Glossary

Radio

A radio is a device used by aircraft for the purpose of communication. In civil aviation (including jet charter travel), radio communication is essential to flight safety. This technology, which was first developed in the late 1800s, enables crewmembers to converse with the necessary personnel on the ground, including:

  • Air traffic controllers
  • Flight dispatchers
  • Other ground crew members

Additionally, radio communication allows pilots to correspond with other nearby aircraft in their vicinity. Should two aircraft travel too close to one another, they can use their radios to correct their course and avoid a collision.

Radios also allow pilots and air traffic controllers to relay information to assist in navigation.

The Use of Airbands for Civil Aviation

To ensure outside parties don’t interfere with aviation radio communication, most countries set aside a specific group of frequencies dedicated to civil aviation. These are known as airbands, and it is illegal for unauthorized individuals to use them.

To communicate with air traffic control (or another aircraft) during jet charter travel, pilots will dial into a specific radio frequency. By being on the same wavelength, both can send and receive transmissions.

Certain types of navigational aids, or navaids, utilize radio frequencies to help determine the location, heading and speed of aircraft. These include:

  • VOR beacons (VHF Omnidirectional Radio Range)
  • DME (Distance Measuring Equipment)

The Federal Aviation Administration is currently in the process of replacing radar-based radio communication technology to a satellite-based system (GPS).