LOST ........

Acknowledgements: Nigel Everett (Ed. GASCo Flight Safety Magazine)

 Ed. Note: The following are Nigel’s personal thoughts and not necessarily those of GASCo – so thank you for letting me share them Nigel!

 Page 131, The Skyway Code (CAP1535): “With the widespread use of GPS systems, cases of being completely lost are thankfully rarer than they once were. However, such systems are not universally carried, and even if they are (as recommended),they can be misinterpreted or fail ......”

 Detailed analysis of Controlled Air-Space infringements has revealed that pilots who carry and use modern moving-map systems comprise a very small proportion of the infringers. This flies in the face of the “old guard” instructional view that people using this “new stuff” are basically cheating, whereas it turns out they are in fact the good guys whilst those stuck in the mud of the chart and stop-watch have become the backsliders!

 Yes, the basic procedures still apply:

·     If in contact with an ATSU with radar, ask them to clarify your position

·     If not in contact with an ATSU, call Distress & Diversion 121.5 and ask for help

·     Before doing either, squawk 0030 to notify “lost” to whomever can hear you

·     Orbit and describe to ATC any prominent landmarks you can identify

·     Do not carry on flying aimlessly

But, if you have a GPS system on board, instead of using charts, rulers, pencils, and note-pads to achieve these ends, make use of it to give you the answers, rather than just to gain agreement with your own “proper” navigation. After all, if they didn’t agree, which one would you choose to follow? 


Unless you are sure that all your future flying will be done well away from CAS, my advice to you, backed up by CAP1535, is if you already have some moving-map system, to use it seriously. If you have not got one, get one and then be sure to use it all the time.

Yes, sooner or later your system will fail you, as will any other equipment. It may overheat and switch itself off, it might need re-booting and you might not have the time just now, or the battery may have run out. It might be maliciously “jammed” ........  

So, if your system stops, don’t play with it. Unless you are absolutely confident of your present position and your ability to continue unaided with ease, fly orbits, squawk 0030, and get onto Radar or Distress & Diversion. You have a navigation emergency and you are positively encouraged to request help NOW, not after further messing about whilst in or near CAS, but straight-away! Your Controller will be glad to hear from you and keen to help. You will have handled your emergency well.

 It may take instructors and examiners a long time to accept this “new way” of navigating. They may cling to the “old religion”, but the writing is already on the wall – well, on p.131 of The Skyway Code actually”.


Tony Birth