Topic Author
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2000 4:35 am

Plane Numbers?

Thu Feb 24, 2000 4:36 am

I'm completely new to the hobby and, for now, I'm just looking over your shoulders at the great pictures that have been posted. My question is probably amazingly simple to the ol' hacks, but it's new to me. How do you get the N##### registration numbers and history for the particular planes? That's fascinated me. Thanks.
Posts: 1001
Joined: Sat Aug 07, 1999 1:11 am

RE: Plane Numbers?

Thu Feb 24, 2000 5:48 am

Good question. I know one part. The registration # is on the side on or near the fuselage i believe. Someone correct me if i'm wrong, because i'm not too sure, but the number is on the bottom of the plane somewhere. How they get information, i have no clue.

Hope that helped a little.

Posts: 399
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2001 11:59 pm

RE: Plane Numbers?

Thu Feb 24, 2000 8:40 am

Most serious photographers have Production list books these books have all the details of the aircrafts history and serial numbers plus line number there are 4 books available asnd very handy to have
Posts: 834
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 9:03 pm

RE: Plane Numbers?

Thu Feb 24, 2000 8:46 am


American_4275 is correct as where the aircraft's registration number is concerned. It is on the fuselage, near the tail.
If you're interested in investigating the aircraft's specifications and/or history, a few good sites are
- first of all, - it helps if you know the type of aircraft you're looking for, and it will have to be either Airbus, Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, or L-1011.
- secondly, is rather nice, although unfortunately, it's not very up to date. Nevertheless, it's a good starting point if all you have to go by for starters, are the airline and registration number.

I hope that helps a bit. I think these sites will provide you with plenty of fun, browsing through them for the time being.

Enjoy, and... welcome!

Best regards,

Posts: 6633
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 11:10 am

RE: Plane Numbers?

Thu Feb 24, 2000 9:24 am

Total airplane freaks/photographers like me have memorized the configuration of Reg#s on aircraft for certain airlines...

For example, I know that all United 777s are N20*UA or N7**UA, that if I seen an aircraft with G-CIV* its a BA 744, ...
Posts: 950
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 4:13 am

RE: Plane Numbers?

Sat Feb 26, 2000 2:47 am

In addition to the Internet, there are well known sources in print. The Putnam series of hardbound aircraft books are a good source for historical registration information for many aircraft. Many books in the Putnam series are devoted to a specific manufacturer, and show the registration number of the first commercial operator and the msn (manufacturer's serial number). Some books, such as Air-Britain's extroardinary volume on the DC-3 contain tables of registrations which enable the reader to see many of the registrations that a given msn has had over its service life. The previously-mentioned fleet listings are perhaps the most economical way to get current registration info on airliners as well as executive aircraft.
Allow me to digress a little. Should you remain an aviation hobbyist, you will often encounter the same aircraft in different color schemes or flown by successive operators as time goes by. Or, as in the 1960s, you may see an aircraft that has been stretched so much it is hard to believe it is the same plane-the DC-8 Super Series comes to mind. One of the primary reasons many aviation photographers try to include the registration number in their photos is that it ties the image to that specific aircraft's history. In 1/250 of a second, a photographer can have a permanent visual record of an aircraft at a specific point in time. He/she then knows what the paint scheme was, probably who operated it, and where. This is often done at the expense of the more artistic aspects of aviation photography. But as you see on, there are plenty of great shooters with artistic ability.
Welcome, and enjoy the hobby!
Posts: 1846
Joined: Thu Dec 23, 1999 10:51 pm

RE: Plane Numbers?

Sat Feb 26, 2000 7:22 am

A useful publication is Civil Aircraft Markings, an annual directory of most of the common (and some less common) aircraft seen in the UK. Includes a complete UK and Irish register but unfortunately no construction number info or aircraft histories.

Most of all, just enjoy it. There's nothing like getting the pics back and they've come out really well.

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