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An equipment code describes the communication (COM), navigation (NAV), approach aids and surveillance transponder equipment on board an aircraft. These alphabetic codes are used on FAA and ICAO flight plan forms to aid air traffic services personnel in their handling of aircraft.
On the FAA domestic flight plan form (FAA Form 7233-1) the equipment code is a single character placed in block 3 (Aircraft Type / Special Equipment) as a suffix to the aircraft type code. A single letter is used to represent a radio navigational capability and transponder combination.
On the ICAO flight plan form (e.g. FAA Form 7233-4 based on the format specified by ICAO Doc 4444) one or more alphabetic codes are placed in box 10. Multiple letters are used to describe individual radio navigational capabilities and a single letter is used to designate the transponder. The FAA began requiring the ICAO format form for domestic flights desiring RNAV routes on 29 July 2008. The ICAO format has already been in use for all domestic flight plans in Canada, Mexico and many other countries for a number of years.