Flight Navigation (Nav-Com)

Flight Navigation (Nav-Com)

Other flight guides on this site go deeper into navigation and communication radios, sometimes called nav-com. For now, be aware that sectional and other charts include radio aids to navigation and communication.

Aircraft navigation can require following one or more radio signals from where you are to where you want to be, though not always in a straight line. Your chart will tell you what those navigation radio station frequencies are so you can enter them in your plane's nav radio. The chart will also show you the location of those transmitters.

ATC Communications and Radio Basics | Talking to Air Traffic Control (Video)

Aircraft communication means talking by radio with control towers, air traffic services, and other pilots. Your plane will have communication radios for this task and all you'll need is the frequencies. Your charts and Airport/Facility Directory (AFD) will tell you what those frequencies are. Larger airports will have different radio frequencies for automatic terminal information service (ATIS), tower, ground (for taxiing), approach clearance (APC) and other communication stations. Fortunately, most modern aircraft have at least one radio with two channels: one for communication and one for standby to make switching to the second channel easier.

IMany airports without control towers use a common frequency, published on the chart, for any pilots in the area to communicate their intention with other pilots: "Ukiah traffic, experimental 6-8-1-7-Juliette, turning final for runway 1-5 Ukiah."

Wing Tips

Experienced instructors suggest that you spend as much time planning and reviewing your initial flights as you do flying them. You have many things to learn and most of them are much easier to learn on the ground than in the air.