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ICAO Aerodrome Reference Code

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Definition

The ICAO Aerodrome Reference Code is a two part categorisation of aircraft types which simplifies the process of establishing whether a particular aircraft is able to use a particular aerodrome. It is included in ICAO Annex 14. It has two 'elements', the first is a numeric code based on the Reference Field Length for which there are four categories and the second is letter code based on a combination of aircraft wingspan and outer main gear wheel span.

Description

Element 1 of the Code is as follows:

Code number Aeroplane reference field length Typical aeroplane
1 < 800 m DE HAVILLAND CANADA DHC-6/PIPER PA-31
2 800 m but < 1200 m ATR42/BOMBARDIER Dash 8 Q300
3 1200 m but < 1800 m SAAB 340/BOMBARDIER Regional Jet CRJ-200
4 1800 m and above BOEING 737-700/AIRBUS A-320

Field length means the balanced field length (which is when the take-off distance required is equal to the accelerate-stop distance required) if applicable, or take-off distance in other cases. Aeroplane reference field length is defined as "the minimum field length required for take-off at maximum certificated take-off mass, at sea level, in ISA conditions in still air and with zero runway slope as documented in the AFM or equivalent document.

Element 2 of the Code is derived from the most restrictive of either the aircraft wingspan or the aircraft outer main gear wheel span. The categories are as follows:

Code letter Wingspan Outer main gear wheel span Typical aeroplane
A < 15 m < 4.5 m PIPER PA-31/CESSNA 404 Titan
B 15 m but < 24 m 4.5 m but < 6 m BOMBARDIER Regional Jet CRJ-200/DE HAVILLAND CANADA DHC-6
C 24 m but < 36 m 6 m but < 9 m BOEING 737-700/AIRBUS A-320/EMBRAER ERJ 190-100
D 36 m but < 52 m 9 m but < 14 m B767/AIRBUS A-310
E 52 m but < 65 m 9 m but < 14 m B777/B787 Series/A330
F 65 m but < 80 m 14 m but < 16 m BOEING 747-8/AIRBUS A-380-800

It should be noted that Element 2 is often used on its own since it has direct relevance to detailed airport design. It also has a parallel but differently defined code use by the FAA, the Airplane Design Group (ADG)

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Further Reading

  • ICAO Annex 14