The CC Skywave™ has prompted a lot of curiosity on “what might I hear on Airband?”.


The primary purpose of Air traffic control worldwide is to prevent collisions, organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and provide information and other support to pilots. It was difficult to find any “history” of airband but it appears that it was first used extensively after World War I and after 1921 at Croydon airport in London.

The Airband radio frequencies play a critical part for all civilian aviation including every flight you have been on. All flights use radio to be cleared for takeoff, landing and changes during the flight to avoid accidents or conflicts. Conversations can be dry, lively, funny or dramatic. We have one customer using the CC Skywave to monitor the ground to pilot communication at the local air races.

Navigation and air traffic control have changed over time and many areas use additional sophisticated systems to help prevent accidents.

According to Wikipedia, Airband, also referred to as Aircraft or Aviation band, is a group of frequencies in the VHF radio spectrum that are allocated to civil aviation radio communications. VHF is a short range, line of site transmission. Our radio covers 118 – 137MHz for Airband. In most countries a license is required to operate airband equipment but that appears to apply only to transceivers, not receivers. In some countries it is illegal to listen to or monitor the Airband without authorization (even in the UK).

The language that is used to communicate on this band can be a challenge to follow. Ken Hoke’s article on Stuff Pilots Say, gives some great insight into the meaning of the seemingly cryptic language used on Airband. His tips on a few basic phrases will really help you understand what is being said. Another great article by Ken is “How Pilots Communicate

Why we decided to include Airband in our radio… Here is Bob Crane’s answer:

“When you are in a big airport you are sometimes subject to the whims of security and circumstance. TSA does a great job but when the process gets a little tense I yearn for more information. I want to know everything that will affect my tiny domain. When you listen to aviation band you can usually figure out more by reading between the lines on what pilots and the control tower are talking about. Sometimes you gain a sense of power and wisdom as you do with any knowledge.”

For more information on what you might hear or how to listen, visit the links below.