VFR Communications Failure

VFR Communications Failure

What should we do when experiencing Communication Failure during flights under Visual Flight Rules (VFR)? Here are the recommended procedures.

5.2 VFR Communications Failure

5.2.1 In the event of an apparent aircraft communication failure, the pilot of the aircraft should adopt the following procedures:

(a) Maintain terrain clearance throughout all procedures.
(b) Switch transponder to code 7600.
(c) Try alternate then secondary published ATS frequencies for the sector or unit you should be in communication with.
(d) Check aircraft communications equipment.
(e) Listen to ATIS (or FISB) if possible.
(f) Transmit position reports and intentions, assuming the aircraft transmitter is operating, and prefixing all transmissions with “TRANSMITTING BLIND”.
(g) Turn on landing lights, beacons, and strobe lighting.
(h) If a mobile phone is available in the aircraft, attempt to establish telephone communications with:

(i) Auckland or Ohakea or Wellington or Christchurch Control —
0800 NBO PLN (0800 626 756);
(ii) Christchurch Information — 0800 NBO PLN (0800 626 756);
(iii) the ATC unit you should be communicating with (refer
GEN 3.3 for tel numbers).

(i) If the destination is within an MBZ, proceed to an alternate aerodrome unless the risk in proceeding safely to an alternate aerodrome is clearly greater than continuing, without communications, to the planned destination. (Refer to s13A of the Civil Aviation Act.)

5.2.2 The pilot of an aircraft operating under VFR should:

(a) not enter controlled airspace, including control zones, unless complying with:

(i) a clearance already received and acknowledged; or
(ii) published COM failure procedures for that aerodrome.

(b) divert to an unattended aerodrome and report arrival to ATS as soon as possible;
(c) if unable to divert to an unattended aerodrome:

(i) continue to operate transponder on code 7600; and
(ii) enter the control zone via a published arrival procedure; or
(iii) approach the aerodrome side-on to the main runway or runway-in-use, and carry out a standard overhead circuit joining procedure; and
(iv) contact ATS as soon as possible after landing.

(d) If an emergency condition exists switch transponder to emergency code 7700.

Pilots should be familiar with the Communication Failure procedures. As ‘An airplane might disappoint any pilot but it'll never surprise a good one’!!

1. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). (2009). AIP New Zealand Volume One. New Zealand: Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Knowledge Management Space

New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates civil aviation in New Zealand.

Contributors to this page

Authors / Editors


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License