If an A/C have Radio failure ( sqk 7600 ) How the ATC will give him instruction or how will he land ?!


1 Answer 1


This is a question with many answers, depending on the conditions of the flight. Let me limit myself to private recreational aviation (what the FAA calls Part 91) in a single-engined propeller aircraft.

If you are flying Visual Flight Rules (VFR), there are some airspaces you need to stay out of. For instance, US and Canadian Class B and C airspaces require radio communication. You won't be able to land at airports in such airspaces without some other arrangements.

You can give a signal that you are lacking radio communication. Squawking 7600 on your transponder is one way. Flying a triangular pattern, which might be visible to ATC on radar, is another way. I have sometimes used my cell phone to call ATC's phone number.

Control towers in the US and Canada might well have "light guns": bright spotlights which the controller can point at an aircraft, and colour red or green, and shine continuous or blinking light. A continuous green light from tower to an aircraft preparing to land means that aircraft is cleared to land.

If you are flying Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), there are specific procedures to follow if you are unable to communicate with ATC. Frequently they boil down to holding for a few minutes, then continuing on your flight planned route.

Remember that some aircraft have no electrical system, let alone radios. They fly, take off, and land just fine. There are many airfields with no control towers. There is uncontrolled airspace in which to fly. In these cases, pilots maintain safety by seeing and avoiding other aircraft. Pilots fly traffic patterns before landing, and sequence themselves cooperatively. Lots of aviation works just fine without radio communication between pilots and ATC.

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    $\begingroup$ This also depends on the nature of the failure: If you can still receive but not transmit ATC will frequently ask you to acknowledge instructions by using the IDENT function on your transponder. This lets them know that you can still receive their instructions and they can direct you someplace where you won't be a problem. $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 2:29
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    $\begingroup$ Many thanks for you . $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 18:19
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    $\begingroup$ Good answer - I think the IFR comment is the relevant one here - you squawk 7600 for long enough for the ATC to notice you and get everyone out of your way... then you continue as planned and land, trusting ATC to deal with things. That's essentially the point of the 7600 code - to flat your situation up to ATC and let them deal with it. If you declared an emergency then they'd clear traffic out of your way anyway, and "We don't know where we're meant to be!" is somewhat urgent... $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 19:53

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