It’s turbulent, getting dark, you know your approach will be down to minimums. Now to
top it all off you haven’t heard anyone transmitting on the radio for a few minutes. You
call up nonchalantly and ask for an altimeter setting, no response. You go back to your
previous frequency and try to contact someone, anyone, to no avail.
Where do you go? When do you get there?
Flying IFR can be strenuous when everything is working, let alone when something
goes wrong. Studies show people can remember things better when they are broken
down into acronyms, as pilots acronyms are something we’ve learned to be very fond
of. Our acronym for IFR lost comm’s is A-V-E-F M-E-A
Not to bad to remember Avenue F MEA. It’s much better then some of the other one’s
I’ve seen. Lets take a closer look
There are two portions to our acronym the first part A-V-E-F (Avenue F) has to do with
our route of flight. You are to fly your route based on your last:
Assigned (Your last assigned heading)
Vectored (If nothing is assigned fly your last vector)
Expected (If no vector fly what was expected in your clearance)
Filed (Finally fly what you filed)
For altitude we use the MEA portion of our acronym
Fly the HIGHEST of the following
Minimum en-route altitude
Let’s apply this to a situation
Your clearance reads as follows:
“Cleared to the Ocala airport via V-441 to Gators then as filed. Climb and maintain 3,000
expect 6,000 10 minutes after departure.”
Shortly before takeoff the tower tells you “turn right heading 210 cleared for take off
You take off and enter IFR conditions at 500 feet. After 4 minutes of flying you
experience communications failure your altitude is 2,500 feet and heading is 210.
The MEA along our route is 5,000
What might you do in this situation?
Let’s break down our acronym
A – We were assigned heading 210 so we’ll continue to fly that
V – In our limited communication with the controller we never received radar vectors
E – Our clearance instructed us to fly V-441 to Gators VOR then as filed
F – After we fly what was expected, we’ll fly what we filed.
So we’ll continue to fly 210 until we intercept V-441 and proceed to Gators VOR. Upon
reaching Gators we’ll continue as filed which in our case is direct Ocala.
What about our altitude?
Remember we want to fly the highest of our
M – Minimum en-route altitude (5,000 in our case)
E – Expected (6,000 as given in our clearance)
A – Assigned – We were not assigned another altitude by another controller
So after 10 minutes of flying “expect 6,000 10 minutes after departure” we will climb and
maintain 6,000 feet with a heading of 210 until intercepting V-411 to Gators and then
continue direct Ocala as filed.
If Ocala is IFR we will enter a hold over the Ocala VOR. This is why it is crucial to always
file to a fix rather than an airport. It works out in our case because Ocala has a VOR.
But when flying to an airport with out a VOR file to a fix on the field this way you can
hold until you reach your time of arrival you filed for.
We will hold over the Ocala VOR until we approach our ETA on our flight plan, from
there we can commence our approach as prescribed on our approach plate.
Remember to squawk 7600!