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Identifying Non-Directional Beacons (NDBs) in the Navigation Database

Identifying Non-Directional Beacons (NDBs) in the Navigation Database

People often have questions about identifying non-directional beacons (NDBs) in the navigation database.

NDB selection in the flight management system (FMS) has changed over the years. For example, in earlier versions of APEX and EPIC, to select the NDB (MTH), the pilot would need to enter MTHNB as the identifier. In the later versions of FMS software, the pilot would only need to enter MTH as the identifier.

An “NDB Navaid” may be any NDB or locator available in the enroute terminal NDB files in the database. NDBs are included in all databases. In some, they are converted to waypoints with the suffix NB.

Waypoints located at any NDB type of facility take on the official 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-character identifier of the facility in question.


Facility                                                  Fix Field Entry

Ft. Nelson NDB becomes                       YE

For systems employing the “NDB as waypoint” concept, waypoints located at NDBs are identified using the station identifier followed by the alpha characters “NB.”


Facility                                                  Fix Field Entry

Fort Nelson Can become                       YENB

Newark, NJ becomes                            EWRNB

Figure 1 – NDBs in navigation database and NDB on GULFSTREAM PLANEVIEW II

NDBs are mostly obsolete now. Some aircraft with legacy flight management computers (FMCs) cannot handle NDBs. On those systems they are converted to waypoints. Also, enroute NDBs are converted to enroute waypoints and airport NDBs to airport waypoints where the NDB frequency value is not in the range of 190 kHz to 1750 kHz inclusive. NDBs are generally used when specialized navigation equipment is not available on board or on the ground. Hence NDBs are often associated with non-precision approach procedures.

Aircraft / Flight  Management Systems                   Append 'NB'?

Legacy NZ (NZ4.x, 5.x, 6.x Software in NZ-2000/2010, IC-600, IC-800/810 hardware)

 Bombardier Global Express Yes
Challenger (600, 601) Yes 
Cessna  Citation V (Encore, Bravo, Excel, XLS) Yes
Citation X Yes
Dassault Falcon 50 Yes
 Falcon 900EX/C Yes
Dornier DO-328 (Jet and Turbo Prop) Yes
Embraer ERJ-145/Legacy 650 Yes
Gulfstream G-III, G-VI Yes
G-V Yes
Hawker H400 Yes
Lockheed L-382  
Classic Epic (NZ7.x)
Agusta/Leonardo AB-139 Yes
Cessna Sovereign Citation Sovereign Yes
Dassault Falcon 7X/900/2000 (EASy II) Yes
Embraer E1 (170/175/190/195 (Load 25.x and earlier)) Yes
Gulfstream G450/G550 Yes
Hawker H1000 (Horizon) Yes
APEX (Epic NZ7x)
Haig Y-12 Yes
Pilatus PC-12/24 No
Viking DHC-6 Twin Otter Yes
Next-Gen (NG1.x)
Dassault Falcon 6X/7X/8X (EASy III/IV) No
Embraer E1 (170/175/190/195 (Load 27.x)) No
E2 No
Gulfstream G500/G600/G700/G800 No
G650 No

Figure 2 – Table reflecting how the different Honeywell FMCs and databases handle NDBs

*Note that this list contains the major OEMs and relative FMS software and is not meant to be exhaustive or all-inclusive. There are some aircraft and variants that may not be listed. In general, if an NDB entry is not recognized in one format, try it with the other.

Sunaina Wanchoo

Technical Support Engineer - The Hub, supports Honeywell Flight Management System for Honeywell Aerospace Technical Support. 

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