OK liebrama here goes:
Fist the FAR:
91.185 IFR operations: Two-way radio communications failure.
(a) General. Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, each pilot who has two-way radio communications failure when operating under IFR shall comply with the rules of this section.
(b) VFR conditions. If the failure occurs in VFR conditions, or if VFR conditions are encountered after the failure, each pilot shall continue the flight under VFR and land as soon as practicable.
© IFR conditions. If the failure occurs in IFR conditions, or if paragraph (b) of this section cannot be complied with, each pilot shall continue the flight according to the following:
(1) Route. (i) By the route assigned in the last ATC clearance received;
(ii) If being radar vectored, by the direct route from the point of radio failure to the fix, route, or airway specified in the vector clearance;
(iii) In the absence of an assigned route, by the route that ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance; or
(iv) In the absence of an assigned route or a route that ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance, by the route filed in the flight plan.
(2) Altitude. At the highest of the following altitudes or flight levels for the route segment being flown:
(i) The altitude or flight level assigned in the last ATC clearance received;
(ii) The minimum altitude (converted, if appropriate, to minimum flight level as prescribed in 91.121©) for IFR operations; or
(iii) The altitude or flight level ATC has advised may be expected in a further clearance.
(3) Leave clearance limit. (i) When the clearance limit is a fix from which an approach begins, commence descent or descent and approach as close as possible to the expect-further-clearance time if one has been received, or if one has not been received, as close as possible to the estimated time of arrival as calculated from the filed or amended (with ATC) estimated time en route.
(ii) If the clearance limit is not a fix from which an approach begins, leave the clearance limit at the expect-further-clearance time if one has been received, or if none has been received, upon arrival over the clearance limit, and proceed to a fix from which an approach begins and commence descent or descent and approach as close as possible to the estimated time of arrival as calculated from the filed or amended (with ATC) estimated time en route.
These air traffic answers are completly unacceptable and will get somebody killed:
The answers ranged from: “it really doesn’t matter because if you lose comm we’ll just watch where you fly and clear the airspace in front of you”, to “there is no way to know - you need to ask the controller which he meant when he gave you that clearance” to #1 and #2. In the real world, I would ask, but given the crowded radio freq, thought this is something a pilot should know to avoid adding to the chatter.
Para. B VFR straight forward land as soon as practicable. My personal advise is to go somerwhere other than the nearest international airport!
Para. C IFR. It looks real scary but it is pretty straight forward.
Picture it as a flow chart. If you are initially given an airport clearance “N12345 is cleared to the Jacksonville AIRPORT via…” then you have an airport clearance.
If the clearance is “N12345 is cleared to the Jacksonville VOR” then you have a short range clearance and the controller is required to issue what to expect. “expect further clearance for the the ILS Runway 16 left approach.”
If you aren’t sure if you have an airport clearance or a short range clearance screw the radio traffic and get a clarification. That is your job as the PIC.
If comm should fail then any of the above paragraphs should get you on your way.
If CAFlier loses com and has an airport clearance and is in IMC then you should proceed to the approach fix for the runway known to be in use that you have the equipment and certifications for. That info may be in your possesion from the controller, the ATIS if you can get it or in the worst case from the information you received in your preflight briefing. Yes ask the guy at the FSS or at some airports you can call the ATIS or AWOS on the phone. You did get a preflight briefing didn’t you?
Still using the Jacksonville MS example (you can find the SIAP elsewhere at flightaware) proceed to the JAN VORTAC (the IAF) or ALLEN LOM (another IAF) at your last assigned altitude start a descent or decsent and approach as close as possibel to your ETA and fly the approach (JAN R150 & LOC crs to the ALLEN LOM and shoot the approach (no PT)). If shooting the approach off the LOM then the full approach procedure is required - PTs are real bummers.
ATC should be protecting all altitudes from your last assigned or others required for this part of the let down to the IAF altitude 2200 ft. at JAN.
When you break out during the let down proceed VFR if able to the field, determine the active runway and land. If not VFR land straight ahead. Watch the tower for a light gun signal.
You will get to see the FSDO guy. Be nice and show him your notes and explain what happened.
And by all means file that NASA report.
Tip of the day keep a copy of the lost comm FAR taped to your knee board. If it is in your flight bag you may find that you have way to many alligators crawling aroud the cockpit to search for it.
Hope this helps some. This is alway a lively discussion topic and I would be interest to see what becomes of it.
MR. FSDO GUY—IF YOU ARE OUT THERE JUMP IN. After all I’m just a dumb retired controller.