ICAO Flight Plan Equipment Codes

Thywissen, John A. ICAO Flight Plan Equipment Codes. 2018 Jan 14 [revised 2019 Jul 26; cited 2019 Dec 07]. In: Fly with John Thywissen, CFI, CFII, IGI [Internet]. Austin (TX): John A. Thywissen; 2003– Available from: http://www.flyjohn.com/icao-flight-plan.html

The Equipment Type Suffix is Dead; Now What Do I File for a GA Aircraft?

We will say farewell to the FAA domestic flight plan and its single-letter equipment type suffix sometime in 2016 2017 2018 August 2019. The ICAO flight plan format has changed this to a much more detailed description of an aircraft’s capabilities.

Instead of trying to jam all of the information about an aircraft’s transponder, communication, and navigation equipment into a single letter, this is now broken into several lists of letters and numbers. This is a nice change; however, it’s a bit complex. I’ll try to guide you through it.

Equipment (Block 10)

The equipment block (block 10) of the ICAO form is a list of letters/numbers that describe your comm/nav equipment, a slash, and more letters/numbers that describe your transponder and ADS equipment.

For a basic airplane with VHF radios, VOR/ILS nav, and a mode C transponder, the equipment block would be simply “S/C”.

The AIM lists a whole slew of possibilities, but assuming your comm system is normal VHF, here is what is relevant to you.

In the tables below, I have stripped out codes for equipment that non-corporate GA aircraft usually don’t have. In particular, I’ve left out airline-style, military, satellite comm, obsolete, and rare equipment. I have also stripped out codes that require a FAA Letter of Authorization.

Comm

EquipmentCodeNote
VHF comm/navSThe standard comm radio (along with VOR and ILS nav system)
VHF comm (w/o VOR/ILS)VVHF comm, but without a VOR and ILS nav system
8.33 kHz commYUsed in Europe
HF commHUsed for ocean crossings

Nav

EquipmentCodeNote
VOR and ILS navSThe standard nav radio (along with a VHF comm)
ADFF(A real ADF box, not a GPS as a substitute)
DMED(A real DME box, not a GPS as a substitute)
GPS navGRAn IFR-approved GPS. Handhelds, iPads, and VFR-only GPSes don’t qualify. The “R” indicates more detail about the GPS is in a “PBN/” entry, described below.
LPV approachBA WAAS GPS that is approved for GPS approaches to LPV minima. LPV approaches display a glideslope, but the minima are a bit higher than ILS or GLS.
GLS approachA(GBAS Landing System) A future GPS-based approach type that’s better than an ILS. Used to be called a LAAS approach.

Transponder

Transponder and ADS codes go after the slash.

EquipmentCodeNote
Mode CCThe standard transponder
Mode AAAn old transponder without altitude reporting
Mode SSA new type of transponder that reduces garbled transponder replies. Transmits squawk code, altitude, and aircraft ID/callsign.
Mode S with extended squitterEMode S transponder with the “1090ES” type of ADS-B. Transmits lat/long, track, speed, and callsign.
Mode S with enhanced surveillanceHMode S transponder that transmits heading & speeds. Used in Europe.
Mode S with extended squitter and enhanced surveillanceLMode S transponder with both of the above.

ADS

Only if you have ADS, add one or two of these to the transponder code:

ADS-B Transceiver TypeADS-B Out onlyADS-B In and Out
1090ESB1B2
UATU1U2

Other (Block 18): PBN NAV SUR CODE

Ugh. This block has become a catch-all for a bunch of things, most of which don’t apply to GA, but clutters up the AIM for us. Here’s what you really care about.

“PBN/”: GPS

You will get better routing if you let ATC know what your GPS is approved for. Look in your POH, GPS Pilot’s Guide, or look up your GPS in the FAA’s GPS approval table, and add these PBN codes to block 18. If you add any PBN codes, add “R” to block 10.

GPS CapabilityCodeNote
RNAV 5B2Any IFR-approved GPS can do RNAV 5.
RNAV 2C2Training recommended per AC 90-100A ¶ 11
RNAV 1D2Training recommended per AC 90-100A ¶ 11
RNP 1O2Training recommended per AC 90-105A ¶ 8.4.3 & 8.4.4
RNAV (GPS) ApproachS1Training recommended per AC 90-105A ¶ 8.4.3 & 8.4.4
RNAV (GPS) Approach with Baro-VNAVS2Training recommended per AC 90-105A ¶ B.5

I left out all DME-DME RNAV equipment.

Remember, for GPS-based navigation:

“NAV/”: WAAS

If you add any NAV codes, add “Z” to block 10.

If your GPS uses WAAS, add NAV/SBAS to block 18.

GPS CapabilityCodeNote
WAASNAV/SBASAdd “Z” to block 10

“NAV/”: No RNAV SIDs, STARs, etc.

To control whether you get assigned RNAV SIDs, STARs, or routes, add “NAV/RNV” codes to block 10. Use “D1” to request RNAV SIDs, “A1” to request RNAV STARs, “E2” to request RNAV routes (T-routes and Q-routes). If you add any NAV codes, add “Z” to block 10.

RNAV SIDsRNAV STARsRNAV routesCode
nonoYESNAV/RNVE2
noYESYESNAV/RNVA1E2
YESYESnoNAV/RNVD1A1
YESYESYESNo NAV/RNV code needed
nononoNAV/RNVE99 RMK/PTP (Point-to-point en route RNAV only.)

“SUR/” and “CODE/”: ADS-B

If you have an FAA-approved (FAR 91.227) ADS-B out equipment, add this to block 18.

ADS-B Out TypeBlock 18
1090 ESSUR/260B CODE/A12345
UATSUR/282B CODE/A12345
BothSUR/260B 282B CODE/A12345

With ADS-B out, you need to add CODE/A12345 to block 18, where the A12345 is your “Mode S Code (hex)”. You can look up your Mode S code at the FAA Aircraft Registry Web site.

Examples

Here are a few common scenarios. Check your aircraft’s POH (probably the supplements chapter) and avionics’ pilot’s guides for your aircraft’s capabilities.

EquipmentBlock 10Block 18Notes
KLN 89B or 94 GPS + KX 155A Comm/Nav + KT 76C TransponderSGRZ/CPBN/B2C2S1 NAV/RNVE2The KLN 89B and 94 can’t do DPs and STARs
KLN 89B or 94 GPS + KX 155A Comm/Nav + ADF + KT 76C TransponderSFGRZ/CPBN/B2C2S1 NAV/RNVE2The KLN 89B and 94 can’t do DPs and STARs
KLN 89 GPS + KX 155A Comm/Nav + KT 76C TransponderS/CThe KLN 89 (different from the 89B) is a VFR-only GPS
GNS 430 or 530 GPS + KT 76C TransponderSGR/CPBN/B2C2D2O2S1
GNS 430W or 530W GPS + KT 76C TransponderSGBRZ/CPBN/B2C2D2O2S1 NAV/SBASThe 430/530W is a WAAS GPS
G1000 (without WAAS)SGR/LB1PBN/B2C2D2O2S1 SUR/260B CODE/A12345With GTX 33ES software version 6 or later
G1000 (with WAAS upgrade)SGBRZ/LB1PBN/B2C2D2O2S1 NAV/SBAS SUR/260B CODE/A12345With GTX 33ES software version 6 or later