Tracking under "non radar" environment

Just curious…

On today’s flight to MCB, I was flying under non radar, where the ATC could not see my transponder. Center asked me to Ident, and lost my little blib I guess. I was prepared for this as my flight down, I had to maintain victor airways rather then as filed direct due to the radar outage.

The radar outage was for about 40 miles from just north of the MCB VOR. I flew from KMCB to MCB via V9 to JAN direct to MBO

I kinda expected to see a gap on my tracking but does not look like it happened. How was flight aware able to track me but Houston Center was not?

I didn’t see any discernable gaps in the tracklog either.

BTW - we pilots are truly priviledged to do what we do. Amazing how we cruise along at 120 knots, nothing to see inside a cloud, clouds so thick that I couldn’t even see the wing tips, and really trusting our instruments to get us there.


Did the radar outage occur during both legs, MBO-MCB and MCB-MBO?
The current map and tracklog is for your return flight, MCB to MBO.

Yes, it sure did both ways.

It was from 40 miles north of the MCB (McComb) VOR to just about the MCB VOR.

In fact, I don’t think the Houston Center person handling my flight on the return flight expected my transponder to drop off. He called me and asked me to Ident. Just as I was about to push the ident button, he repeated his call in a more urgent tone.

I then said to him, that happened on my way down, and it sounded like a light bulb went off on his voice and said OK and gave me the JAN altimeter. When I got handed off to Memphis Center about 15 miles south of the JAN VOR, center said “Sundowner 1943L radar contact, Jackson altimeter 30.24” and that was where I got picked up again.

My wife was monitoring my trip down to MCB and I asked her if there were any gaps in my track, as I started to think, she may have thought I dropped off the edge of the world :smiley:, but no gaps happened on the trip down either.


Likely we’re receiving the “coast” position reports based on where they think you are during periods where radar contact is loss. Additionally, we’ll always connect the dots between position reports, so even if there was a period where we didn’t receive position reports, you’d just see it as a straight line between the position reports immediately before and after the gap.

FAA radar scopes, when the actual track drops the “Data Block” will go into 'CST Track", if the controller does not enter a CT message the data block will remain in the same location as where the track was lost. However if the CT message is entered, the data block will continue on your filed route and speed, but when the radar track appears again, the controller must enter a track message to again track your aircraft.