There are two parts to getting an approval to transmit your voice using an aeronautical radio:

Remote pilot qualification

Other than in an emergency, it is illegal to make a voice transmission on an aeronautical radio frequency unless you hold a relevant certificate of competency - NZ Radiocommunications Regulations 2001(external link). Most commonly, this certification of operator competency is achieved by obtaining a Part 61 Pilot Licence, or a Part 65 Air Traffic Services Personnel Licence.

However, a bespoke radio training course can be arranged where the requirement to communicate on an aviation radio frequency is a condition of a Part 102 certificate, or authorisation to operate in controlled airspace. The requirements for this course must be discussed with the CAA Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Certification team or an Emerging Technologies Unit (ETU) Project Advisor before commencing any training and/or booking exams.

  • Part of this training will require you to pass the Aviation Language Proficiency Test(external link), and Private Pilot Licence (PPL) Flight Radiotelephony theory exam (see Appendix II of AC61-3 [PDF 1.6 MB] for syllabus).
  • Both exams can be arranged through the CAA examination contractor Aspeq(external link).
  • Practical training will only be arranged after successful completion of the Aviation Language Proficiency Test and PPL Flight Radiotelephony theory exam and in consultation with the Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Certification team.

Approved callsign

To comply with International Telecommunications Union Regulations,(external link) all aircraft radio transmissions worldwide must include an approved callsign.  Approval to use an aeronautical radio and the allocation of an appropriate callsign is managed through the Part 102 certification process. Some points to note:

  • In all cases, the callsign must be pre-fixed with the word 'Remote'.
  • The remaining part of the callsign must be unique and distinguishable to your operation.  The use of common aircraft types such as 'Phantom' or 'Mavic' will not be approved as these terms are too generic.
  • Your preferred callsign may not be available or suitable for approval.  Be prepared to suggest alternate call signs if your first choice can’t be accommodated.

 Ask us about drones

If you have any questions about this topic, use our contact form, or email