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Help W/ Registration Of This KC-135

Wed Oct 13, 2004 2:01 am

Hi... this is my first time shooting a military aircraft and I'm having trouble verifying the registration number. Other KC-135 photos I see on have 6 digit registration in the form of XX-XXXX.

This one has 10268 painted on the vertical stabilizer so should it be X1-0268? And what is X in this case?

Here's my photo (no self plug intended):

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Photo © I. Gunawan

Anymore info about this particular airplane is appreciated (where it's based, year of built, etc).

Thanks in advance!

[Edited 2004-10-12 19:02:46]
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RE: Help W/ Registration Of This KC-135

Wed Oct 13, 2004 2:40 am

basing it off of when the KC-135s were built, it's probably 61-X0268. Here's the details:

c/n 18175, l/n 490, first flight September 14, 1961, delivered November 30, 1961 as KC-135A, cvtd to "Combat Lightning" relay AC late 60s, reskinn 10.79, reeng 04.09.90, 314thARS/940thARW/AFRC

Info from 707/KC-135 spreadsheet.
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RE: Help W/ Registration Of This KC-135

Wed Oct 13, 2004 2:41 am

USAF Tail #s are based on the fiscal year in which the airframe was purchased and typically look, officially, something like 53-4118. This example would be the 4,118 airframe purchased in fiscal year 1953.

Sometimes, like in your case, they drop off the leading number. When this happens knowing approx. when the airframe was built helps figure out the missing digit. In this case I know the KC135s were all built between FY1955 and FY1964, so it would be fair to say that the missing digit on your aircraft is a "6" or 61-0268. I'd guess it was delivered late in 1961 or early 1962.

This doesn't work all the time. C-130s have been in production so long it can be tougher, knowing if it's an "E" or an "H" model etc can help. Sometimes the tails numbers are contrived and don't follow in any particular sequence.The AF1 747s have contrived serials 82-8000 & 82-9000 to match the previous AF1s 62-6000 & 72-7000 which also had contrived serials. if you take out the leading digit and the "-" they become 26000, 27000, 28000, & 29000 and they all match up nice and pretty for the press.

C-17 tail #s for the most part, but not all, are contrived to match the production number, i.e. the 81st C-17 built has tail # that ends in "81"

Oh, and the 940th ARW is based out of McClellan ANGB in Sacramento.

edit: correct details

[Edited 2004-10-12 19:55:03]
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RE: Help W/ Registration Of This KC-135

Wed Oct 13, 2004 3:03 am

According to Baugher's database it fits squarely in the block.

61-0268 which is listed as a KC-135A-BN

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RE: Help W/ Registration Of This KC-135

Wed Oct 13, 2004 11:21 am

Just a quick check of the lists the 940th ARW as flying out of Beale. McClellan is now closed. They were at Mather when I was a navigator student in 1982. I am not sure if they moved to McClellan or went directly to Beale. I vaguely remember them being at McClellan.

Thanks for the airlinerlist link. It is now in my favorites for checking registrations.
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