How to Listen to Local Air Traffic Control

Written by ehow hobbies, games & toys editor
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Aviation enthusiasts may enjoy listening to local air traffic control in the same way that others enjoy listening to their favorite pop or talk radio stations. Whether you're an air buff or just live close to an airport and want to know what's happening at the facility, here are some easy ways to listen to local air traffic control.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Scanner
  • Aeronautical sectional chart

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  1. 1

    Purchase a scanner with an adequate frequency range to pick up your local air traffic control tower. Basic scanners should be able to pick up frequencies between 118.0 and 135.975 MHz. More expensive scanners have a broader range and better features.

  2. 2

    Obtain a listing of air traffic control frequencies for your area. There are websites that provide this information, or you can obtain a copy of your local aeronautical sectional chart from the airport or air enthusiast. You can find the control tower frequency listed on the chart next to the airport name and information under CT.

  3. 3

    Tune your scanner to the air traffic control tower frequency for your area of interest. You may also hear weather reports, pilots communicating with one another or emergency locater beacons.

  4. 4

    Listen online to a number of local air traffic control frequencies. Use a current version of iTunes or Windows Media Player for best sound quality.

Tips and warnings

  • You must program local police and fire department frequencies into a scanner before using it, even if you only listen to air traffic control.
  • If your radio has two-way capability, never break in on air traffic control. The penalties for interfering with the airways are severe.

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