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Aircraft Type Designator

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Throughout SKYbrary, aircraft types are described by the ICAO Type Designator.

In principle, ICAO allocates an Aircraft Type Designator to all aircraft types heavier than ultra/micro light. These are published in ICAO Doc 8643: Aircraft Type Designators.

Note: The link above provides open access to a searchable and regularly updated online resource. The database contains over 10,000 entries and therefore opening the page might include some delay.

A designator consists of not more than four characters and is primarily intended for use in flight plans and associated air traffic services messages. Each designator is, in principle, to be derived from the manufacturer’s model number or model name or, from a common military type number. Only one designator is assigned per aircraft type - a different designator for a variant or subtype will only be allocated when a difference in a performance is significant for air traffic services, or when no shared designator can be assigned.

Special Designators

Model Type Designator
Aircraft type not (yet) assigned a designator ZZZZ
Airship SHIP
Balloon BALL
Glider GLID
Microlight aircraft ULAC
Microlight autogyro GYRO
Microlight helicopter UHEL
Sailplane GLID
Ultralight aircraft ULAC
Ultralight autogyro GYRO
Ultralight helicopter UHEL

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