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How are Airplanes are identified?

Airplanes, like other means of transportation, have specific aspects and characteristics by which they can be identified, both by the companies they work for and by the people who travel in them.

One of the main characteristics by which an aircraft can be identified anywhere in the world is its registration number. 

Aircraft registration number How is it made up?

The registration number of an aircraft is a series of alphanumeric characters, similar to the one we can find in cars. According to the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Convention) all civil airplanes must be registered by the aeronautical authority of their country and must also have a legal document certifying such registration, which is necessary to have at all times during the operation of the aircraft.

Likewise, almost all countries in the world require that the aircraft registration number be printed on a fireproof plate, which must be on each side of the fuselage, in order to facilitate a possible investigation related to an accident where the aircraft has been consumed by fire.

The license plate can also be located between the wings, on the middle surface of the tail or on its vertical parts. Another place where we can find the registration plate of an aircraft is on the intrados (internal part of the wing).

Each country will have its airplanes registered differently at the beginning, to make it much easier to identify them by their nationality.

So, the first part (prefix) of the registration will indicate the country to which the aircraft belongs and the service it provides, with an acronym assigned by the International Civil Aviation Convention.

In the last part (suffix), the abbreviations showing the identity of the aircraft (private and commercial, state aircraft or experimental aircraft) are placed.

Between the prefix and the suffix there will be a hyphen (-) that will give the complete structure to the registration.

In Germany the prefix is: D and its prefixes are: YAAA to ZZZZ (hand-built), AA00 to ZZ99 (ultralights), 001 to 999 (Test and delivery), ED-abc (Military).

Another way to identify an aircraft is by its aesthetics. Depending on the manufacturer there will be differences in the shape of the aircraft, for example: The Boeing 737 has a cockpit with a pointed nose, unlike the Airbus A320 whose cockpit has a rounded nose. Also in the connection of the tail with the fuselage we can find differences, in the airplanes manufactured by the Airbus brand this connection is straight and clean, while those manufactured by the Boeing company have a V-shaped joint.

On the other hand, if an aircraft has a thin fuselage, it is most likely to have a single aisle, so it could be an Airbus A320 or Boeing 737. A model with a wider fuselage could be an Airbus A380 or Boeing 777.

Girls in Aviation

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