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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.

Making Changes During a License Term

If the "N" number of the aircraft changes due to an administrative change by the FAA or if you change licensee information (legal name, address, etc.) you must submit FCC Form 605 as an Administrative Update. There is no fee required for Administrative Update. No action is required when you add or replace a transmitter that operates in the same frequency band.

Assigning or Transferring an Aircraft Station License

Subject to the FCC's advance approval, you may assign an Aircraft Station License (as when you are selling the aircraft) or transfer control of an Aircraft Station License (as when there is a change in the ownership of the licensee or its parent company). To obtain the FCC's approval for the assignment or transfer of control, you must file FCC Form 603. There is no fee required. After the transaction is consummated, the assignee/transferee must file a notification of consummation using Schedule D of FCC Form 603. The notification of consummation must be filed within thirty (30) days of the actual consummation. (It must also be filed within six months after the FCC gives public notice of its consent to the application.)
As an alternative, the purchaser/new owner of the aircraft may file an application for a new Aircraft Station License using FCC Form 605. An application for a new Aircraft Station License requires the payment of a filing fee. The existing Aircraft Station License will cancel automatically when the application for a new Aircraft Station License requesting the same tail number is submitted.

Licensing a Fleet of Aircraft

Under certain conditions, two or more aircraft having a common owner or operator may be issued a fleet license for operation of all aircraft radio stations aboard the aircraft in the fleet. This allows an applicant to submit a single FCC Form 605 for multiple aircraft. The total fee due for the fleet license, however, is the fee due for a single license multiplied by the total number of aircraft in the fleet. You must retain a copy of the fleet license with the station records of each aircraft.

Common Filing Tasks

Licensees may be required to perform standard filing tasks after obtaining a license. These tasks may be performed using the Universal Licensing System (ULS). Standard tasks are:

Universal Licensing System
 Daily Transaction Files
 Online Filing
 License Search
 Application Search
Radio Service Codes
AC - Aircraft Stations

Fee and Mailing Instructions (pdf)
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