Radio License

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This topic keeps coming up, and since I have my Ham Radio license, it was especially easy for me to take care of this, but to be clear, for international operations, the a Station License is still required. Here is the relevant ruling.

FCC Aircraft Stations


On October 25, 1996, the FCC released a Report and Order in WT Docket No. 96-82 (text) eliminating the individual licensing requirement for all aircraft, including scheduled air carriers, air taxis and general aviation aircraft operating domestically. This means that you do not need a license to operate a two-way VHF radio, radar, or emergency locator transmitter (ELT) aboard aircraft operating domestically. All other aircraft radio stations must be licensed by the FCC either individually or by fleet.

Aircraft operating domestically do not land in a foreign country or communicate via radio with foreign ground stations. Flying in international or foreign airspace is permitted, so long as the previous conditions are met. If you travel to a foreign destination, however, (e.g., Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands) a license is required.


The license term for a new or renewed grant is 10 years and a copy must be kept with the aircraft's station records. You may file for renewal beginning 90 days prior to the expiration date of your license. There is no grace period after your expiration date for renewals. Once the license expires you must apply for a new license.

Application Filing

FCC Form 605 is used by aircraft station applicants and licensees for new station applications, license modifications, application amendments, license renewals, license cancellations, application withdrawals, requests for duplicate licenses, and administrative updates to licenses.

There are two ways of filing an application. You can file your application electronically by using the Universal Licensing System (ULS). You may alternatively submit a paper FCC Form 605 (Main Form) and appropriate schedules, FCC Form 159 and fee (if applicable) by mail. See FCC Form 1070Y for appropriate fee information.

You may request forms by calling (800) 418-FORM (3676), download the form or call our Fax-on-demand system at (202) 418-0177 from the handset of a facsimile machine.

Don't forget to sign and date your application and include any applicable fees. If you fail to do so, the application will be dismissed.