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Veigar
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How are aircraft registration chosen?

Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:25 pm

I tried the search feature, it didn't work. This may seem like a silly question but it seems to be random at times. Is it like a car registration where the FAA gives a random number unless the airline asks for a specific set? For instance, a lot of WN aircraft end in WN (previously SW), but quite a few ended in weird things like N777QC for instance, or AA maxes ending in "RA". Does the random variation have any meaning?
 
Cubsrule
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:46 pm

I'm not aware of a Part 121 operator in the US who uses a random system, and the rest really depends on the carrier. For WN, early 73Gs are generally N7XXSW, N2XXWN, N4XXWN., N5XXWN, or N9XXWN. Some but not all deviations from that model are people's initials (Herb Kelleher and Colleen Barrett were the first two.) Others (SA, LV) are just substitutes for when the "correct" suffix wasn't available.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
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MrHMSH
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:46 pm

In the UK, I think there's a degree of choice. BA's aircraft have registrations that are often a reference to the type. E.g. G-XLE* for the A380s (eXtra Large European), G-XWB* for the A350s (A350XWB), G-VII* for the 777s (VII the Latin for 7), G-TTN* for the A320neos (Three Twenty Neo) and more. VS use G-VXXX, and the remaining three letters are used to go with the aircraft's name, e.g. G-VSPY is called ''Miss Moneypenny'' (James Bond reference, G-VUFO was ''Lady Stardust'', G-VSXY was ''Beauty Queen'', G-VGEM is ''Diamond Girl.
 
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Veigar
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:56 pm

Cubsrule wrote:
I'm not aware of a Part 121 operator in the US who uses a random system, and the rest really depends on the carrier. For WN, early 73Gs are generally N7XXSW, N2XXWN, N4XXWN., N5XXWN, or N9XXWN. Some but not all deviations from that model are people's initials (Herb Kelleher and Colleen Barrett were the first two.) Others (SA, LV) are just substitutes for when the "correct" suffix wasn't available.


So are the AA maxes that end in RA in a same boat of "NN/AA" not being available?
 
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res77W
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:01 pm

Veigar wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
I'm not aware of a Part 121 operator in the US who uses a random system, and the rest really depends on the carrier. For WN, early 73Gs are generally N7XXSW, N2XXWN, N4XXWN., N5XXWN, or N9XXWN. Some but not all deviations from that model are people's initials (Herb Kelleher and Colleen Barrett were the first two.) Others (SA, LV) are just substitutes for when the "correct" suffix wasn't available.


So are the AA maxes that end in RA in a same boat of "NN/AA" not being available?


The AA Maxes correspond to their ship number. The 738s started as 3AA and ended at 3PW.

Later 738 deliveries and all Maxes use their ship number as their registration suffix. 3RA, RB and so on.

-Rowen
 
N965UW
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Wed Jan 27, 2021 5:56 pm

I can speak as to Atlas, which has fairly intuitive registration conventions:

- Most 744s are registered "N4xxMC" with "MC" being the initials of the company's founder, Michael Chowdry
- A good deal of the 767s and 777s are registered "N6xxGT" and "N7xxGT" respectively. All 747-8s are "N8xxGT." The 734s that were recently offloaded were "N3xxGT." "GT" is an abbreviation of Atlas' callsign "Giant."
- A handful of the 777s end in "SA" since they were inherited from Southern Air
- The Amazon 737s and 767s are "NxxxxA" with the "A" presumably standing for "Amazon." Compare with ATI which regs Amazon 767s as "NxxxAZ."
- There is a handful of odd 744s, such as "N4xxKZ" (Nippon Cargo birds), "N4xxPA" (Polar), and "N2xxSG" (former SonAir).

Cubsrule wrote:
I'm not aware of a Part 121 operator in the US who uses a random system, and the rest really depends on the carrier. For WN, early 73Gs are generally N7XXSW, N2XXWN, N4XXWN., N5XXWN, or N9XXWN. Some but not all deviations from that model are people's initials (Herb Kelleher and Colleen Barrett were the first two.) Others (SA, LV) are just substitutes for when the "correct" suffix wasn't available.


I think the CO/UA system of numerical regs is seemingly random. I know there's a thread on here where people say it's not random and there's a pattern to it. But for example, a lot of 772s have "N770xx" regs, but then they throw in something like "N27015" which bears no resemblance to any other 772 tail number. The 752s do seem to make sense, then we have the 737s which look like a mixed bag.

res77W wrote:
Veigar wrote:
So are the AA maxes that end in RA in a same boat of "NN/AA" not being available?


The AA Maxes correspond to their ship number. The 738s started as 3AA and ended at 3PW.

Later 738 deliveries and all Maxes use their ship number as their registration suffix. 3RA, RB and so on.

-Rowen


The system of AA ship numbers is also pretty wild but I guess it's necessary given the size of the fleet. It can seem confusing when you have an "N303RE" and "N303RG," both being MAX 8s.
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Polot
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:06 pm

In the US the operator chooses the registration, the FAA does not randomly give them out like with a license plate number. Basically every airline has their internal system for the numbers that make sense to them. Letters are often chosen for relation to the airline name but as airlines have gotten bigger (especially after the latest mergers) airlines have had to move to more random letter combinations to make things work in their internal structure.
 
Newark727
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:09 pm

N965UW wrote:
I think the CO/UA system of numerical regs is seemingly random. I know there's a thread on here where people say it's not random and there's a pattern to it. But for example, a lot of 772s have "N770xx" regs, but then they throw in something like "N27015" which bears no resemblance to any other 772 tail number. The 752s do seem to make sense, then we have the 737s which look like a mixed bag.


I think CO/UA only care about the last three digits, which make the corporate fleet number.
 
TUGMASTER
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:10 pm

N965UW, re : the CO/UA regs
The CO birds are the numerical ones, and UA , obviously , the UA ones... all preserver stuff.
Since merger, I believe that they’ve followed the CO ideal, just going for the numbers., but they will be in sequence...( last 3 digits anyway)
 
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DL752
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Wed Jan 27, 2021 7:23 pm

I had a similar question while reading the MAX Production threads and was given some great information:

DL752 wrote:
WoodysAeroimag wrote:
Based on my data and tracking, I have put together the following data on the 2020 Boeing #737MAX deliveries. Note: This is not official data or numbers from Boeing.
https://737-max.blogspot.com

Image


Thank You for all of the updates you bring Woody, I always look forward to seeing them. Do you have any information on the registrations AA and WN have been assigning their Max fleet? It seems like the suffixes are ever-changing. I know some registration patterns refer to fleet types but I have noticed a change in the pattern with Max deliveries. Instead of AA or AN I see them using SU, SL, SK, etc. as well as Southwest using single letters rather than WN or SW.

Happy New Year and safe flying to all,

DL752 :airplane:


RobK wrote:
DL752 wrote:
WoodysAeroimag wrote:
Based on my data and tracking, I have put together the following data on the 2020 Boeing #737MAX deliveries. Note: This is not official data or numbers from Boeing.
https://737-max.blogspot.com

Image


Thank You for all of the updates you bring Woody, I always look forward to seeing them. Do you have any information on the registrations AA and WN have been assigning their Max fleet? It seems like the suffixes are ever-changing. I know some registration patterns refer to fleet types but I have noticed a change in the pattern with Max deliveries. Instead of AA or AN I see them using SU, SL, SK, etc. as well as Southwest using single letters rather than WN or SW.

Happy New Year and safe flying to all,

DL752 :airplane:


AA Max fleet is 3RA through to 3WM reserved currently, ie. registrations are all N3[random number][random number][sequential fleet letter combo]. Currently up to 3SU.

WN Max fleet are 4 numbers, 72** range for B37M and 87** onwards range for B38M. End letter is random, although there is evidence that some suffix letters are preferred over others.


737max8 wrote:
WN MAX 8s are N87XX and soon to be N88XX.

As someone said, whenever the MAX 7s come online it will be N72XX.

Haven't figured out how the end letter is chosen, does seem more are used more than others (like J, L, M, Z, H, etc)


DL752 wrote:
RobK wrote:
DL752 wrote:

AA Max fleet is 3RA through to 3WM reserved currently, ie. registrations are all N3[random number][random number][sequential fleet letter combo]. Currently up to 3SU.

WN Max fleet are 4 numbers, 72** range for B37M and 87** onwards range for B38M. End letter is random, although there is evidence that some suffix letters are preferred over others.


737max8 wrote:
WN MAX 8s are N87XX and soon to be N88XX.

As someone said, whenever the MAX 7s come online it will be N72XX.

Haven't figured out how the end letter is chosen, does seem more are used more than others (like J, L, M, Z, H, etc)


Thank you both for the reply. It all makes sense once you crack the pattern! When working, I noticed little placards above 1L with the differentiating letters that placed the planes into airline-specific codes for specific fleet type or subfleet. I didn't know that it became this complex. Reminds me of these randomized registrations.

Looking at the Buzz registrations is satisfying! All in order and completing the alphabet as each plane is built.

DL752 :airplane:


737max8 wrote:
DL752 wrote:
RobK wrote:



Thank you both for the reply. It all makes sense once you crack the pattern! When working, I noticed little placards above 1L with the differentiating letters that placed the planes into airline-specific codes for specific fleet type or subfleet. I didn't know that it became this complex. Reminds me of these randomized registrations.

Looking at the Buzz registrations is satisfying! All in order and completing the alphabet as each plane is built.

DL752 :airplane:


WN changed when they started getting 800s and purchasing other airlines. Most of the 700s are NxxxWN or NxxxSW (plus some original ones that end in SA, or things like LV and MX/RR) and in order were the 700s, then 400s, then 200s, then 900s series. But the AirTran planes became N77xx and planes from other carriers became N78xx similar to the 800 numbering system. Some other carrier planes also use N5xxWN which I never found out why. Guess it was available after the other series ran out.

The 800s were N83xx (ETOPS) and N86xx and N85xx for non ETOPS with a "random" letter at the end. Except for one, that confuses everyone...N500WR for Will Roger's 500th delivery at WN.

The MAX 8 fleet will be the same as the 800s with one sequence being ETOPS and the other non ETOPS.

It's pretty fun stuff, once you know the WN numbering system you know exactly what A/C type it is from the tail number alone.


SXDFC wrote:
737max8 wrote:
WN MAX 8s are N87XX and soon to be N88XX.

As someone said, whenever the MAX 7s come online it will be N72XX.

Haven't figured out how the end letter is chosen, does seem more are used more than others (like J, L, M, Z, H, etc)


From what I understand all the N87** MAXs have provisions for ETOPS and will eventually be all ETOPS. After 8751, there will be no more N87** tail numbers. The N88** tail numbers will not have ETOPS provisions. I don’t know if the MAX7s will have ETOPS provisions.


DL752 :airplane:
 
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Horstroad
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:55 pm

UPS uses NxxxUP where the first of the three numbers gives information of the aircraft type

N1xxUP - A300
N2xxUP - MD11
N3xxUP - B767
N4xxUP - B757
N5xxUP - B744
N6xxUP - B748.



in Germany the first two letters are given. D for the land of registration, than a dash and the first letter after the dash is the aircraft class, for example

D-Oxxx - balloons
D-Exxx - one engine aircraft <2t MTOW
D-Lxxx - blimps
D-Axxx - all aircraft with a MTOW of more than 20t

The last three letters can be chosen.


LH chooses their registration by aircraft fleet

D-AIxx - Airbus (AI for Airbus Industries)
D-ABxx - Boeing aircraft
D-ACxx - CRJ fleet
D-AExx - Embraer
D-ALxx - Lufthansa Cargo (MD11 fleet is D-ALCx, B777F fleet is D-ALFx)


The third letter defines the aircraft even more

D-AIMx - A380
D-AIXx - A350
D-ABYx - B748
D-AIHx - A346
D-AIGx - A343
D-AIKx - A330 and so on.
 
CanadianNorth
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:11 am

In Canada as far as I know when you bring an aircraft onto the Canadian register or change a current Canadian registration Transport Canada will assign you a registration, but there is an option to request a specific one and as long as it's not already taken there's not really any reason for them to say no. Some operators like to put in requests to keep a theme going, others prefer to just take whatever is assigned and not worry about it.
HS-748, like a 747 but better!
 
nexrad19
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Sat Jan 30, 2021 9:41 am

Been lurking a.net for a decade now and I made an account just to comment on this, LOL. Commercial operators (AA, DL, ETC) have a methodical way of making up their registration numbers. However, from my first hand experience working at an airline, we would specifically choose a number. I worked at a small charter operating 737-800's so we got creative with it. For example, if someone was recognized as employee of the year, their birthdate would be the registration. Take March 24th, the registration would be something like N324CC (CC being the company initials). Other times, we had an office employee lose 122 pounds. We had an aircraft with N122CC as an example.
 
acmx
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:33 am

The us registered company I work for seems to focus on keeping the three number digits unique to each plane and also fall into a certain block of numbers that specify fleet type (eg: 900-999 are used for just 757s) . There is some variation on the last two letters of the registration and that might be due to availability of the desired three digit number. We use just those three numbers for most everything internally and ignore the rest of the registration. Like entering a write up in the computer we enter 614 to identify the plane. Planes are identified this way in all of our manuals and different systems and departments throughout flight ops.

I have worked for a company that was more random and just took whatever they could to keep the owners initials as the last two letters of the registration.

Basically registration can be assigned randomly or it can be very intentional selected, as long as the registration is available.
 
ytib
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Re: How are aircraft registration chosen?

Mon Feb 01, 2021 4:16 am

About 5 years ago Alaska Airlines had to change from AS to AK and did a blog post about their numbering, which is at a high level of how it works in the US.

https://blog.alaskaair.com/alaska-airli ... l-numbers/
318, 319, 320, 321, 332, 333, 388, 707, 717, 722, 732, 733, 734, 73Q, 735, 73G, 738, 7M8, 739, 752, 753, 742, 74L, 744, 762, 763, 772, 77L, 77W, 789, 142, CN1, CR2, CR7, DC8, DH2, DH8, D8Q, D10, D95, EM2, ER3, ER4, E70, 100, J31, M11, M83, M88, M90, SF3

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