The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today introduced a new method for allocating a unique number for every UK-Registered aircraft, known as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) 24 bit aircraft address. One of the primary uses of the address is the unique identification of an aircraft via its Mode S transponder. An ICAO 24 bit aircraft address will now be allocated to every UK-Registered aircraft regardless of whether the individual aircraft will ever be fitted with a Mode S transponder. The address is unique to a particular airframe for the period that the aircraft remains UK-Registered. If an aircraft is fitted with Mode S, then the address has a number of uses for air traffic control and other services such as airborne collision avoidance systems. If an aircraft is fitted with an emergency locator transmitter then this can also use the same address to identify the aircraft to search and rescue services.
Robert Ferris, Head of Aircraft Registration, said: "The move to auto-allocation of 24 bit idents is designed to improve our administrative process, and removes the need for aircraft owners to apply separately for an address." Currently, owners who require an address to be allocated must make a separate application to the CAA.
Under the new process, the address will be automatically allocated by the CAA’s Aircraft Registration Section as part of the existing registration application process. All those aircraft currently registered that do not have an address already will have one allocated en bloc. Details of the allocated addresses will then be available via the G-INFO UK Register database, thereby eliminating the need for individual requests for allocations to be made.
The system of automatically allocating ICAO 24 bit aircraft addresses to every registered aircraft is already in use in the USA, Canada and Switzerland.
Robert Ferris added: "The automatic allocation of idents is particularly useful for commercial operators such as airlines which have large fleets all with Mode S transponders."
Source: Civil Aviation Authority UK
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