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What is an N-Number?

When you look at the tail of a military or commercial airplane or helicopter, you always see a series of letters and/or numbers. Did you know that for civil aviation, those are called N-numbers? So, what is that? To put it simply, an N-number is an alphanumeric string appearing on the side of all American commercial aircraft signifying its registration number, registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In 1919, at the International Air Navigation Convention, letters were designated for each country to use for aircraft registration. The United States was among 5 countries assigned a unique letter. Other countries share letters. The United Kingdom uses “G”, Germany uses “D”, France uses “F”, Canada uses “C”, and as mentioned, the USA uses “N”.
nnumber

The US chose “N” but did not require aircraft to use the letter until March 22, 1927, in the amendments to the Air Commerce Regulations. Aircraft used for air commerce were required to use the “N” designation. In 1949, all new American aircraft were required to register with the N number followed by the registration number. N-numbers were originally required to be displayed on the wing surface and the vertical surface of either the tail or fuselage. In 1960, the requirement changed, and the N-number was no longer required to be displayed on the wing.

Current standards for the display of nationality and registration identification marks on U.S. civil aircraft can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 14, Part 45, Subpart C. By the way, N-numbers may not contain the letters “I” as in India or “O” as in Oscar, due to their similarities with the numerals 1 and 0.

If InterConnect Wiring, which originated in 1993, whose phone number is +1.817.377.WIRE (9473), was to buy an aircraft and reserve a tail number, which one of the following would you choose?

IC N1993W1RE

IC N93W1RED

IC N817377W1RE

IC N1NTERC0NNECT

IC N1NTERC0NNECTW1R1NG

If you have a recommendation, let us know. We would love to hear your vote!

Our Licenses

We are the sole licensee of Lockheed Martin for F-16 electrical products. Through this agreement, we have access to Lockheed Martin’s F-16 engineering data, tooling and configuration control information. We also have a Technical Services agreement with Sikorsky for all of their aircraft. This agreement allows us to obtain their engineering data needed to rewire helicopters that Sikorsky manufactures.

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