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This paper deals with a cognitive radio approach based on a noncooperative spectrum sensing technique for applications in a very-high-frequency (VHF) aeronautical communications system to detect idle VHF channels and allocate them to an additional overlay system or secondary users. In particular, the focus here is on a spectrum sensing technique belonging to the class of energy detectors based on the Welch windowed periodogram. The performance of the proposed detector is presented in terms of the missed detection probability of the primary user under different application conditions. The obtained results and resulting implementation complexity highlight better behavior of the proposed detector with respect to alternative schemes previously proposed in the literature on this subject.