SXDFC From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 2745 posts, RR: 24 Posted (3 years 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3166 times:
For quite some time now, I have been somewhat curious as to the origin of the registration prefixes for planes around the world. For some countries such as Italy ( I ) , France ( F ), Germany ( D ), Great Britain ( G ), its somewhat simple to determine, however countries such as the USA ( N ), Portugal ( CS ), Mexico ( XA ), Colombia ( HK ) its somewhat difficult. Does anyone know how this was assigned?
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
HiJazzey From Saudi Arabia, joined Sep 2005, 905 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3166 times:
They're based on the ITU prefix for the country. It's quirks is down to it's age to a certain extent. For instance, Saudi Arabia's prefix (HZ) is short for Hijaz, a nation that was later absorbed into what's now known as Saudi Arabia.
BMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 16461 posts, RR: 27
Reply 4, posted (3 years 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3166 times:
Quoting Fabo (Reply 3): The US "N" used to stand for "normal" (category) at one time IIRC..
The N is for Navy. The registration prefixes were largely based on those used for radio callsigns. The US got the prefix N because the Navy was quick to embrace radio.
The US did used to use categories as part of the registration after the N. Commercial planes were registered NC, experimental got NX, and so on. They've not been officially used for many years, but sometimes appear on vintage planes.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
ITU Callsign Prefix for:
Portugal: CQ to CU... so CS is included.
Mexico: XA to XI, 4A to 4C and 6D to 6J.... so XA is included.
Colombia: HJ to HK and 5J to 5K... so HK is included.
Netherlands: PA to PI and PJ for Netherlands Antilles.... so PH is obviously included.
Belgium: ON to OT... and again, OO is included.
It's all in that link to the wiki page... *sigh*
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
CosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2267 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (3 years 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3165 times:
There is an explanation on the FAA website that covers it well. With out pasting the whole thing the US was given N & W to use and though some favored W in honor or Wright they stuck with N. Yes the navy was using N as a radio station ID so in a sense the a/c was a radio station. C following the N meant standard not commercial. Check out the site for a full explanation.
Kaiarahi From Canada, joined Jul 2009, 3373 posts, RR: 39
Reply 13, posted (3 years 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 3164 times:
Many of the prefixes are historical anomalies that reflect political realities at the time of the first international radio-telegraphic convention in 1912 and the limited number of countries that participated. For example, the V series was reserved for the British Empire (V=Victoria, even though she was no longer the monarch). This is why VO was assigned to the then Dominion of Newfoundland, but is now administered by Canada which otherwise has the prefixes CF-CK. Canada also retains VA-VG and VX-VY from its colonial days. VR was assigned to Hong Kong and is now administered by the PRC.
The U.S. was represented by the military and thus acquired A (Army) and N (Navy). When letters were required for civilian stations, the solution was to add morse dashes to the code for A and N - thus A ( . - ) became W ( . - - ) and N ( - . ) became K ( - . - ).
I don't know why the Netherlands was assigned PA-PI and its then colonies were assigned PJ (Antilles) and PK-PO (Indonesia), but something in Dutch history/politics will give you the answer.