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Northwest's "us" Registration Suffix  
User currently offlineNewark727 From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 1341 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 5919 times:

Is there any story behind Northwest's use of the letters "US" in its registrations for a lot of its aircraft? I know from other threads that registration suffixes for American codes are fairly arbitrary but they seem to have stuck with these pretty consistently and I was wondering if there was a reason why.

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePHLBOS From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7519 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 5539 times:

Guess on my part, many of those NW's reg. # that have/had a US suffix likely predated AL becoming US (in Sept. of 1979). NW's reasoning for choosing a US suffix over the more familiar (to them) NW might have been due to numeric combinations bearing the latter may have either already existed (either w/them or another carrier or plane) or could not have been given/processed w/the leasing company at the time.

Reg. numbers to planes are kind of like license plate numbers are to cars. Sometimes, certain number/letter combinations are NOT always available when needed.



"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
User currently offlineDL_Mech From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 1937 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 5404 times:

From a 10+ year old archived thread:

AL changed it's 2 letter code to US in 1989. It used to be the the designator for "Military Charter", who then changed their code to MC. Northwest never had the designator US. Although some of their aircraft registration #'s do reflect this.

US used to be the code for MAC (Military Airlift Command). When Transtar Airlines (formerly called Muse Air-MC) was shutdown by WN the code MC became available and MAC was willing to change their code to MC.That is how USAir (AL then from their AlleghenyAir days) got the code US.



This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
User currently offlineexFWAOONW From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 404 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 5183 times:

I always heard it was NW's desire to be named US flag carrier and this was a back-handed way of getting it. The fact that former RC CEO S Wolfe was at USair and wasn't able to buy A/C at the time and NW could and take his "US" registration numbers away from him had nothing to do with it.   


Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
User currently offlinePHLBOS From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7519 posts, RR: 24
Reply 4, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 5085 times:

Quoting DL_Mech (Reply 2):
AL changed it's 2 letter code to US in 1989.

 
 Wow! Really! Why the 10-year delay?



"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
User currently offlineBN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5613 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 5015 times:

Quoting Newark727 (Thread starter):
Is there any story behind Northwest's use of the letters "US" in its registrations for a lot of its aircraft?

None of the above replies accurately addresses the question...

...this reply seems to be the closest to some kind of answer or guess...

Quoting exFWAOONW (Reply 3):
I always heard it was NW's desire to be named US flag carrier and this was a back-handed way of getting it

Because before all this US/AL talk... Northwest Orient took delivery of it's 1st 747 N601US in 1971. There was no Steve Wolf or US Airways... US was still Allegheny Airlines back then...

...so the question remains. My guess would be more aligned with exFWAOONW's reply, I thought as a kid Northwest Orient was an Asian or Japanese airline (the gong on the radio commercials added to it) I wasn't alone, as I asked around no one could answer if they were or not (non AV peeps of course)...so the 'US' suffix may have been designated for that purpose. Then Northwest Orient start putting the US flag atop the tails, '74, 75 or so?

BN747



"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
User currently offlineUSPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4915 times:

Quoting DL_Mech (Reply 2):

Actually it was October 1, 1988. One of my teachers from travel school knew the guy involved with the code change. The rest of the story is true.



It's a Great Day for Hockey!
User currently offlineBOACCunard From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 864 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 4850 times:

Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 4):
Really! Why the 10-year delay?

Er, if you read the rest of the post you'd have seen this  :

Quoting DL_Mech (Reply 2):
US used to be the code for MAC (Military Airlift Command). When Transtar Airlines (formerly called Muse Air-MC) was shutdown by WN the code MC became available and MAC was willing to change their code to MC.That is how USAir (AL then from their AlleghenyAir days) got the code US.

I have read that AA also coveted the code US (maybe even when AL was still called Allegheny). Mind you, I think AA is about as good as it gets as far as two-letter codes go.



Getting There is Half the Fun!
User currently offlineburnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7539 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 4758 times:

The US code was because it was Donald Nyrop that wanted to eventually change the Northwest name to US Airlines. It's in the NW history books, and thats why there were several planes with the US in the beginning.


"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlinePHLBOS From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7519 posts, RR: 24
Reply 9, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 4718 times:

Quoting BOACCunard (Reply 7):
if you read the rest of the post

Fair enough... my bad.

Quoting BOACCunard (Reply 7):
I have read that AA also coveted the code US (maybe even when AL was still called Allegheny). Mind you, I think AA is about as good as it gets as far as two-letter codes go.

One has to wonder if the reasoning behind that short-lived proposal was due to many outside of the aviation industry thinking of AA as being Alcoholics Anonymous rather than for American Airlines.   

Quoting burnsie28 (Reply 8):
The US code was because it was Donald Nyrop that wanted to eventually change the Northwest name to US Airlines. It's in the NW history books, and thats why there were several planes with the US in the beginning.

Very interesting. I had a hunch of that possibility but wasn't 100% sure.



"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
User currently offlineBN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5613 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 4695 times:

These last few post are way off the subject at hand. The OP wants to know why and where did the idea crop up for Northwest to 'end' their registered aircraft with 'US'..not what an airline's two-letter ICAO/IATA code is or where it began.


Newark727, I don't think you're ever gonna get an answer the way this thread is heading...

BN747



"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25170 posts, RR: 22
Reply 11, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 4517 times:

Quoting exFWAOONW (Reply 3):
I always heard it was NW's desire to be named US flag carrier and this was a back-handed way of getting it.

The term "flag carrier" is basically meaningless (any carrier with international service is a flag carrier), but NW was of course one of the two US "flag carriers" (along with Pan Am) on transpacific routes for several decades.


User currently offlineflyPBA From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 431 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 4141 times:

Quoting BN747 (Reply 10):
These last few post are way off the subject at hand. The OP wants to know why and where did the idea crop up for Northwest to 'end' their registered aircraft with 'US'..not what an airline's two-letter ICAO/IATA code is or where it began.

because aircraft registration numbers have absolutely NOTHING to do with airline's two-character IATA designator code


User currently offlineBN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5613 posts, RR: 51
Reply 13, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4105 times:

Quoting flyPBA (Reply 12):
because aircraft registration numbers have absolutely NOTHING to do with airline's two-character IATA designator code

Who said they did? Read it again... the wants to know (again) .. how did NW decide on or end up with the 'US' suffix on there ship regs.

BN747



"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
User currently offlinemaxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1090 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4045 times:

I think the Lockheed L-188 Electra was the first to use the US suffix on the tail number, back in 1959.

Russ Farris


User currently offlineexFWAOONW From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 404 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3849 times:

Quoting burnsie28 (Reply 8):
The US code was because it was Donald Nyrop that wanted to eventually change the Northwest name to US Airlines. It's in the NW history books, and thats why there were several planes with the US in the beginning.

For all the stories about Nyrop I heard while working there (unfortunately none were very flattering), I never heard that one. Maybe I should read the book.

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 11):
The term "flag carrier" is basically meaningless (any carrier with international service is a flag carrier), but NW was of course one of the two US "flag carriers" (along with Pan Am) on transpacific routes for several decades.

Bad choice of words on my part. I should have said, "NW wanted to be thought of as a flag carrier. As in a marketing endevour, not something official.

[Edited 2011-04-22 09:40:32]


Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
User currently offlinem404 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 2226 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3549 times:
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Burnsie - What's the name of the book. I've collected several and would like to look it up. Working the line I've heard so many storys I'd like to find the truth.


Less sarcasm and more thought equal better understanding
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25170 posts, RR: 22
Reply 17, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3408 times:

Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 14):
I think the Lockheed L-188 Electra was the first to use the US suffix on the tail number, back in 1959.

Right. NW's first L-188, N121US (photo below) was the first to use "US".


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mel Lawrence



Sadly, it crashed in Indiana In March 1960 (on a MSP-MDW-MIA flight), 10 months after delivery, when the right wing separated, killing all 63 aboard.
http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19600317-0

That was a few months after the similar Braniff L-188 crash in Texas, prompting redesign of the engine/wing mountings etc.


User currently offlinesparky35805 From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 283 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2990 times:
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The aicraft in the photo is N122US or N132US.N121US never had the red stripe on the nose.
Sparky


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25170 posts, RR: 22
Reply 19, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2949 times:

Quoting sparky35805 (Reply 18):
The aicraft in the photo is N122US or N132US.N121US never had the red stripe on the nose.

Then the photo identification must be wrong.

Just curious why would that be the only NW L-188 with a non-standard livery? I've checked other NW photos in the database with that livery, including DC-3s, DC-4s, DC-6Bs, DC-7Cs, Boeing 377s, and DC-8s (many photos dated earlier than the L-188 photo) and they all seem to have that red stripe on the nose.


User currently offlineL1011 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1674 posts, RR: 9
Reply 20, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 2733 times:
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I flew on an Air Florida Electra with the registration N138US. It was later changed to N24AF. It still had a Northwest interior.

Bob Bradley
Colonial Heights, VA



Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
User currently offlinemaxpower1954 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 1090 posts, RR: 7
Reply 21, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 2634 times:

Cool 1959 Lockheed promo film about the Electra, link below. Inflight shots by manufacturers usually are taken of the first delivery for an airline, in this case N121US. Check it out at 2:29 into the film. Russ Farris

http://www.airlinetv.net/view_video.php?viewkey=bcbeece3d9128ae855a7


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25170 posts, RR: 22
Reply 22, posted (3 years 4 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2371 times:

Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 21):
Cool 1959 Lockheed promo film about the Electra, link below. Inflight shots by manufacturers usually are taken of the first delivery for an airline, in this case N121US. Check it out at 2:29 into the film. Russ Farris

Yes I've seen the equivalent Lockheed PR photo with that livery. I wonder if that may have been an early design that may have been changed to the standard livery before or soon after delivery?


User currently offlineBN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5613 posts, RR: 51
Reply 23, posted (3 years 4 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2330 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 22):
Yes I've seen the equivalent Lockheed PR photo with that livery. I wonder if that may have been an early design that may have been changed to the standard livery before or soon after delivery?

Viscount724, you are indeed a walking 'airline wikipedia'...a very treasured resource indeed. I'm impressed.


BN747



"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
User currently offlinesparky35805 From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 283 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (3 years 4 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2228 times:
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I have a black and white shot of the aicraft (121US) in service and it does not have the red stripe.
Sparky


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