Aircraft Communication Systems

Whether an aircraft is preparing to take off, is in cruise, or is about to land, pilots are regularly in communication with individuals outside of the aircraft for safer and efficient operations. While talking over the phone in an automobile is an illegal act that is quite dangerous, communication during aircraft operation is paramount as it allows for the pilot to safely conduct their operations without the risk of running into other aircraft or other hazardous situations as they communicate with air traffic control and others. From traditional radios to up and coming communication devices, there are numerous ways in which pilots can communicate with others.

For traditional communication equipment, pilots will often rely on radios which broadcast in either Very High Frequency (VHF) or High Frequency (HF) radio waves with the use of an antenna. In order to establish communication and switch between audio channels, many aircraft will feature audio systems. With such equipment, pilots are provided the means of switching the source of audio which their headphones are connected to. Additionally, these panels will also provide control over microphone selection, permitting increased management of communications for the benefit of varying processes. While the audio system of smaller aircraft may be more simplistic in design, larger airliners and business jets may have an audio amplifier or increased headphone and microphone control to communicate through separate radios.

VHF communication systems are widely used for when the pilot needs to maintain communication with individuals on the ground. Such systems utilize Line of Sight transmission which permits a range of approximately 30 miles while an aircraft is operating at 1,000 feet or upwards of 135 miles when the aircraft is at 10,000 feet. As the technology of ground-based radio stations has improved over the years, the radio frequency range of communication has been adjusted over time. As more channels have been developed, communication has been further separated to provide military and commercial operators with their own channels.

Another method of communication between air traffic control and pilots which may eventually replace traditional audio communication is the controller–pilot data link communications (CPDLC) system. With such equipment, air traffic controllers are able to communicate with pilots over a data link system. With more conventional radio systems, all pilots that a controller is handling will often be placed on the same frequency. As the aviation industry continues to expand, the amount of pilots needing to communicate with a single controller is also seeing a steady increase. These increases may eventually cause various problems over time such as one pilot overriding the other, making communication more time-consuming and difficult.

With the CPDLC, the flexibility of communication is increased as non-urgent messages can be sent and displayed on a flight deck screen rather than requiring traditional communication through a radio based microphone and headset. Additionally, the system can also be used for clearance requests and features a free text functionality to exchange information that may not be included in the basic formats provided. As CPDLC technology continues to be implemented across the globe, many major airlines have seen savings in frequency time as more communication is established through the system.

Through the use of the various aircraft communication systems available, pilots can ensure that they are able to work with air traffic control as well as communicate with others to guarantee safer flight operations. Aviation Sphere is a premier online distributor of aircraft parts, and we are your sourcing solution for top quality microphone, headphone, antenna, audio speaker, and audio transformer equipment for communications. To request a quote for items you are interested in, submit a completed RFQ form through our website and a dedicated account manager will reach out to you within 15 minutes to offer a personalized solution to your needs. Get started today and see how Aviation Sphere can fulfill all your operational requirements with ease.


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