Airports With Control Towers
Frequencies to Watch - When at a big airport, there might be 50 or 100 frequencies in use. That is too much to monitor. I recommend sticking with the Tower and Ground Control frequencies. Almost all aircraft visible to you will be on these frequencies.
Control Tower - directs takeoffs & landings. Controls all aircraft in sight, and on runways.
Ground Control - directs activity on taxiways and ramps
Approach/Departure - guides aircraft as they approach or depart the vicinity of the airport. There may be several frequencies, divided according to altitude, direction from the airport, etc. At really busy airports, you'll probably want to lock these out.
Clearance Delivery - used to tell pilots what routes have been approved for flight to their destination. Often simulcast with ground control. Like approach/departure, this freq is usually an annoyance at the busier airports.
Unicom - always 122.95 at airports with towers. This frequency is for the Fixed Base Operator, and most conversation is with private aircraft involving refuelling, cabs & motel reservations, etc.
ATIS (Automated Terminal Information System) - A continuous recording stating airport weather/visibility conditions, and runways currently in use. Multiply the stated runway number times 10, and you'll know in what direction the planes are taking off and landing.
FAA Flight Service Station - This is where pilots consult with the FAA on all sorts of things. Universally available on 122.200 and 255.400.
Click here to see a typical frequency sequence for a large airport.
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