Aircraft telecommunications & navigation Systems

Aircraft telecommunications systems literally involve satellite communication i.e satcom, UMTS i.e universal mobile telecommunication system, bluetooth & W-LAN and radio communications which replaced GSM i.e global system for mobile is no longer used . TDMA i.e Time-division multiple access and CDMA i.e Code Division Multiple Access may also be included. Navigation systems involve VHF omni directional range i.e VOR, instrument landing system i.e ILS, distance measuring measuring equipment i.e DME, automatic direction finders ADF, Doppler Navigation system, inertial navigation system which most are explained in my cockpit explained article.

We’ll start with navigation sytems :-

Navigation Flight Rules

  1. VFR – Visual flight rule, it states that the pilot should operate an aircraft when the visibility is high. He/She can fly a plane based on ground and local landmarks & landscapes to maneuver his way across traffic
  2. IFR – instrumental flight rule, it states that the pilot should rely on flight instruments to conduct his/her maneuvers.

Navigation is important because when traveling in correct route u can avoid traffic, ensure u reach destination, u save fuel and time and moreover I’ll never find yourself flying in a country without transition rights. Proper navigation is co-ordinated with aircraft electrical systems , airport lighting systems , airport signs & airport markings.


There were various methods of navigation in the ancient times  like loran c, omega, decca navigator,magnetic compass and celetrial navigation which used a sextant but there were not accurate. Modern methods of navigation  are more precise and they include :-

  1. Air charts – they show beacons, routing, aerodromes, frequency at ATC. 
  2. Air traffic control (ATC), RADAR – This system works by detecting the presence, direction, distance & speed of other aircraft on air and on ground. The weather radar is located on the nose of the aircraft.
  3. Global positioning system (GPS), global navigation satellite system (GLONASS)- this work by giving bearings, speed, track, trip distance, distance to destination e.t.c. GLONASS is almost similar to GPS but works better at high altitudes.
  4. inertial navigation system(INS) – This is a method of navigation depending solely on inertial equipment i.e accelerometer & gyroscope.
  5. Radio beacons including tactical air navigation (TACAN),automatic direction finder (ADF),non-directional beacon (NDB), Very high frequency omnidirectional range (VOR), this emits directional radio signals 360 degrees around the station.The adf is talked about in my cockpit explained article while the lest are BELOW :-
  6. Visual navigation –The pilots prowess and experience analyzes and visually maneuver the navigational area at hand.

Telecommunication systems include antennas, satellites, UMTS i.e universal mobile telecommunication system, bluetooth & W-LAN and radio communications.

Types of Aviation Antenna

  1. Dipole antenna – its also known as hertz antenna, its a conductor length is precisely equal to wavelength of transmission frequency. Most dipole antennas in aviation are
    horizontally polarized.A common dipole antenna is the V-shaped.
  2. Marconi antenna –Marconi antenna is a one-fourth wave antenna which means it has one-fourth wavelength & are used in most aircraft VHF communications antennas.They are vertically polarized and have omni-directional field.
  3. Loop antenna – The length of loop antenna i.e antenna conductor is designed into a loop hence making it the 3rd most common antenna in aircraft’s. its good with adf navigation aids.


This means wireless local area network as explained in my computer network article.

Satellite communication i.e satcom

This relays & amplifies radio telecommunications signals via a transponder by creating a communication channel between the transmitter and receiver anywhere on earth. A transponder is explained better in my cockpit explained article.

Radio communications

First of all for one to operate a radio in aircraft he/she needs a license i.e a restricted radio telephone permit. i.e for the two-way radio communication capability. A station license is also required for aircrafts operating internationally.

The pilots and people in the ATC use morse code and secret phrases on radio for efficiency as found in pilot/controller glossary in AIM i.e aviation information manual.

Radio equipment used are vhf very high frequency radios as in electromagnetic spectrum frequency chart. In a case of radio malfunction,  the transmitter and receiver  might also not function properly. in this case the pilot should follow lost procedures as will be explained in a later article




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