you're thinking of.

Substitute a turbine aircraft that has been given a hold over the same enroute VOR. The hold is at FL240. Would you still leave the hold and land at the intermediate airport, if you can proceed safely to your intended destination in accordance with the regs (or at least my interpretation).

Truth is, ATC is going to be watching you and clearing the way. As long as you can rationalize and justify your decision, so be it... but I would continue along the filed route, unless VFR (where I would squawk 1200 and proceed as such to an appropriate landing site).

The issue at hand is what is your actual clearance limit? The regs/AIM are rather vauge in their definition...

Well I understand the "REAL WORLD" aspect to the situation, and I agree with you there. I think I'm looking for a solid answer to teach to students.

FlyerJosh
11-15-2006, 05:39 PM
I think that the answer lies in the route section of the AIM:

(c) IFR conditions. If the failure occurs in IFR conditions, or if paragraph (b) of this section cannot be complied with, each pilot shall continue the flight according to the following:

(1) Route.

(i) By the route assigned in the last ATC clearance received;

(ii) If being radar vectored, by the direct route from the point of radio failure to the fix, route, or airway specified in the vector clearance;

(iii) In the absence of an assigned route, by the route that ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance; or

(iv) In the absence of an assigned route or a route that ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance, by the route filed in the flight plan.


Although you have been given a clearance limit (as defined by the AIM), you have also been given an expectation to "Continue" along your planned route at the EFC. Because of this, I would say that (iv) is applicable from the above quote.

Consider it a different way. If the VOR was NOT a point from which an approach originated, would you proceed direct to the nearest fix from which an approach began and commence that approach, or continue on towards your filed destination? If you did decide upon an approach, which airport do you go to? (Especially if there isn't one co-located with the VOR...)

Good discussion though!

HSLD
11-15-2006, 05:48 PM
I still don't understand why you would continue when the FAR says if your clearance limit is a fix at which an approach begins, start your descent or descent and approach as close to the EFC time as possible.

Clearance delivery [probably] won't clear you to an intermediate fix, nor will you file a flight plan to an intermediate fix. You file, and are typically cleared to your intended destination airport.

FlyerJosh
11-15-2006, 05:53 PM
True, but the definition of "Clearance Limit" and "EFC" (per the AIM), can cause some confusion on this topic:

Clearance Limit (FAA): The fix, point, or location to which an aircraft is cleared when issued an air traffic clearance.

Clearance Limit (ICAO): The point of which an aircraft is granted an air traffic control clearance.

Expect Further Clearance [Time] (FAA): The time a pilot can expect to receive clearance beyond a clearance limit.

Texandrvr
11-15-2006, 07:11 PM
The wording in 91.185 actually tells you the priority for the 4 cases that apply to routing. They are in order of precedence.
BTW the mnemonic most use to remember them is avenue f mea.

For routing in order:
A ssigned
V ectored
E xpected
F iled

So in your example fly your Assigned routing until your EFC(the expected) and then when that is up fly your Filed route.

For Altitude the highest of:
M inimum
E xpected
A ssigned

Also just because you are cleared to a navaid that happens to be an IAF somewhere does not mean that you should fly a random approach to an airfield where ATC does not expect you to go. If you are IMC the entire time fly to your filed destination.