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Bruce
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"N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 1:50 am

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
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N766UA
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:36 am

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."
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columba
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:55 am

I knew it once but I forgot : "What does the "N" stand for ?"
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jorge1812
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 5:54 am

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

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

Georg.
 
FoxBravo
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 6:00 am

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

I believe it was originally for "Navy".
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727EMflyer
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 6:21 am

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.
 
jorge1812
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 6:28 am

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

Georg.
 
Pilawt
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 7:05 am

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.

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petertenthije
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 7:13 am

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-**.
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RayPettit
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 8:52 am

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.
 
ckfred
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 1:35 pm

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.
 
rampkontroler
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:02 pm

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?
 
Mir
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:50 pm

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
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jhooper
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:14 am

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...
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N1120A
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:19 am

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
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jorge1812
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RE: "N" Registrations Question

Fri Jul 08, 2005 4:23 am

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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