Aircraft Radio Licenses


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Successful airplane pilots know how important it is to develop strong aircraft radio license skills. Without such expertise, they can’t provide their exact locations to other aircraft or control towers when they need help the most. Furthermore, both private and commercial aircraft pilots also use their radio skills when seeking updates on landing weather conditions or requesting permission to change specific aspects of their flight plans.

Before exploring the basic steps for obtaining an aircraft radio license, it should prove useful to first describe the two different kinds of aircraft radio services.

Types of Aviation Radio Services

  • Aircraft Radio Stations - Pilots often use these stations to obtain clearances to fly at unexpected altitudes or to obtain help when confronted with unusual flight dangers.
  • Ground Radio Stations - The other type of aviation radio services are provided by ground radio stations. They perform such services as alerting pilots via ground-to-air communications about unexpected landing delays, wayward aircraft heading their way or recent changes in the weather at their final destination.

Securing an Aircraft FCC License

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) governs the granting, renewing and revoking of licenses for interstate and international radio, cable, television, wire and satellite communications.

One of the first things you must do when seeking an aircraft FCC license is to obtain a 10-digit FCC Registration Number (FRN), if you don’t already have one.  Once you have obtained an FRN, you should then fill out FCC Form 605 which allows you to apply for an aircraft radio license. (This can be handled online or by downloading the hard copy forms and mailing them in. You can find helpful instructions for filling out Form 605 online). You must also be prepared to supply the FCC with the FAA registration number of the aircraft you’ll be flying.

Once the FCC approves your Form 605, you may be granted one of several licenses, including an aircraft, amateur or aircraft (radio) station license.

Getting Legal Help

Should you feel a bit confused or overwhelmed by all that’s needed to obtain an FCC license and complete all of your flight training, you may want to consult with an aviation attorney. This professional can make sure you’re fully complying with all pertinent laws and regulations as you file your applications with both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

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