Squawk Codes

Can someone please explain squawk codes to me? I know what they mean? But how do they work? And how are they used?


Basically squawk codes differentiate aircraft. Each aircraft has its own code which allows atc to tell who’s who and makes it easier on the atc’s lives by avoiding confussion. The squawk codes are assigned by atc when you are at the gate by clearance delivery and you put it in your transponder to to squawk that code to atc. Some airports have a system called asde-x radar which has all pilots keep their transponders on when they are on the ground (at big airports like lax, jfk etc.) to avoid confusion between aircraft and to make controlling easier.


MaxSez: @Padi3_14… A discrete transponder code (often called a squawk code) is assigned by air traffic controllers to uniquely identify an aircraft. This allows easy identification of aircraft on radar. Squawk codes are four-digit octal numbers; the dials on a transponder read from zero to seven. (Wiki)

(See also the “Transponder” Cite in Wiki… Google and Wiki are your friend, use them for tech questions. It’s a good thing)


I recommend checking this link out; there is a big table (code assignments) of squawk codes that explains when each one is used:

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@Maxmustang I did look up Squwak codes on wikipedia, and that’s where I printed out my list of what different squack codes mean.

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I printed it

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Ah nice. That’s a good start of understanding the concept.


@Padi3_14… Got it, the 4 number Squawk issued to aircraft are randomly machine numbers and do not duplicate. The code is tagged and displayed on ATC’s radar plot. A complete explanation of the ICAO airways control system is contained in the “Pilots Handbook”. Available for free at faa.gov. Max

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@Jake_Brimble. MaxSez. Now if I where working a TraCon or Center in the UK or EU I’d find this list useful. As a Pilot I’d never use it. I always rely on the man with the plan, the Controller. It is professional knowledge gained though,
It beg further research on why such a list exists and what’s it used for. Well Done Jake.


@Maxmustang I use this when looking on FlightRadar. I like seeing the defined title of each squawk. They only offer this page for the UK. Its very interesting, and we all rely on the man with the plan!

I know a bit about Transponder codes, but I can’t explain it really well.
Just remeber: Seven seven, go to heaven! (Spuawk code 7700)

MaxSez: I prefer 1200 (Flying VFR)

(7700= In Flight Emergency… 7500= Hijack in progress… the only 3 you have to remember when monitoring the ATC airwaves)

That’s e-xactly what I expected.

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@Jake_Brimble… Your the man Jack. Little things (trivia) can save your life someday. Knowledge is power. Max

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Squawk codes can mean different things depending on your locations. Here are the most important ones in France:

  • 7000: VFR flight, above the metropolitan soil.
  • 2000: VFR flight, above French oversea territories.
  • 7400: Air Force flight, the code is only used when there is a threat over the french territory.

Abnormal codes:

  • 7500: you’re being hijacked.
  • 7600: radio shutdown.
  • 7700: emergency. Can also be used when being intercepted by the french Air Force.
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Also when in controlled airspace a controller can ask you to squawk a certain number to identify you amongst all other traffic. EX. “N**VA squawk 0734” This is normally used to establish radar contact.

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