Author Topic: Possible pilot deviation. ...any insight on this from an expert ATC controller?  (Read 34530 times)

Offline Falcon900driver

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We were in cruise on our assigned and cleared route at our correct flight level.we then realized we had no atc contact....long story short...we regained atc communication...the were later given a phone number to call ....we did so from the airplane!!! The manager said he would  fill his report and he didnt know if they would pursue it or not,but he didnt seem too concerned....we were off the air 17 minutes ,we didnt deviate from our cleared route of flight or flight level heading or anything. We both filed a NASA report......
Is there any meat on this bone?



Offline Brad G.

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So you lost communications after already being cleared up to cruise (e.g. this wasn't a "let's climb to cruise because it's been 10 minutes and we haven't heard anything else" lost comms climb)? Did you at any point squawk 7600?

Probably the most important question... were you in VMC or IMC flight conditions? The 14 CFR 91.185 is most likely the reg you'll want to review and verify you were in accordance with. For example, if you (and the controller had good reason to suspect this was true) were clearly in VMC conditions, it might have been expected that you would continue the flight under VFR and "land as soon as practicable" - even if in Class A airspace.

EDIT: I'll also admit that I'm not the "expert ATC controller" you seek... just trying to gather more information out in the open so that one of those might be able to give a more definitive opinion.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 02:40:25 PM by swa4678 »

Offline Falcon900driver

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Thanks forvthe imput... We were level 410 on our flight plan it was vmc on an ifr flightplan ( night)
We did not lose the radios , rather we either went out of range or the volume was too far down , when we realized it we got on the horn to recover communcations..and we effectively did ...
Ao that was 15+ minutes off the air...
It was an inadvertent mistake , but it wast like heading or altitude bust in my view...after all we were on our eared flight plan route.

Offline Brad G.

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It was an inadvertent mistake , but it wast like heading or altitude bust in my view...after all we were on our eared flight plan route.

Right... but an airspace bust can be just as bad; just ask someone who's ever "inadvertently" flown into Class B airspace or a TFR without a clearance/prior approval.  :wink:

14 CFR 91.135 stipulates that in order to operate in Class A airspace, "each pilot must maintain two-way radio communications with ATC." However, even the AIM recognizes that a one-size-fits-all playbook for the abnormal is never going to happen:

Quote from: AIM ยง 6-4-1, Two-way Radio Communications Failure
It is virtually impossible to provide regulations and procedures applicable to all possible situations associated with two-way radio communications failure. During two-way radio communications failure, when confronted by a situation not covered in the regulation, pilots are expected to exercise good judgment in whatever action they elect to take.

I think... and would hope... that any sane judgment of a situation where no safety threat was imminent and was eventually resolved with no apparent impact to others... would simply get written off. I mean, if you played things strictly by the book with no common sense judgment of its application, apparently you were supposed to plunge through the FLs (and potentially around clouds to remain in VFR conditions) from 410 in order to land as soon as possible.  :?

Offline JetScan1

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I'm not an aviation lawyer or an expert in FAA matters but as a pilot myself I'm interested in the outcome here.

Some reading on the subject in FLYING magazine.

http://www.flyingmag.com/pilots-places/pilots-adventures-more/faa-after-your-ticket?page=0,1

JO 7210.632 Appendix A, Mandatory Occurrence Report Criteria, A-7. Communication. Any instance in which communication with an aircraft was not established or not maintained as expected/intended, and results in alternative control actions or additional notifications by ATC, or a flight crew, or in a landing without a clearance.

http://www.faa.gov/documentlibrary/media/order/jo7210.632.pdf

2150.3B, FAA Compliance and Enforcement Program. Fig. B-3-h. Other Flight Violations. (23) Failure to maintain radio watch while under IFR. Certificate Action: 30- to 60- day Suspension

http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/orders_notices/index.cfm/go/document.information/documentid/17213

Based on the above FAA docs it does appear to be a punishable offence but I've never heard of anyone actually being violated for it ?

Let us know how it goes.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 06:33:03 PM by JetScan1 »

Offline Falcon900driver

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Well we both filed a NASA report ....there was no separation issues either,at least we were not told of one,we were just told we were out of contact for 15 minutes,amd later told to call the center,which we did..we did not change our route if flight in any manner....
I know one pilot busting altitudes out of phoenix on a SID and he was given remedial instruction,you would think there would be more serious consequences.

Offline jermscentral

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I work in a tower, but I've seen NORDO ops on the radar, and we usually have them happen at least once a day in the terminal environment. From someone that punched in the wrong frequency (120.5 instead of 120.05 just on the tower frequency) to someone that just doesn't hear us call them, it happens.

Did anyone try to contact you on 121.5? We hear that chatter all day since we have that frequency monitored on loudspeaker in the tower 24/7 -- "UALXXX, this is AALXX on guard. Contact Kansas City Center on ###.##."

You were most likely advised to call the facility just to make sure there wasn't any neglect or nefarious reason for you to be NORDO. If you weren't a factor, they were probably just letting you fly for a while and would call you closer to either a necessary frequency change or potential conflict. Then, if you couldn't be contacted, they'd probably try to call you on guard before labeling you as NORDO and calling the Domestic Events Network. If the supervisor that you called didn't push the issue, then you shouldn't have anything to worry about.
STL ATC

Offline davolijj

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The guidance we're seeing in the centers is for QC departments to file pilot deviations on all IFR aircraft that are NORDO for more than 15 minutes (after they check the tapes and make sure the aircraft wasn't given a wrong frequency).
Regards
JD