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Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:18 am

Hello All:

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?
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HiJazzey
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:28 am

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.
 
BEG2IAH
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:57 am

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Fabo
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:08 am

The US "N" used to stand for "normal" (category) at one time IIRC..
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BMI727
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:13 am

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.
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mandala499
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:54 am

Those registration prefixes are based on ITU radio station prefixes... and it is used for radio callsigns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITU_prefix

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 4):
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, has the following ITU prefix allocations: AA through to AL, K, N, W.
(would be funny to see a United or Delta jet with registration prefix of AA- or AL-    )
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ptrjong
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:50 am

So why Portugal = CS, Mexico = XA, Colombia = HK, Netherlands = PH, Belgium = OO?
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mandala499
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:34 pm

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 6):
So why Portugal = CS, Mexico = XA, Colombia = HK, Netherlands = PH, Belgium = OO?

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*
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ptrjong
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:06 pm

I overlooked part of your post, sorry.

Still, the link doesn't tell me why the Netherlands was allocated PA-PI...

[Edited 2012-11-06 14:08:16]
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Viscount724
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:35 am

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 8):
Still, the link doesn't tell me why the Netherlands was allocated PA-PI...

KLM's blog has a good explanation of the origin of the Dutch PH registration.
http://blog.klm.com/the-origin-of-ph-registration/2596/
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:51 am

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.
 
David L
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:36 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 4):
They've not been officially used for many years, but sometimes appear on vintage planes.

... And on Federation starships.   
 
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ptrjong
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:19 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 9):

Thanks, that's an interesting read. But it still doesn't tell us why Holland was allocated radio call signs in the P range in the first place, along with Brazil.

P for Pays-Bas?

Or was P a spillover from the O, since five other smaller European nations - Austria, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Belgium and Denmark - are somehow in the O range?
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Kaiarahi
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RE: Origin Of Registration Prefixes

Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:05 pm

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.

[Edited 2012-11-08 10:08:32]
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