FAA Changes Flight Plan Equipment Suffixes

 - October 28, 2013, 2:00 PM

Because air traffic controllers are increasingly making traffic separation decisions based upon an aircraft’s global navigation satellite system (GNSS) capability–or lack thereof–the FAA has begun updating aircraft equipment suffixes for traffic operating in U.S. domestic airspace. For instance, a GNSS-equipped aircraft may now fly a random route without the need for ATC radar monitoring, where previously radar was always required.

Updating of the suffix also addresses the ambiguity of the continued use of the phrase “advanced navigation” despite the 2008 requirement that U.S. operators use the ICAO flight plan form for performance-based navigation (PBN) routes. Specifically, the changes eliminate use of the suffixes /R, /Q, /E, /F, /J and /K. Operators who did use these suffixes are now expected to determine their correct suffix from the following:

• Rnav capability with GNSS and with RVSM: /L

• Rnav capability with GNSS and without RVSM: /G

• Rnav capability without GNSS and with RVSM: /Z

• and Rnav capability without GNSS and without RVSM: /I.

These suffixes work for domestic flight plans and aircraft with Rnav capability not requiring a PBN routing.