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== Overview ==
 
== Overview ==
Airborne planes can easily be heard from well over 100 miles, so you don't have to live near an airport. If you do live near an airport, you can find out all the traffic control, weather, and Traffic Advisory frequencies by entering the airport at [http://www.airnav.com/airports/ AirNav]
+
Airborne planes can easily be heard from well over 100 miles, so you don't have to live near an airport. If you do live near an airport, you can find out all the traffic control, weather, and Traffic Advisory frequencies by entering the airport at [http://www.airnav.com/airports/ AirNav].
  
At most small airports that don't have control towers, the UNICOM frequency is used by the pilots use to talk to each other, usually 122.900 or 122.950. At larger airports that have control towers, most airports have the following types of channels:
+
At most small airports that don't have control towers, the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNICOM UNICOM]  frequency is used by the pilots use to talk to each other, usually 122.700, 122.800, 122.900, 123.000 or 123.050. Airports with control towers usually have an assigned Unicom channel of 122.950. Most airports large enough to have control towers have the following types of channels:
 
# ATIS ([http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Monitoring#ATIS Automatic Terminal Information Service])- Weather, equipment failures, closed runways and taxiways, current operating runways, special notes, and NOTAM's.
 
# ATIS ([http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Monitoring#ATIS Automatic Terminal Information Service])- Weather, equipment failures, closed runways and taxiways, current operating runways, special notes, and NOTAM's.
 
# [http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Monitoring#Clearance Clearance Delivery] - The pilot uses this frequency to notify a controller of his flight intentions and to receive flight instructions and clearance for take-off.  
 
# [http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Monitoring#Clearance Clearance Delivery] - The pilot uses this frequency to notify a controller of his flight intentions and to receive flight instructions and clearance for take-off.  
 
# [http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Monitoring#Ground Ground Control] - The ground controller tells the pilot which taxiways to use to arrive at the correct runway.
 
# [http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Monitoring#Ground Ground Control] - The ground controller tells the pilot which taxiways to use to arrive at the correct runway.
# [http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Monitoring#Tower Tower] - The Tower Controller is responsible for the aircraft in the immediate area around the airport (Up to 3000 feet and 5 miles from the airport). Once the aircraft leaves the airspace of the airport, the pilot will be handed off to a controller at a [http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/TRACON TRACON] (Terminal Radar Approach Control) or an [http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/ARTCC ARTCC Center] ([http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=ARTCC%20 Air Route Traffic Control Centers]), commonly called [http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Monitoring#AirTrafficControl Air Traffic Control]).  
+
# [http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Monitoring#Tower Tower] - The Tower Controller is responsible for the aircraft in the immediate area around the airport (Up to 3000 feet and 5 miles from the airport). Once the aircraft leaves the airspace of the airport, the pilot will be handed off to a controller at a TRACON [http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control)or an [http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/ARTCC ARTCC Center] (Air Route Traffic Control Centers), commonly called [http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Monitoring#AirTrafficControl Air Traffic Control]).  
#Approach Control([http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/TRACON TRACON]) - Directs several lines of descending aircraft into one smooth flowing line of aircraft as their courses take them closer to the destination airport.  
+
#Approach Control ([http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Monitoring#TRACON TRACON]) - Directs several lines of descending aircraft into one smooth flowing line of aircraft as their courses take them closer to the destination airport.  
# Departure Control([http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/TRACON TRACON]) - Routes air traffic immediately upon takeoff via a preferential departure route (PDR) leading away from the departure airport as the aircraft ascends to the en route phase of flight.
+
# Departure Control ([http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Monitoring#TRACON TRACON]) - Routes air traffic immediately upon takeoff via a preferential departure route (PDR) leading away from the departure airport as the aircraft ascends to the en route phase of flight.
  
 
== General Commercial Frequencies ==
 
== General Commercial Frequencies ==
 
<BLOCKQUOTE>
 
<BLOCKQUOTE>
118.000 - 121.400 Air Traffic Control (See [http://www.airnav.com/airports/ AirNav]) <br>
+
118.000 - 121.950 Air Traffic Control (See [http://www.airnav.com/airports/ AirNav]) <br>
122.000 - 123.650 Unicom, Flight Services, Traffic Advisory (CTAF) (See [http://www.airnav.com/airports/ AirNav])<br>
+
121.975 - 123.650 Unicom, multicom, Flight Services, Traffic Advisory (CTAF) at uncontrolled airports<br>
123.675 – 129.800 Air Traffic Control (See [http://www.airnav.com/airports/ AirNav])<br>
+
123.675 - 128.800 Air Traffic Control (See [http://www.airnav.com/airports/ AirNav])<br>
 
128.825 - 132.000 Company Airlines Operational Control<br>
 
128.825 - 132.000 Company Airlines Operational Control<br>
 +
132.025 - 136.475 Air Traffic Control (See [http://www.airnav.com/airports/ AirNav]) <br>
 
136.500 - 136.975 Company Airlines Operational Control<br>
 
136.500 - 136.975 Company Airlines Operational Control<br>
 
More specific info can be found at: [http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Aircraft Aircraft Frequencies]
 
More specific info can be found at: [http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Aircraft Aircraft Frequencies]
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(See Note 1)
 
(See Note 1)
 
<BLOCKQUOTE>
 
<BLOCKQUOTE>
121.500 VHF Guard<br>
+
121.5000 Civilian Guard<br>
243.000 Military UHF Guard<br>
+
243.0000 Military Guard<br>
406.000 New Air Emergency (See Note 1)<br>
 
 
</BLOCKQUOTE>
 
</BLOCKQUOTE>
  
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</BLOCKQUOTE>
 
</BLOCKQUOTE>
  
== Company Airlines Operational Control ==
+
== Domestic VHF/Operational Control ("Company Frequencies")==
When aircraft are within 20-30 minutes of their destination, they call in on freq's 128.825 - 132.000 and 136.500 - 136.975 to report equipment malfunctions, delays, rerouting, and the special needs, such as wheelchairs and un-accompanied minors(UM). Sometimes, when they are about 10 minutes off the ground on their trip away from the airport, they call back with the times they were off the gate, and off the ground.
 
  
On the ground, there may also be company frequencies in the  460.675 - 460.900 range. Often, you can learn of flight delays, cancellations, or gate changes on the 460 freq’s before it is announced. These are NOT listed at [http://www.airnav.com/airports/ AirNav].  
+
=== Spectrum Management ===
 +
[http://www.asri.aero/ Aviation Spectrum Resources, Inc. (ASRI)] is the spectrum manager for aeronautical "company frequencies" (128.825-132.0 and 136.5-136.975). ASRI licenses all the frequencies with the FCC and assigns them to other users, so unfortunately the FCC data only provides part of the story but it is a start. The primary users of these frequencies are airlines but they are also used by Fixed Base Operators (FBOs), corporate aviation bases, some medevac services and other entities.
  
You can also find other air-related  frequencies used around a major airport by doing a Geo Search for the Lat/Lon of your airport. Go to:
+
[http://www.arinc.com/ Aeronautical Radio, Inc. (ARINC)] used to be the spectrum manager for company frequencies but after a corporate reorganization, ASRI is now the spectrum manager.  ARINC continues to operate a VHF radio network (the [[Aircraft#ARINC_En_Route_Service|ARINC En Route Service]]) which is used mostly by smaller airlines to relay messages to their dispatchers or to establish phone patches.
 +
 
 +
There are no official "national" company frequency allocations, however among larger airlines there are common frequencies that you will find used by each at many different airports.  Please note that "common" frequencies are less likely to be valid in busier air traffic areas due to frequency congestion (e.g., the northeast USA and mid-Atlantic USA regions).  Some common allocations include:
 +
 
 +
*129.4250  UPS
 +
*129.2500  Southwest
 +
*131.6250  DHL
 +
*131.9250  FedEx Express/FedEx Feeder
 +
*122.8750  FedEx Feeder
 +
*131.6000  American Eagle
 +
*130.7250  United Express
 +
 
 +
===Airline Operations===
 +
There are several different uses for company frequencies by airlines:
 +
* Dispatch - Many carriers have their own dispatch frequencies but some use the ARINC En Route Service instead as needed.  Sometimes the Dispatch and Operations frequencies are the same at a given airport.  Dispatch frequencies are used to contact the airline's dispatch staff which is usually located at the airline's headquarters.  Dispatch frequencies are also used to contact maintenance staff at the airline's headquarters.
 +
* Load Planning - Used by legacy carriers at the airline's hub airports.
 +
* Maintenance - At airports where the airline has a large operation and/or a maintenance base, this frequency may be used to directly contact maintenance personnel at the airport.
 +
* Operations - At an airline's non-hub airports, this is the main (and frequently the only) frequency used.  This frequency is used by aircraft to contact the airline's local airport staff when "in range" and on the ground.  Airlines will usually have an Operations frequency at their hub airports as well.
 +
* Ramp Control - Used by large airline operations usually at hub airports.  Certain ramp areas and some taxiways are designated as "non-movement areas" and are controlled by the airline's ramp controllers instead of airport's ground controller(s).  Some or all of the ramp area may be under the control of Ramp Control.  An airline's Ramp Control may control ramp areas used by other airlines.
 +
 
 +
When aircraft are within 20-30 minutes of their destination, they may call in on a company frequency to report equipment malfunctions, delays, rerouting, and the special needs, such as wheelchairs and unaccompanied minors (UM). Sometimes, when they are about 10 minutes off the ground on their trip away from the airport, they call back with the times they were off the gate, and off the ground. However, [http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/ACARS ACARS] has replaced most of these communications.
 +
 
 +
Airlines with a small presence at a given airport will frequently contract out ground handling services to another airline, FBO or ground handling services company. In these cases, an airline may use the frequency of the entity that is handling them at the airport. But just to keep things interesting, some airlines will contract out ramp handling but have their own customer service staff so they may have their own company frequency in this case.
 +
 
 +
On the ground, you may find airline ground operations in the 460.65-460.9 MHz range. Often, you can learn of flight delays, cancellations, or gate changes on the 460 frequencies before they are announced. These frequencies are not listed at [http://www.airnav.com/airports/ AirNav].
 +
 
 +
You may find a list of frequencies for the ARINC En Route Service on ARINC's website. They are kept on charts in PDF format, which is linked [http://www.arinc.com/products/voice_data_comm/air_ground_radio_svc/jepp_charts.html here].
 +
 
 +
You can also find other air-related  frequencies used around a major airport by doing a Geographic Search for the latitude/longitude of your airport. Go to:
 
<BLOCKQUOTE>
 
<BLOCKQUOTE>
 
* [http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchGeographic.jsp FCC Geographic Search]
 
* [http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchGeographic.jsp FCC Geographic Search]
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== Identifying Aircraft vs. Frequency ==
 
== Identifying Aircraft vs. Frequency ==
All commercial and private call-signs in the United States start with the letter 'N'. However, the ‘N’ is usually not used for commercial flights. Pilots often just use the last two or three digits of the call-sign to save precious air time. This can be very confusing, but [http://flightaware.com/live/airport/ FlightAware]  will give you a list of possible flights with every combination of those numbers. For instance, if you enter ComAir 5650 in the flight #, or COM5650 in the Flight/Tail #, you should be able to see that it is really ComAir #50. This will give you departure/arrival airports, and tracking if still enroute.
+
All commercial and private aircraft in the United States use callsigns that start with the letter 'N'. However, the ‘N-number’ is normally not used over the air for commercial flights. Private pilots and air traffic controllers often just use the last two or three digits of the callsign and the aircraft type to save precious air time ("Cessna 23-Hotel"). Commercial aircraft generally use the flight number and company name as their callsign ("United 152"). This can be confusing, but [http://flightaware.com/live/airport/ FlightAware]  will give you a list of possible flights with every combination of those numbers. For instance, if you enter ComAir 5650 in the Flight #, or COM5650 in the Flight/Tail #, you should be able to see that it is really ComAir #50. This will give you departure/arrival airports, and tracking if still enroute.
  
 
== CodeShare (Airline Partners)==
 
== CodeShare (Airline Partners)==
Another confusing area is the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codeshare Codeshare]. It refers to a practice where a flight operated by an airline is jointly marketed as a flight for one or more other airlines. For example, Delta has feeder airline partners with  Comair, Chautauqua, Atlantic Southeast, etc. So Delta  DL456, operated by ComAir, might be COM456, or even COM56. [http://www.flightstats.com/go/Home/home.do Flight Stats] shows both. However, this does not always relate to what you heard. There are many other similar tracking sites, and they don’t always show the exact same thing, so it is good to use more than one. <br>
+
Another confusing area is the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codeshare Codeshare]. It refers to a practice where a flight operated by an airline is jointly marketed as a flight for one or more other airlines. For example, Delta has feeder airline partners with  Comair, Chautauqua, etc. So Delta  DL456, operated by ComAir, might be COM456, or even COM56. [http://www.flightstats.com/go/Home/home.do Flight Stats] shows both. However, this does not always relate to what you heard. There are many other similar tracking sites, and they don’t always show the exact same thing, so it is good to use more than one. <br>
 
<blockquote>
 
<blockquote>
 
For Domestic<br>
 
For Domestic<br>
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When searching or monitoring the airport specific frequencies, such as Aproach/Departure, Clearance Delivery, Tower, ATIS, etc you can usually find out what airport you are hearing by typing '''airnav freq state''', into a Google search box.
 
When searching or monitoring the airport specific frequencies, such as Aproach/Departure, Clearance Delivery, Tower, ATIS, etc you can usually find out what airport you are hearing by typing '''airnav freq state''', into a Google search box.
 
  I.E. '''airnav 128.7 Pennsylvania'''
 
  I.E. '''airnav 128.7 Pennsylvania'''
 +
 +
You can also go directly to the [http://www.airnav.com/airports/ AirNav] website and type in an airport name or identifier (Boston or KBOS).
  
 
== Notes ==
 
== Notes ==
# 121.500 (guard) is used far more often to communicate with aircraft that have somehow strayed onto the wrong frequency, and ATC cannot get hold of them on their assigned frequency. If they are listening on 121.5 the controller will probably be able to get through to them and get them back on the correct frequency. The monitoring of the 121.5 & 243 frequency via satellite will be eliminated in 2009. Apparently, 'they' are going to the 406 MHz satellite monitoring only. 406 MHz uses some digital encoding when broadcasting that can give aircraft details as well as GPS coordinates.
+
# 121.500 (guard) Is commonly used to get the attention of an aircraft that has gone to the wrong frequency, or a VFR (non-ATC controlled aircraft) that is about to fly into a restricted area, as all aircraft are supposed to monitor guard if they have an available radio. The "satellite monitoring" eliminated in 2009 refers only to the emergency locator beacons (ELT's) that activate on 121.5/243MHz after a crash to aid in search & rescue operations.  ELT's will still transmit their distinctive alarm on 121.5/243, but will only be heard by overflying pilots (if they are listening) and ground searchers with Direction-Finding (DF) equipment. New ELT's, while not required by the FAA, also transmit in the 406.0-406.1 MHz band and can rely precise GPS coordinates of the downed aircraft.  They also still transmit on 121.5 to alert other pilots, but the SARSAT system now only responds to 406MHz.  121.5 Guard continues to be used for voice communications, and remains the best and only way to get a hold on an aircraft not responding to other communications, or for a pilot to announce an emergency.
 +
#  Here is an [http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Aviation%20Glossary Aviation Glossary] that takes the mystery out of those abbreviations you hear.
 +
# As with any service, there is a large number of specialized terms and phrases. See our [[Aviation Terminology]] article for more information
 +
# [http://phlairline.com/acars/airlinecalls3.html Call Signs and Nicknames]
 
# Here’s some additional but slightly outdated info:
 
# Here’s some additional but slightly outdated info:
 
<BLOCKQUOTE><BLOCKQUOTE>
 
<BLOCKQUOTE><BLOCKQUOTE>
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<br>
 
<br>
 
[http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Airline%20Frequencies Airline Frequencies]  
 
[http://www.freqofnature.com/index.php?m=Aviation%20Monitoring&p=Airline%20Frequencies Airline Frequencies]  
</BLOCKQUOTE>
+
</BLOCKQUOTE></BLOCKQUOTE>
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 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
 
 +
Return to Wiki page: [[Aircraft]], [[Aviation Terminology]]<br/>
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<small>(No matching DB page)</small><br/>
  
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[[Category:Civil Aviation Frequencies]]

Latest revision as of 11:21, 31 December 2018

Overview

Airborne planes can easily be heard from well over 100 miles, so you don't have to live near an airport. If you do live near an airport, you can find out all the traffic control, weather, and Traffic Advisory frequencies by entering the airport at AirNav.

At most small airports that don't have control towers, the UNICOM frequency is used by the pilots use to talk to each other, usually 122.700, 122.800, 122.900, 123.000 or 123.050. Airports with control towers usually have an assigned Unicom channel of 122.950. Most airports large enough to have control towers have the following types of channels:

  1. ATIS (Automatic Terminal Information Service)- Weather, equipment failures, closed runways and taxiways, current operating runways, special notes, and NOTAM's.
  2. Clearance Delivery - The pilot uses this frequency to notify a controller of his flight intentions and to receive flight instructions and clearance for take-off.
  3. Ground Control - The ground controller tells the pilot which taxiways to use to arrive at the correct runway.
  4. Tower - The Tower Controller is responsible for the aircraft in the immediate area around the airport (Up to 3000 feet and 5 miles from the airport). Once the aircraft leaves the airspace of the airport, the pilot will be handed off to a controller at a TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control) or an ARTCC Center (Air Route Traffic Control Centers), commonly called Air Traffic Control).
  5. Approach Control (TRACON) - Directs several lines of descending aircraft into one smooth flowing line of aircraft as their courses take them closer to the destination airport.
  6. Departure Control (TRACON) - Routes air traffic immediately upon takeoff via a preferential departure route (PDR) leading away from the departure airport as the aircraft ascends to the en route phase of flight.

General Commercial Frequencies

118.000 - 121.950 Air Traffic Control (See AirNav)
121.975 - 123.650 Unicom, multicom, Flight Services, Traffic Advisory (CTAF) at uncontrolled airports
123.675 - 128.800 Air Traffic Control (See AirNav)
128.825 - 132.000 Company Airlines Operational Control
132.025 - 136.475 Air Traffic Control (See AirNav)
136.500 - 136.975 Company Airlines Operational Control
More specific info can be found at: Aircraft Frequencies

Aircraft Emergency/Distress

(See Note 1)

121.5000 Civilian Guard
243.0000 Military Guard

Air to Air

Some of the more popular:

123.4500 Itinerant channel
123.3000
123.5000
123.0250 Helicopter
122.7500 Fixed Wing

Domestic VHF/Operational Control ("Company Frequencies")

Spectrum Management

Aviation Spectrum Resources, Inc. (ASRI) is the spectrum manager for aeronautical "company frequencies" (128.825-132.0 and 136.5-136.975). ASRI licenses all the frequencies with the FCC and assigns them to other users, so unfortunately the FCC data only provides part of the story but it is a start. The primary users of these frequencies are airlines but they are also used by Fixed Base Operators (FBOs), corporate aviation bases, some medevac services and other entities.

Aeronautical Radio, Inc. (ARINC) used to be the spectrum manager for company frequencies but after a corporate reorganization, ASRI is now the spectrum manager. ARINC continues to operate a VHF radio network (the ARINC En Route Service) which is used mostly by smaller airlines to relay messages to their dispatchers or to establish phone patches.

There are no official "national" company frequency allocations, however among larger airlines there are common frequencies that you will find used by each at many different airports. Please note that "common" frequencies are less likely to be valid in busier air traffic areas due to frequency congestion (e.g., the northeast USA and mid-Atlantic USA regions). Some common allocations include:

  • 129.4250 UPS
  • 129.2500 Southwest
  • 131.6250 DHL
  • 131.9250 FedEx Express/FedEx Feeder
  • 122.8750 FedEx Feeder
  • 131.6000 American Eagle
  • 130.7250 United Express

Airline Operations

There are several different uses for company frequencies by airlines:

  • Dispatch - Many carriers have their own dispatch frequencies but some use the ARINC En Route Service instead as needed. Sometimes the Dispatch and Operations frequencies are the same at a given airport. Dispatch frequencies are used to contact the airline's dispatch staff which is usually located at the airline's headquarters. Dispatch frequencies are also used to contact maintenance staff at the airline's headquarters.
  • Load Planning - Used by legacy carriers at the airline's hub airports.
  • Maintenance - At airports where the airline has a large operation and/or a maintenance base, this frequency may be used to directly contact maintenance personnel at the airport.
  • Operations - At an airline's non-hub airports, this is the main (and frequently the only) frequency used. This frequency is used by aircraft to contact the airline's local airport staff when "in range" and on the ground. Airlines will usually have an Operations frequency at their hub airports as well.
  • Ramp Control - Used by large airline operations usually at hub airports. Certain ramp areas and some taxiways are designated as "non-movement areas" and are controlled by the airline's ramp controllers instead of airport's ground controller(s). Some or all of the ramp area may be under the control of Ramp Control. An airline's Ramp Control may control ramp areas used by other airlines.

When aircraft are within 20-30 minutes of their destination, they may call in on a company frequency to report equipment malfunctions, delays, rerouting, and the special needs, such as wheelchairs and unaccompanied minors (UM). Sometimes, when they are about 10 minutes off the ground on their trip away from the airport, they call back with the times they were off the gate, and off the ground. However, ACARS has replaced most of these communications.

Airlines with a small presence at a given airport will frequently contract out ground handling services to another airline, FBO or ground handling services company. In these cases, an airline may use the frequency of the entity that is handling them at the airport. But just to keep things interesting, some airlines will contract out ramp handling but have their own customer service staff so they may have their own company frequency in this case.

On the ground, you may find airline ground operations in the 460.65-460.9 MHz range. Often, you can learn of flight delays, cancellations, or gate changes on the 460 frequencies before they are announced. These frequencies are not listed at AirNav.

You may find a list of frequencies for the ARINC En Route Service on ARINC's website. They are kept on charts in PDF format, which is linked here.

You can also find other air-related frequencies used around a major airport by doing a Geographic Search for the latitude/longitude of your airport. Go to:

  • FCC Geographic Search
  • Enter the Lat/Lon of the airport (from AirNav)
  • Enter radius of 1 Kilometer
  • Hit the search.

Identifying Aircraft vs. Frequency

All commercial and private aircraft in the United States use callsigns that start with the letter 'N'. However, the ‘N-number’ is normally not used over the air for commercial flights. Private pilots and air traffic controllers often just use the last two or three digits of the callsign and the aircraft type to save precious air time ("Cessna 23-Hotel"). Commercial aircraft generally use the flight number and company name as their callsign ("United 152"). This can be confusing, but FlightAware will give you a list of possible flights with every combination of those numbers. For instance, if you enter ComAir 5650 in the Flight #, or COM5650 in the Flight/Tail #, you should be able to see that it is really ComAir #50. This will give you departure/arrival airports, and tracking if still enroute.

CodeShare (Airline Partners)

Another confusing area is the Codeshare. It refers to a practice where a flight operated by an airline is jointly marketed as a flight for one or more other airlines. For example, Delta has feeder airline partners with Comair, Chautauqua, etc. So Delta DL456, operated by ComAir, might be COM456, or even COM56. Flight Stats shows both. However, this does not always relate to what you heard. There are many other similar tracking sites, and they don’t always show the exact same thing, so it is good to use more than one.

For Domestic
FlightAware
FBOweb
For international and worldwide
World Aeronautical Database

Google Earth 3D tracking

With Google Earth installed on your PC, you can not only track one or several flights, but you can “rotate” the view when a plane is near an airport and see it actually descending or climbing. This is really neat! Download Google Earth free. Then go to FBOWeb General Apps or FBOWeb Specific Flights

Enter airline flight info, and click on the “Track in 3D” button. It will “install” the specific flight as a layer on Google Earth, and will also track aircraft in the general vicinity.

Identifying Frequency vs. Airport

When searching or monitoring the airport specific frequencies, such as Aproach/Departure, Clearance Delivery, Tower, ATIS, etc you can usually find out what airport you are hearing by typing airnav freq state, into a Google search box.

I.E. airnav 128.7 Pennsylvania

You can also go directly to the AirNav website and type in an airport name or identifier (Boston or KBOS).

Notes

  1. 121.500 (guard) Is commonly used to get the attention of an aircraft that has gone to the wrong frequency, or a VFR (non-ATC controlled aircraft) that is about to fly into a restricted area, as all aircraft are supposed to monitor guard if they have an available radio. The "satellite monitoring" eliminated in 2009 refers only to the emergency locator beacons (ELT's) that activate on 121.5/243MHz after a crash to aid in search & rescue operations. ELT's will still transmit their distinctive alarm on 121.5/243, but will only be heard by overflying pilots (if they are listening) and ground searchers with Direction-Finding (DF) equipment. New ELT's, while not required by the FAA, also transmit in the 406.0-406.1 MHz band and can rely precise GPS coordinates of the downed aircraft. They also still transmit on 121.5 to alert other pilots, but the SARSAT system now only responds to 406MHz. 121.5 Guard continues to be used for voice communications, and remains the best and only way to get a hold on an aircraft not responding to other communications, or for a pilot to announce an emergency.
  2. Here is an Aviation Glossary that takes the mystery out of those abbreviations you hear.
  3. As with any service, there is a large number of specialized terms and phrases. See our Aviation Terminology article for more information
  4. Call Signs and Nicknames
  5. Here’s some additional but slightly outdated info:

Aviation Monitoring
Airline Frequencies




Return to Wiki page: Aircraft, Aviation Terminology
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