How do you know your’e facing a radio failure mid-flight. You’ve taken to the skies and things are going well, until the radio seems too quiet for too long and you’re potentially facing a radio failure mid-flight. Among the many questions which begin running through your mind, the main one is most likely ‘Is this a major issue and what do I do next?’ What do you do when you’re mid-flight and you find yourself in a situation of radio failure? We’ve got nine to do list to help get you safely on the ground.

1) Checklists

Start off by referencing your checklist for the “Loss of Communications” portion of the emergency procedures. This section includes basic troubleshooting procedures, such as resetting the avionics.


2) Volume And Squelch

If the procedures in the checklist didn’t reset the radios, try to adjust the volume and squelch. It’s possible your volume was turned down too far, or the squelch isn’t sensitive enough.

Volume And Squelch

3) Switch Radios

If your aircraft has more than one radio, try transmitting on the other radio.

pilot is switching to a different frequencies to avoid Radio Failure Mid-flight

4) Verify/Change Frequencies

Verify that you have the correct frequency dialed in! If the frequency is correct, try to locate an alternate frequency for the same station you are trying to contact. The frequency you are on may not be monitored at the moment, or the ground-based antenna might have an issue.

Verify/Change Frequencies

5) Handheld Microphone

If you can hear ATC but they aren’t able to hear you, try using the handheld microphone. The push-to-talk button may not be working, or the COMM1/COMM2 radios may not be transmitting properly at all.

pilot and co pilot and passengers using radio during flight

6) Use Your Cellphone

If nothing else is working, use your cellphone and call tower or a FSS. Let them know you’ve had a radio failure, and either ATC will clear you in as usual or FSS will coordinate with ATC to get you safely back on the ground.

Use Your Cellphone

7) Squawk 7600

By squawking 7600 (lost communications squawk code), ATC will know you’ve had a communications failure.

Squawk 7600

8) Circle

If you start squawking 7600 near a tower controlled airfield, start circling outside the airspace and wait for light gun signals from ATC.


9) Divert

Worst case scenario, divert to a non-towered airport. Begin by flying over the field at 1,000′ above the published traffic pattern altitude. By doing this, you’re able to determine the best suitable runway for landing, view the runway conditions, and of course, to locate any traffic that may be in the pattern or on the airport surface. Then, enter the traffic pattern and land.






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