What is Airband (Aviation Band) on a Radio?

© Frankljunior | Dreamstime.com – Air Traffic Control Tower And An Airplane Photo

This has become a popular question with our new CC Skywave™.

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.

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 for 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. Navigation and air traffic control have changed over time and many areas use higher frequencies and RADAR and other more sophisticated systems. The Airband radio frequencies still continue to play a part though, especially in ground communication with pilots. It is used almost exclusively in small airports that don’t have control towers. We have one customer who plans to use the CC Skywave for monitoring the ground to pilot communication at the local air races.

As to why we decided to include Airband in our radio? Here is Bob’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.

http://radio-scanner-guide.com/radioscannerguidepart3c-civilaircraft.htm

http://www.wikihow.com/Listen-to-Your-Local-Air-Traffic-Control

 

And the winner of the CC Skywave Radio is…

© Frankljunior | Dreamstime.com - Air Traffic Control Tower And An Airplane Photo

© Frankljunior | Dreamstime.com – Air Traffic Control Tower And An Airplane Photo

Thank you all for your participation in our What is Airband (Aviation Band) on a Radio? blog post. There were a lot of wonderful comments and stories submitted. So many that we wish we had time for honorable mentions. Thank you all! If you didn’t have a chance to read some of the comments, we highly recommend taking a peek 🙂

We won’t leave you hanging any longer…. and the winner of What is Airband (Aviation Band) on a Radio? Tell us your best airline story isKathleen B Amptmann! Kathleen will receive the CC Skywave Radio

Wahoo Kathleen! Thank you for your great and entertaining story. It had everyone here at C. Crane in both stitches and ready to heave 🙂 It was fantastic, thank you!

Kathleen B Amptmann Says:

‘I was a 20 year old “Stewardess” back when Ozark Airlines was still flying. On one of my first flights (only 1 cabin crew per flight), working the DC3, a nice elderly man pushed the overhead help button for the second time. I had retrieved a sick bag from him earlier in the flight.
When flying in the old DC3 prop planes there were always more than a few sick bags to be collected. Procedure was to store them back in the “blue room” for the ground service folks to remove on the next stop. I guessed the gentleman had another bag for me to stow. This leg of the trip had been rough & there were about 8 other such bags lined up against the wall. When I got to the mans seat I had to lean down to hear what he was saying. When it dawned on me what his request was I almost reached for my own bag. Seems he had accidentally lost his false teeth into the bag I had already picked up. He needed his teeth & wanted me to check his bag & bring them back to him!
I explained that would be difficult as he wasn’t the only one who was airsick! He understood my dilemma. Fortunately he agreed to check the bags if I brought them to him, 2 at a time!
I felt sorry about his mishap but lucky for him, he located them in the 4th bag…it could have been worse! To this day, every time I remember this event I smile & then go wash my hands!’