KELPkid
Topic Author
Posts: 5247
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:33 am

Southwest Tail Numbers-Any Logic?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 6:07 am

Just wondering how WN comes up with tail numbers for new birds.

For some series (e.g. factory-new 737-3H4's), the scheme is obvious: N3**SW (provided, of course N3**SW was available...I do know, from my days as a GA lineboy, that any N-number ending in 'SW' is quite popular for a custom tail number! Don't know why...). Same goes for the 500 series 737's: N5**SW. 700 series: N7**SW. Then you get into the newest of the new birds and second-hand acquisitions-it starts getting strange...

N750SA? I'm taking it that SW was probably taken...maybe N750WN was taken as well.

Probably the strangest of them all (to me, anyways...) N674AA. Wonder why AA didn't raise an objection on that one  Wink (and yes, I do know that the FAA registry is first-come, first serve, except for all-numeric N-numbers less than 4 digits, reserved for FAA birds)

Be curious if anyone knows the answer...
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AA737-823
Posts: 4905
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 11:10 am

RE: Southwest Tail Numbers-Any Logic?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 6:17 am

Because AA sold them the aircraft.

Airlines are not obligated to reregister an airplane when it changed ownership, unless the new owner is based in a different country.

Further, the numbers Southwest uses DO make sense, if you this about it for a little while. The -700s were N7XXab. Then, they ran out of 700 number, so they went for N400ab. 7x2=14, that's my best guess as to where the 4 came from. Ah, but now they've run out of 400 numbers too, so they've gone to N2XXab. Good luck figuring that one out.

In the past, they have kept this sort of doubling nomenclature. The first 100 -300s had N3XXab, and then they doubled the 3 to get N6XXab.

That's all I know about that.
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OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Southwest Tail Numbers-Any Logic?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 6:31 am

In the beginning, the standard registration suffix SWA desired was "SW", but lo, there came a day when the "SW" suffix was not available for a particular number. The back-up plan was "WN", using Southwest's two-letter airline code. Though rare, sometimes both "SW" and "WN" were not available for a particular number, and "SA" (Southwest Airlines) was used.

There are some exceptions to the above general rule(s):

"AA" These -300s were formerly operated by AA (AA inherited them from the AirCal merger), and the aircraft lessor didn't want the registration numbers on our several "AA" aircraft changed. Some lessors will, some, won't. As another example, we picked-up 3 737-200s from Midway Airlines (v1.0), and they were N702ML, N721ML, and N722ML. The lessor for N702ML said "nyet" to the change, while the a different lessor for N721ML and N722ML said OK, and those two aircraft became N721WN and N722WN.

We have several single-use suffixes that are named after company officiers, such as "HK" for Herb, "CB" for Colleen, "JW" for Jim Wimberly, "GB" for Gary Barron, and "RR" for Ron Ricks. For maintenance, we also have "QC" for quality control, and "WR" and "JC" to honor a couple of PHX mechanics who died in a light airplane crash.

Number Ranges...

0-130, 702, 721, 722: Used to be used by the -200s, all retired. The 702, 721, and 722 numbers won't be re-used for the -700s.

The -300s started with (naturally) N300SW, and when we ran out of those, we used 600-series numbers.

The -500s run from 500-528, although there are only 25 in the fleet, i.e. a couple of numbers were skipped.

The -700s started (and filled-up) the 700-series, as did the 400-series, and we're up to N224WN (the just-delivered "Slam Dunk One) in the 200-series.

We also have numbers reserved in the 800-series and 900-series. After that, my guess is that we'd go to the 100-series, and then the 300-series and 500-series once those aircraft started retiring. N300SW is 21 years old now, so my guess is we'll start seeing those retire in 2006 or 2007.

[Edited 2005-11-04 22:33:32]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
visityyj
Posts: 380
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2000 7:23 am

RE: Southwest Tail Numbers-Any Logic?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:12 am

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 2):
We have several single-use suffixes that are named after company officiers, such as "HK" for Herb, "CB" for Colleen, "JW" for Jim Wimberly, "GB" for Gary Barron, and "RR" for Ron Ricks. For maintenance, we also have "QC" for quality control, and "WR" and "JC" to honor a couple of PHX mechanics who died in a light airplane crash.

So who is "MX" then ?  nosy  N797MX.
 
Tom in NO
Posts: 6725
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 1999 10:10 am

RE: Southwest Tail Numbers-Any Logic?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:26 am

Quoting Visityyj (Reply 3):
So who is "MX" then ? N797MX.

"MX" is an abbreviation for maintenance, so that could be the reason behind the "MX" suffix.

Tom at MSY
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Southwest Tail Numbers-Any Logic?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:29 am

Quoting Visityyj (Reply 3):
So who is "MX" then

I figured I'd miss at least one.. "MX" is for maintenance.... We may also have a "GK" for Gary kelly, but I can't recall. If we don't, I'm sure we'll get one, now that he's been promoted...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
scxmechanic
Posts: 479
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 1999 10:20 am

RE: Southwest Tail Numbers-Any Logic?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 10:33 am

OPNLguy,

Have you heard anything about the -300's being re-skined and operated for several more years? Some guys came back from DAL and said thats what was coming from Jim Sokel who stopped by one of the classes.

Also, any word on Autothrottle and Autobrake being activated?

I heard a while back that we were gonna start using Autobrake in other modes besides the RTO function.
 
SWAbubba
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2002 2:15 am

RE: Southwest Tail Numbers-Any Logic?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 11:25 am

I've heard the same rumor about re-skinning the -300's, but haven't heard anything specific.

Check airmen have been using the autobrakes for at least the last six months. The rest of us should start using them soon, they just changed the OPC software to reflect autobrake use.

I don't see autothrottles happening anytime soon, but you never know.
 
uniuniunium
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2005 12:38 pm

RE: Southwest Tail Numbers-Any Logic?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 11:42 am

I know the rationale for not using the A/T in WN's 737s, but I'd never heard that they didn't use Autobrakes either. Same reasoning behind both? Or did the -200s not have Autobrakes?
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Southwest Tail Numbers-Any Logic?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 1:14 pm

Quoting SCXmechanic (Reply 6):
Have you heard anything about the -300's being re-skined and operated for several more years?

Not that I've heard.. Check your PM...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
i530j
Posts: 230
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2005 9:17 am

RE: Southwest Tail Numbers-Any Logic?

Sat Nov 05, 2005 2:12 pm

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 2):
The -500s run from 500-528, although there are only 25 in the fleet, i.e. a couple of numbers were skipped.

why were some numbers skipped?
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