VFR flight plan equipment[PDF]

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When filing a flightplan, aircraft operators are required to submit the list of equipment aboard their aircraft for declaring:
  • Navigation capabilities dedicated to ATC management
  • Regulatory equipment depending on flight type, flight rules
  • Type of advanced surveillance systems for airport and airspace infrastructures management

In addition to this equipment which is instrument-related, operators are required to report about the surveillance equipment aboard their aircraft, otherwise called transponders.

In this particular documentation, the following subjects will be dealt with:

  • Common general aviation equipment including descriptions and goals
  • Required equipment for VFR flights as per regulations
  • Methodology to establish present equipment in an aircraft based on several examples of VFR aircraft, more or less sophisticated

Common VFR flight equipment

Radio and Navigation

The table below states the radio and navigation equipment commonly found in VFR-dedicated aircraft.
Letter Description
D Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) is a transponder-based radio navigation technology that measures distance between the equipment on ground and an aircraft by timing the propagation delay of VHF or UHF radio signals.
F Automatic Direction Finder (ADF) is a radio-navigation instrument that automatically and continuously displays the relative bearing from the aircraft to a suitable radio station.
G Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). The term GNSS encompasses all the satellite navigation systems such as GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO.
L Instrument Landing System (ILS) is a ground-based instrument approach system that provides precision guidance to an aircraft approaching and landing on a runway.
N It shall be specified if no COM/NAV approach aid equipment for the route to be flown is carried, or the equipment is unserviceable.
O VHF Omni directional Range (VOR) is a type of radio navigation system for aircraft. The system relies on ground based transmitters which emit signals to a VOR receiver inside the aircraft. The navigation signal allows the aircraft receiving equipment to determine a magnetic bearing from the station to the aircraft.
R Performance Based Navigation (PBN) levels that can be met. It is used by ATC for clearance and routing purposes. The insertion of R in the field 10a requires PBN/ to be present in field 18. The PBN sub-field contains the RNAV and/or RNP certifications and operational approvals.
S It shall be specified if standard COM/NAV/approach aid equipment for the route to be flown is carried and serviceable. If the letter S is used, standard equipment is considered to be VHF RTF, VOR and ILS unless another combination is prescribed by the appropriate ATS authority.
V Very High Frequency (VHF) Radio Telephone (RTF). Radio equipment onboard the aircraft.
Y Very High Frequency (VHF) with 8.33 kHz spacing channel: it was decided in 1994 to introduce a further channel split from 25 kHz to 8.33 kHz.
Rule: Standard (S) equipment includes following equipment: VOR(O) + ILS(L) + VHF(V).
S equipment will replace LOV in the flight plan declaration; you may not declare LOV in combination with S. S equipment should be inserted as first letter in the flight plan equipment section.
Caution: this table is not dealing with versatile aircraft and IFR-dedicated instruments.

Transponder type

The table below states different transponder types commonly found in VFR-dedicated aircraft.
Letter Description
A Transponder - Mode A (4 digits - 4096 codes)
C Transponder - Mode A (4 digits - 4096 codes) and Mode C
N It indicates that no surveillance equipment for the route to be flown is carried or the equipment is unserviceable.
P Transponder Mode S, including pressure-altitude, but no aircraft identification capability.
S Transponder Mode S, including both pressure-altitude and aircraft identification capability.
X Transponder Mode S, with neither pressure-altitude nor aircraft identification capability.
Mode S: Whilst traditional Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) stations interrogate all aircraft within their range, Mode S (Select) establishes selective and addressed interrogations with aircraft within its coverage. Such selective interrogation improves the quality and integrity of the detection, identification and altitude reporting.

IVAO pilot interface Software Default Equipment

By default, the IVAO Pilot Interface provides equipment that may be included automatically in your flight plan, independently of your cockpit instruments.

The IVAO Pilot interface provides:
  • VHF receiver (2 channel) = letter V in the flight plan equipment section
  • VHF receiver is compatible 8.33kHz frequency spacing = letter Y in the flight plan equipment section
  • Mode S transponder = letter S in the flight plan transponder section (compatible with mode C)
Due to IVAO pilot interface use, you shall at least include the following equipment in your flight plan : VY/S (or VY/C)
As IVAO simulates no-altitude-reporting transponders (acceptable only in non-controlled areas), you can modify your equipment to: VY/A (but it is not recommended to do so).
The IVAO pilot interface is not capable to simulate the following configuration using the letters: N, X, or P. Please do not use them.

VFR-Flight Regulatory Equipment

Radio and Navigation

Radio requirement (V)

Any VFR flights operating in controlled airspaces must carry at least a VHF radio.
Radio is not mandatory in class E airspace but highly recommended.
Thanks to the IVAO pilot interface, you are always equipped with VHF radio and you must always include equipment V in your flight plan.

8.33kHz Frequency Spacing (Y)

The 8.33kHz frequency spacing equipment is currently required above FL195 in some countries or in certain airspaces.
As the airspaces are crowded with aircraft, the need to switch to airspaces using 8.33kHz frequency spacing is increasing; this equipment becomes more and more mandatory!
Thanks to the IVAO pilot interface, you are always equipped with 8.33 kHz VHF frequency spacing radio and you must always include equipment Y in your flight plan.

Transponder requirement (/C, /S)

Any VFR flights operating in controlled airspaces must carry now at least a type C transponder. Thanks to the IVAO pilot interface, you are always equipped with a type S transponder; pilots shall fill the letter S in the transponder section of the flight plan (letter C is acceptable in IVAO).
Aircraft with lower standards (transponder A) shall not plan their flight through controlled airspaces.

Performance Based Navigation (R)

Although VFR-flying aircraft usually rely on visual aids and/or conventional means of navigation such as VOR or NDB, some countries require basic RNAV capabilities at flight levels that may be used by VFR flights.

This basic RNAV capability is usually to carry a basic GPS onboard:

  • Performance Based Navigation (PBN) is required = letter R
  • Basic GPS carried = letter G
  • PBN equipment requires a complementary remark in field 18 of flight plan = for Basic GNSS (i.e. GPS) text to insert is PBN/B2.

There is not a common flight level. Each country has defined its own limiting flight level. The following table will provide regulations for several countries in Europe:

Country PBN is required above Country PBN is required above
Austria FL95 Italy FL95
Belgium FL95 Netherlands FL95
France FL115 Spain FL150
Germany FL95 Switzerland FL100
Ireland FL95 UK GND

At IVAO, if you do not know the PBN regulation applicable to VFR flights, you can consider that above FL95, the PBN is required.



The simplest way to determine aircraft equipment is simply to list them by looking at the cockpit.
Transponder type cannot be determined visually unless you can identify a specific model. Nowadays, average general aviation airplanes are equipped with type C or S transponder.
For every flight at IVAO, you should consider that when using IVAO pilot interface, as a pilot, you will carry automatically portable 8.33kHz VHF radio (VY) and portable mode S transponder (/S).


VFR flights do not require many regulatory types of equipment. Usually, these aircraft are fitted with few equipment and it is easy to determine them rapidly. It then takes a few minutes only to file a flight plan stating the correct equipment.

See also


  • None


  • VID 150259 - Creation
  • VID 450012 - Wiki Integration


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  • This documentation is copyrighted as part of the intellectual property of the International Virtual Aviation Organisation.


  • The content of this documentation is intended for aviation simulation only and must not be used for real aviation operations.