airwave
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Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:52 am

I was looking at photographs of airports from the 1950s and 1960s and many of the commercial aircraft pictured have their registration number on one wing and the name of the carrier on the other. Both the top and the bottom portions of the wing would have the info.

Today, this is no longer done, so my question is why not? I know it seems a rather trivial detail, but if it was such a major compontent of aviation then, when did it fall out of practice and why?

Thanks for any information, y'all.


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kaddyuk
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:53 am

Quoting Airwave (Thread starter):
Today, this is no longer done, so my question is why not?

For british aircraft, it is a legal requirement to have the Registration of the aircraft on the underside of the wings...
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411A
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:19 am

Because it is no longer required by the FAA for US registered aircraft
 
Bobster2
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:23 am

Quoting Airwave (Thread starter):
registration number on one wing

The registration number was on both wings, top of right and bottom of left. Why did they change? That I don't know. I tried googling "right wing", "left wing" and "registration number" and all I got was a lot of junk about conspiracy theories. This is a case where Google is not your friend.  Smile
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flymatt2bermud
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:51 am

We operate a Bermuda registered aircraft which is subject to safety oversight surveillance by the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom who ensures compliance with international aviation safety standards of the Air Navigation (Overseas Territories) Order. It is a requirement that we display our registration number beneath the left wing of the aircraft as shown here.
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avt007
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:25 pm

In Canada, provided the registration on the fuselage is of a certain size, it is not required to paint it on the wings. My employers decided to go this route to save time and money.
 
airwave
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:07 pm

Quoting Kaddyuk (Reply 1):



Quoting FlyMatt2Bermud (Reply 4):



Quoting Avt007 (Reply 5):

Thanks for the info, the three of you!  bigthumbsup 

Quoting 411A (Reply 2):
Because it is no longer required by the FAA for US registered aircraft

...Okay...But *why* is it no longer required? *That's* the real question here. I mean, if other parts of the world still have this policy, what made the US differentiate?

Quoting Bobster2 (Reply 3):
I tried googling "right wing", "left wing" and "registration number" and all I got was a lot of junk about conspiracy theories. This is a case where Google is not your friend.

LOL!


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flymatt2bermud
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:10 pm

Quoting Airwave (Reply 6):
Okay...But *why* is it no longer required?

Good question. I hope someone has an idea, I refuse to guess.
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411A
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:58 pm

The US requirement for the registration number on the underside of one wing was dropped 'round about 1955 or so (before the FAA came into existance), and IIRC was filed as an exception to ICAO later on.
 
n8076u
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 2:07 pm

Here's a different twist on this topic: UA used to have some ex-Qantas 747-238s. Qantas had their registration letters on the bottom of the left wing, per the regs. UA painted the aircraft, including the wings when they got them. After several years, at least one of these aircraft had the paint fade and peel so badly under their left wing, that you could see the old registration. They continued to fly with this foreign registration clearly visible until retirement.  Wink

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BOE773
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 2:30 pm

The Canadian requirement for underwing lettering was dropped in the early 90s.
I discovered that when I had my own aircraft painted.
 
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ptrjong
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 3:25 pm

Quoting Airwave (Reply 6):
But *why* is it no longer required?

To answer this, it might help to know why it was ever required in the first place. Probably to aid identification of crashed aircraft from the air, or of aircraft that are being checked out by fighters or some reason. With better communications, visual identification became less important I suppose.

Peter 

PS It hasn't completely disappeared yet. I flew on this Indonesian airliner and it has its registration in big red lettering on top of the starboard wing.

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[Edited 2006-07-14 08:28:54]
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HAWK21M
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 4:19 pm

Out here Nationality & Registration marks with proper dimensions on wing & Fuselage are Mandatory.
regs
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NWOrientDC10
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:14 pm

BEA did with it's Siddeley Hawker Tridents.


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Photo © Clive Dyball



This a/c type is the only type I've seen with "painted" wings


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Photo © Alastair T. Gardiner - WorldAirImages



On a related note, TWA had a black stripe on its wings. I think it was to detect inflight icing or something.


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Good Day  Smile

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YYZYYT
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 1:25 am

Alitalia still does...


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is it because Italy still requires it?
 
Bobster2
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Sat Jul 15, 2006 7:39 am

I'm going to take a wild guess.  Smile Don't shoot me if I'm wrong.

Back in the early days the painted numbers were there so people on the ground could identify planes flying overhead, especially if they were doing something illegal. If you spotted somebody flying in a dangerous manner you could report them. In the early days there was little need for air to air identification because the number of planes was small and a pilot was not likely to see other planes. Airports were small with few planes; if you needed to identify a plane parked on the ground you could walk up to it and look under the wing.

At some point airlines starting growing and airports began to have a lot of planes on the ground. At that point it was necessary for ground personnel, air traffic controllers, and others to identify many planes from a distance and having numbers on the tail or side of the fuselage became mandatory, because numbers on the wings are not visible enough to airport workers. Numbers on the side are still visible from above and below, so that function was not lost. All they did was improve visibility to the side.

It may be as simple as that. In the beginning bottom only was all they needed and nobody imagined airports with hundreds of airliners. When they needed more, they changed it. Just a wild and crazy guess.  Smile
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citationjet
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 5:40 am

Quoting NWOrientDC10 (Reply 13):
This a/c type is the only type I've seen with "painted" wings

Do you mean the aircraft types that you have seen, or that you know of?

Lots of aircraft have painted wings:
Blue:
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Red:
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Green:
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Photo © Gilberto Simon


Yellow:
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Photo © Peter de Groot


Multi-color:
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Photo © J Mena


Cartoon:
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Photo © Frank Zahorik


White:
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Photo © French Frogs AirSlides


Plus all Lufthansa aircraft wings are painted white.
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flyabunch
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 8:25 am

All of the JAL jets still have the wing numbers. I have seen them many times at LAX. Also if you look in the photos on A-net they are quite often in view.

Mike
 
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NWOrientDC10
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 9:14 am

Quoting CitationJet (Reply 16):
Do you mean the aircraft types that you have seen, or that you know of?

Both. Thx for the info and pics. I learned something today.  Smile

Good Day  Smile

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HAWK21M
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:13 pm

How Effective are those Paint Schemes after say a Hydraulic Leak  Smile
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oly720man
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RE: Lettering On Wings: Why Not Done Anymore?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:59 pm

This was discussed here....

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/tech_ops/read.main/153745

And I found this

http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory...85ed86256d9f006c1038/$FILE/1-6.pdf

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY
WASHINGTON, D.C.
Civil Air Regulations Amendment 1-6
Effective: July 25, 1963
Issued: July 18, 1963
[Reg. Docket No. 1864; Amdt. 1-6; Supp. 1]
PART 1-CERTIFICATION, IDENTIFICATION, AND MARKING OF AIRCRAFT AND RELATED PRODUCTS
Exceptions To Marking Requirements

which partway down says........


Currently effective §§ 1.102(a) and 1.103(a), which became effective on December 31, 1960, prescribe 12-inch identification marks, to be located either on the side of the fuselage, or on the vertical tail surfaces, for fixed-wing aircraft. Compliance with this provision introduces the anachronism that operators of antique aircraft find objectionable. In general, they wish to display, instead, the formerly prescribed 20-inch wing marks and 2-inch side fuselage or vertical tail surface marks.


The Agency adopted the 12-inch side identification marks as standard for fixed-wing aircraft as a means of decreasing the collision hazard associated with air-to-air identification of civil aircraft by U.S. Air Force interceptor aircraft engaged in national defense. In addition, the Agency’s air traffic controllers had advised that such marks aided in the control of air traffic by facilitating the identification of aircraft.


More recently the Agency has been informed by the U.S. Air Force North American Air Defense Command that it would have no objection to the deletion of the requirement for side fuselage or tail markings on antique aircraft which are operated at less than 180 knots TAS within the continental limits of the United States, except for the Florida area, but that it would object to granting similar relief, under similar conditions, for all nonantique aircraft. Relevant also is a new rule, recently adopted by the Agency as part of Amendment 60-24 effective December 26, 1961, which requires that aircraft operated to, from, or on an airport at which an airport traffic control tower is operated by the United States Government be capable of two-way radio communication with that control tower. With two-way communication available, control tower personnel now have little need to visually identify aircraft by means of its identification marks.


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