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Here are a few tips to remember if you suspect you’ve lost radio comms with ATC during Instrument flight:
  1. Make sure your headphones are fully plugged in and headset volume is turned on/up. Moving stuff around the cockpit can loosen the plugs from the headphone jacks.
  2. Check your radio’s volume is up and confirm the correct radio frequency has been set.
  3. If available, switch to your other COM radio.  Most aircraft now have two COM radios, so try to establish comms on the other radio.
  4. Go back to the last good frequency. If the loss of comms occurred during the switch over to another ATC facility, go back to the previous ATC facility and resume communications with them.  Also, you can use the IFR chart or approach chart (if near an airport with instrument approaches) to find the controlling agency in the area you are flying in and attempt to establish communications with them.
  5. If you truly believe your radios are down and cannot communicate with ATC, squawk 7600 to alert ATC to your issue. You may continue to make radio calls “in the blind” with your intentions, as ATC may still be able to hear you even though you may not be able to receive them.
  6. If you’re in VMC but on a IFR flight plan, do not continue flight into IMC.  Divert to an airport in VMC and call ATC once you’re on the ground to report the issue.
  7. If you’re flying in IMC, remember these acronyms for continuing to your filed destination for your Route (AVE-F) and Altitude (MEA):
  • Route
    • Assigned – Route assigned in last ATC clearance received
    • Vector – 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
    • Expected – By the route that ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance
    • Filed – By the route filed on the flight plan
  • Altitude – Fly the highest altitude for the route segment being flown
    • Minimum –  Minimum altitude for IFR operations (usually minimum enroute altitude listed on IFR charts)
    • Expected –  Altitude ATC has advised to expect in an expected further clearance
    • Assigned – Last assigned altitude

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