Flight Training - July 2020 - 14

PREFLIGHT FLIGHT LESSON

BY RACHEL "RC" JONES

YOU'RE FLYING, NOT DRIVING
USE ALL YOUR RESOURCES WHEN THERE'S TROUBLE

WHAT HAPPENED

Everything was
going well until I
reached cruising
altitude and the
radio was eerily
silent.

IT WAS A GORGEOUS DAY IN CENTRAL TEXAS AND

14  FLIGHT TRAINING JULY 2020

LOST COMS

KEEP CALM AND
SQUAWK 7600
Radio silence flying VFR?
Don't panic
A two-way communications failure can
be unsettling to pilots
accustomed radio chatter.
But radio communication
is not required for VFR
operations in most U.S.
airspace. Stay vigilant
for traffic, and fly a
predictable pattern at
nontowered airports.
If your radio fails while
approaching Class D
towered airspace, remain
outside the airspace until
you determine the flow
of traffic, join the pattern,
maintain visual contact
with the tower, and follow
light gun signals.

See Aeronautical
Information Manual 4-3-13 for light
gun signals.

PUSH
SQ

point. Once I made the turn to follow
the road to my next checkpoint, I started
thinking of what else I could do. I knew
the loss of communication procedure to
squawk 7600 and wait to be acknowledged, but my home airport was very
busy when I left. If I was going to stop my
cross-country, it would be easier and safer
to land at a nontowered airport.
I unplugged my headset and plugged it
back in. Nothing. I tried the co-pilot jack.
Still nothing. I tried turning the radio off
and back on again. I retuned the approach
frequency and still wasn't hearing anything. I realized then that I was almost at
my first stop. I decided to descend and see
if I could get the weather at Uvalde. After
the descent, the radio worked!
I did a radio check with some of the
airplanes in Uvalde's traffic pattern. They
could hear me. I landed the airplane safely
and immediately pulled out my cellphone
to call my instructor. Approach had called
my flight school when I went radio silent.
My instructor texted me after Approach
called her. The chief flight instructor,
who was also flying at the time, had tried
to reach out to me on the radio. I never
thought to use my cellphone. I've gotten into the habit of ignoring my phone
completely while driving, so I never even
thought of it as a resource while flying.
Someone at Cotulla looked at my radio
for me and said the internal battery for
the radio needed to be replaced. On my
return trip to Stinson, I realized that my
radio only cut out when I was above 3,000
feet msl. If I had tried descending earlier, I
might have figured it out sooner.
I safely finished my long cross-country
solo, but I learned a few lessons along the
way. My biggest takeaways were to better
manage the resources I had and to invest
in a handheld radio for backup.

MON
TUNE

PUSH
SEL

LEFT: SARAH HANSON; ABOVE: STEVE KARP

almost everyone from the flight school I attended was
flying. I couldn't wait to join them, but this was an
important day and I'd rather do things slowly and get
them right. Today was my long solo cross-country.
I was assigned to a 152 that had only one radio
and VOR navigation. I had yet to acquire an iPad or
other supplemental navigation, but none of that really
mattered because my route worked well with pilotage,
dead reckoning, and a VOR. My plan was to depart
my home airport, Stinson-a towered airport south of
San Antonio-and head west to Uvalde, a nontowered
airport with a fantastic diner. After getting lunch, I'd
then go southeast to Cotulla, another nontowered
airport with a friendly unicom, before heading home.
I took my time preflighting. The radio had been
squawked. Maintenance had reviewed the problem
and said everything was resolved. Still, I made sure
to conduct a radio check on the ground before I
contacted the tower for a clearance to taxi. I got clearances from the tower to taxi and take off no problem.
Everything was going well until I reached cruising
altitude and the radio was eerily silent. Checklist time.
The radio was dialed in to the appropriate frequency,
the volume was up, my headset was fully plugged in,
my headset volume was up, no fuses had popped. I
asked for a radio check and was met with silence. I
kept situational awareness and got to my first check-

MENU
PWR/VOL



Flight Training - July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - July 2020

Contents
Flight Training - July 2020 - Intro
Flight Training - July 2020 - Cover1
Flight Training - July 2020 - Cover2
Flight Training - July 2020 - Contents
Flight Training - July 2020 - 2
Flight Training - July 2020 - 3
Flight Training - July 2020 - 4
Flight Training - July 2020 - 5
Flight Training - July 2020 - 6
Flight Training - July 2020 - 7
Flight Training - July 2020 - 8
Flight Training - July 2020 - 9
Flight Training - July 2020 - 10
Flight Training - July 2020 - 11
Flight Training - July 2020 - 12
Flight Training - July 2020 - 13
Flight Training - July 2020 - 14
Flight Training - July 2020 - 15
Flight Training - July 2020 - 16
Flight Training - July 2020 - 17
Flight Training - July 2020 - 18
Flight Training - July 2020 - 19
Flight Training - July 2020 - 20
Flight Training - July 2020 - 21
Flight Training - July 2020 - 22
Flight Training - July 2020 - 23
Flight Training - July 2020 - 24
Flight Training - July 2020 - 25
Flight Training - July 2020 - 26
Flight Training - July 2020 - 27
Flight Training - July 2020 - 28
Flight Training - July 2020 - 29
Flight Training - July 2020 - 30
Flight Training - July 2020 - 31
Flight Training - July 2020 - 32
Flight Training - July 2020 - 33
Flight Training - July 2020 - 34
Flight Training - July 2020 - 35
Flight Training - July 2020 - 36
Flight Training - July 2020 - 37
Flight Training - July 2020 - 38
Flight Training - July 2020 - 39
Flight Training - July 2020 - 40
Flight Training - July 2020 - 41
Flight Training - July 2020 - 42
Flight Training - July 2020 - 43
Flight Training - July 2020 - 44
Flight Training - July 2020 - 45
Flight Training - July 2020 - 46
Flight Training - July 2020 - 47
Flight Training - July 2020 - 48
Flight Training - July 2020 - 49
Flight Training - July 2020 - 50
Flight Training - July 2020 - 51
Flight Training - July 2020 - 52
Flight Training - July 2020 - 53
Flight Training - July 2020 - 54
Flight Training - July 2020 - 55
Flight Training - July 2020 - 56
Flight Training - July 2020 - Cover3
Flight Training - July 2020 - Cover4
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