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"N" Registrations Question  
User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5065 posts, RR: 15
Posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3967 times:

What does it mean when there is a letter following the "N" in U.S. registrations, such as "X" or "C"? For example NC7407 or NX826LT? I discovered that if I search the FAA database using that number without the extra letter it usually comes up, so why is there an extra letter? These regs# are usually on old planes and warbirds. I also saw one with an "NL" but what does the "L" stand for?

bruce


Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8339 posts, RR: 23
Reply 1, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3884 times:

X is experimental, C is commercial... I know there's a few more. Mind you this is the old fashioned way of registering aircraft. The FAA no longer uses the suffixes, only a simple "N."


This Website Censors Me
User currently offlineColumba From Germany, joined Dec 2004, 7088 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3797 times:

I knew it once but I forgot : "What does the "N" stand for ?"


It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
User currently offlineJorge1812 From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 3149 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3740 times:

Quoting Columba (Reply 2):
I knew it once but I forgot : "What does the "N" stand for ?"

Something with North America IIRC?!?!?!?!

Georg.


User currently offlineFoxBravo From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 3005 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3724 times:

Quoting Columba (Reply 2):
I knew it once but I forgot : "What does the "N" stand for ?"

I believe it was originally for "Navy".



Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire
User currently offline727EMflyer From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 547 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3700 times:

Aircraft registration prefixes were discussed in detail a few months ago. Try a search. It might have been in Tech/Ops...

Anyway, the N prefix, reserved for aircraft registered in the U.S. as well as each other countty's prefix (in some cases one or two small countries will share prefixes) stem from the international radio call sign system. This is becuase no registration system really existed for aircraft in the early days, but several aircraft used maritime style radios and therefore had a call sign similar to a ship. Eventually radios became common place, and enough airplanes were buzzing around to warrant a registry. The radio system that was already in place was simply adopted world wide, with counties reserving blocks of radio call signs for aircraft. Even if an aircraft doesn't have a radio installed, its registration number is ready to take on the role of call sign should it ever get a radio.


User currently offlineJorge1812 From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 3149 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3669 times:

Were/are there more countries than the former GDR which had ***-*** (e.g.: DDR-ABA)?

Georg.


User currently offlinePilawt From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 101 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3643 times:

The 'N' in US aircraft registration probably goes back to a 1913 international convention that assigned radio call letters to various countries. The USA was assigned 'N', 'W' and part of 'K'. The entire 1913 list is here, and it's easy to see in this list the origin of today's aircraft registrations for many countries.

Eventually the "N" was adopted for certificated US civil aircraft registrations, and a letter immediately after the "N" was used to show what kind of certificate the airplane had -- "C", standard; "R", restricted; "L", limited; or "X", experimental.

Official use of the second letter was dropped in the late 1940s. Today the FAA allows certain aircraft to display "NC", "NR", "NL" or "NX" for historic purposes, but it is not part of the official registration. If a qualifying airplane is registered, for example, N83683, it may display it as "NC83683".

There are limitations to the use of the non-standard marks. In an Air Defense Identification Zone or Distant Early Warning Identification Zone, the airplane must have standard markings (temporary watercolors or stick-on letters are OK); and may not operate in foreign countries "unless that country consents to that operation." See FAR 45.22.

-- Pilawt


User currently offlinePetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3388 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3628 times:

Quoting Jorge1812 (Reply 6):
Were/are there more countries than the former GDR which had ***-*** (e.g.: DDR-ABA)?

Some of the smaller countries still have them. For instance Bermuda always has VP-B** and the Cayman Islands get VP-C**.

Rwanda has registration 9XR-**.



Attamottamotta!
User currently offlineRayPettit From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 608 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3562 times:

Quoting Petertenthije (Reply 8):
Some of the smaller countries still have them. For instance Bermuda always has VP-B** and the Cayman Islands get VP-C**.



Rwanda has registration 9XR-**.

Well, VP-, VQ- and VR- were allocated to the United Kingdom for use by its colonies and so on. Of course, very few of these exist now. The format cannot be compared with DDR of East Germany.

Incidentally, Bermuda used to be VR-B and Cayman Islands VR-C, but these are now VP-B and VP-C so freeing up VR completely, which I heard may have been re-assigned to China. Can anyone confirm or deny?


And Rwanda just has the hyphen in a different place, as the suffix is only two characters.

Still cannot think of a ***-*** format as used by East Germany for a short while.


User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5293 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3453 times:

I had heard, but was never sure, that N stood for "Non-millitary." So, if you saw a plane with a tail number that started with a numeral, it was a millitary aircraft. If it had the letter "N", it was a civilian or non-millitary aircraft.

Makes sense, but I don't know if this is true, or someone guessing and then passing the theory as fact.


User currently offlineRampkontroler From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 859 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3434 times:

Wow, there's a lot of interesting stuff here! I learned a few things reading this thread.  Smile

Quoting Jorge1812 (Reply 6):
Were/are there more countries than the former GDR which had ***-*** (e.g.: DDR-ABA)?

While this may not be exactly the kind of info you were looking for, I was always intrigued by the lengthy registrations of Panamanian aircraft. While they have the six letter combination, the latter are preceded by a four number registration. Some examples would be:

HP-1374CMP, of Copa Airlines,
HP-1261PVI, of Panavia Cargo Airlines,
and HP-1227AVL, of Aeroavias Las Americas.

I assume the HP designates Panama, then the numbers, and the rest seems to have something to do with the airline name. Anyone have any information on how this really works?


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21795 posts, RR: 55
Reply 12, posted (9 years 4 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3383 times:

Quoting Jorge1812 (Reply 6):
Were/are there more countries than the former GDR which had ***-*** (e.g.: DDR-ABA)?

The former Soviet Union used registrations with CCCP-*****, where the *s are all numbers.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6204 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3243 times:

The letter used on U.S. civil aircraft registrations "N" was the $1,000,000 question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? awhile back...


Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26704 posts, RR: 75
Reply 14, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3235 times:

Quoting Jorge1812 (Reply 3):
Quoting Columba (Reply 2):
I knew it once but I forgot : "What does the "N" stand for ?"

Something with North America IIRC?!?!?!?!

Nope. Canada is C, Mexico is XA, etc.

Quoting Jhooper (Reply 13):
The letter used on U.S. civil aircraft registrations "N" was the $1,000,000 question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Man, I wish I got on that show



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineJorge1812 From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 3149 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3107 times:

Quoting Jhooper (Reply 13):
The letter used on U.S. civil aircraft registrations "N" was the $1,000,000 question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? awhile back...

And what was their answer?

Georg.


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