Aircraft Type Designator

Aircraft Type Designator


An ICAO Aircraft Type Designator consists of not more than four characters and is used in flight plans and associated air traffic services messages. Each designator is, in principle, derived from the manufacturer’s product designation or from a commonly used military type number. Only one designator is assigned per aircraft type unless a variant has a difference in a performance that is potentially significant for air traffic services, or when no shared designator can be assigned for some other reason. Throughout SKYbrary, aircraft types / variants are identified using this designator. In principle, ICAO allocates a unique Aircraft Type Designator to all aircraft types /variants heavier than ultra/micro light.

Database Access

Current designators can be found at ICAO Doc 8643: Aircraft Type Designators where there is a searchable and regularly updated online database containing over 10,000 entries.

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

Related Articles


SKYbrary Partners:

Safety knowledge contributed by: