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Wireless sensor networks offer the potential of weight reduction, higher reliability and improved safety for aircraft support systems. However airframes, being an enclosed metal environment, can produce severe multipath effects. Thus to enable the development of high integrity systems, the physical layer constraints due to such environments must be understood. This paper presents results of a characterization of two common commercial aircraft at the 2.4 GHz ISM band. In addition, we present empirical results that show the effectiveness of diversity techniques to mitigate fading effects. Results are compared to predict using M-independent Rayleigh channel selection diversity.