Years ago, I was working in the bush and we used portable radios on something like 154MHz. When it came time for pickup, we were able to talk to the helicopter pilot on that frequency. Since it's outside the air band, I'm wondering if it's normal for aircraft to have VHF radios installed to cover commercial (and maybe amateur) VHF bands.
No, is the short answer. Aircraft generally only carry radios covering the bands they require as standard - i.e., those covering aviation communications and navigation. I have an airband transceiver here and it can't physically be tuned that high. As far as I know, the ones in the planes I fly are identical.
I can't see any advantage in doing otherwise, as standard, as the vast majority of pilots are not licenced to talk on such bands.
In terms of citation, here's a popular general aviation radio, the BendixKing KX 165A
Communication Transceiver: 118.000 MHz to 13.975 MHz in 25 kHz increments, 118.0000 MHz to 136.9916 MHz in 8.33kHz increments (118.000 - 136.990 displayed per DO 186a and ED-23B) (8.33 kHz capable KX 165A only) Navigation Receiver: 118.00 MHz to 117~ .95 M
And, here's another:
Frequency Range: 118.000 to 136.992 MHz (8.33khz)
In Canada, its normal for utility helicopters to be equipped with "agile*" 2m commercial band radios to communicate with the ground, often on a clients Licenced commercial radio channel. almost all oil/gas, forestry work, and firefighting relies on air to ground communications, usually to people without an aviation radio licence
*agile refers to it being capable of changing frequency manually, normal commercial radios need to have pre-programmed channels and cannot change to un-programmed channels.