I am not a pilot, but at my company we are trying to figure out what FCC licenses we need to use to talk to our pilot when we are on the ground and they are flying. My research has led me to mixed answers and I am trying to see the proper way to go about this. I am trying to get my amateur radio license. Will this suffice? Can we register as a ground station to use the radios as well? Here is the link for the ground station information: https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-divisions/mobility-division/aviation-radio-services/ground-stations

Thanks for all the help

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    $\begingroup$ What country are you in? In my jurisdiction you need an air band licence and can then transmit from the air or ground; it’s assumed you know the protocols and won’t use airband for chit-chat $\endgroup$
    – Frog
    Jul 21, 2022 at 8:47
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site. From what distance would you be needing to reach your pilot? $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Jul 21, 2022 at 9:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Frog, Max used the Tag faa-regulations which implies USA (although a more appropriate tag may be fcc-regulations). $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Jul 21, 2022 at 13:48

2 Answers 2


The license you are looking for is a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's License. It authorizes you to use a radio on aircraft, as well as ground stations on the air band. Pilots don't need it unless they plan to fly internationally, there's no test and you only have to apply once, so it's not a bad idea to get one anyway.

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    $\begingroup$ That covers the operator. You also need a radio station license to cover the base station radio. The radios in aircraft used to require them as well but the requirement was deleted 20+ years ago as being redundant to the FAA registration of the aircraft, as the registration number is the default call sign for the station. If you're operating a ground station, the FCC wants to know where it is. $\endgroup$
    – Gerry
    Aug 5, 2022 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ You are correct, but since he only asked what license was needed to transmit I left out the need for the base station license. $\endgroup$ Aug 5, 2022 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ Abd to clarify something else you mentioned... No, an Amateur Radio license does not replace or supersede a radio operator's license. $\endgroup$
    – Max R
    Aug 7, 2022 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ It's not free. It's $70 $\endgroup$
    – fjch1997
    Jun 9, 2023 at 6:06
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    $\begingroup$ Do you need a base station license to transmit from the base station? Because if so then including this in your answer would make it complete. Yes, the singular word “license” was asked about, but c’mon! $\endgroup$ Jun 9, 2023 at 14:44

You will need two licenses:

  • For you, you will need a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's License. It authorizes you to use a radio on aircraft if you fly outside the USA, as well as ground stations on the air band. (Not required as a pilot in the USA)

  • For the radio itself you will need a Ground Station License per the link you added to your question.


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