Belgian aircraft registration and serials

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Belgian owned and operated aircraft are identified by either registration letters or serial numbers for military aircraft.[1]

Civil aircraft[edit]

An aircraft registration is a unique alphanumeric string that identifies a civil aircraft, in similar fashion to a licence plate on an automobile. In accordance with the Convention on International Civil Aviation all aircraft must be registered with a national aviation authority and they must carry proof of this registration in the form of a legal document called a Certificate of Registration at all times when in operation.[1]

1913 allocation[edit]

The first use of aircraft registrations was based on the radio callsigns allocated at the London International Radiotelegraphic Conference in 1913. The format was a single letter prefix followed by four other letters (like A-BCDE).[1] The major nations operating aircraft were allocated a single letter prefix but minor countries had to share a single letter prefix but were allocated exclusive use of the first letter of the suffix.[1] Belgium was not considered a major operator of aircraft and was allocated the prefix and first letter suffix O-B. When the conference allocated the same prefix it made sure that they were in different parts of the world, the other user of the O prefix was Peru and they were allocated O-P.[1] The first allocation was O-BEBE to a Fokker D.VII on 1 March 1920.[1]

1928 allocation[edit]

Following the allocation of radio callsigns to Belgium of ON, OO, OP, OQ, OR, OS and OT at the 1927 International Radio-Telegraph Conference.[1] The callsign allocation did not align with those allocated for aircraft registrations and in 1928 the International Convention of Air Navigation re-allocated the aircraft registration prefix to align with the callsigns.[1] Belgian could use all or any letter groups that had been allocated as radio callsigns and in 1929 the prefix OO was selected.[1] The first allocation was OO-AJT to a Stampe et Vertongen RSV 26 in March 1929 and the format was still in use in 2011.[1]

Use[edit]

Some of the blocks of registrations have had a reserved usage and these include:

  • OO-BAA to OO-BZZ used mainly for balloons
  • OO-CAA to OO-CZZ used for the Belgian Congo 1934-1960
  • OO-YAA to OO-ZZZ used mainly for gliders
  • OO-01 to OO-499 used for homebuild aircraft

Belgian Congo[edit]

The Belgian Government issued registration for civil aircraft used in the Belgian Congo and from April 1934 used OO-CAA to OO-CZZ. The allocation ceased in 1960 with independence and the allocation of the prefix 9Q.[1]

Military aircraft[edit]

CE-01 an Embraer 135 in 2010

Belgian Air Force[edit]

When the Belgian Air Force was re-formed in 1946 individual aircraft were allocated serial numbers in either a one or two letter prefix followed by a one or two digit number. The first allocations were mainly single letters (for example A-1 was an Auster AOP.6) but sometimes a second letter was used to distinguish variants, for example NA-1 was an Avro Anson I and NB-1 was an Anson II.[2]

Designation Aircraft Notes
A- Auster AOP.6
C- Airspeed Consul
C de Havilland Canada Chipmunk
D de Havilland Dominie
G Miles Magister
H North American Harvard
K Douglas Dakota Some aircraft temporary used KP- for photography, KFC- reconnaissance and KR- for VIP transport
O Airspeed Oxford
P Percival Proctor
T de Havilland Tiger Moth
V Stampe SV-4 SV-4B and SV-4C
ED GLoster Meteor T.7
EF GLoster Meteor F.4
EG Gloster Meteor F.8
EN Gloster Meteor NF.11
ID Hawker Hunter F.4
IF Hawker Hunter F.6
MA de Havilland Mosquito TT.3
MB de Havilland Mosquito NF.30
MC de Havilland Mosquito TT6
NA Avro Anson 1
NB Avro Anson 2
SG Supermarine Spitfire XIV
SM Supermarine Spitfire IX

In the 1950s the first letter started to be used as a role prefix, for example FX-01 was a Lockheed F-104G Starfighter classified as a Fighter.[2]

Designation Aircraft Notes
AT Dornier-Dassault Alpha Jet
AX Avro-Canada CF-100
BA Dassault Mirage 5BA First aircraft used the serial MA-01 later changed to BA-01
BD Dassault Mirage 5BD First aircraft used the serial MD-01 later changed to BD-01
BR Dassault Mirage 5BR
CA Airbus A310
CB Boeing 727
CD Dassault Falcon 900
CE Embraer 135
CF Swearingen Merlin III
CH Lockheed C-130 Hercules
CM Dassault Falcon 20
CP Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar
CS Hawker Siddeley 748
FA General Dynamics F-16A
FB General Dynamics F-16B
FC Lockheed TF-104G Starfighter
FR Republic RF-84F Thunderflash
FS Republic F-84E Thunderjet
FT Lockheed T-33A
FU Republic F-84F Thunderstreak
FX Lockheed F-104G Starfighter
FZ Republic F-84G Thunderjet
KX Douglas DC-4
KY Douglas DC-6
LB Piper Super Cub L-21C air cadet glider tugs
MT Fouga Magister
RM Percival Pembroke
RS Westland Sea King
ST SIAI SF.260

An Aero Commander 560F was operated for royal flights between 1961 and 1973 without a serial number but display its radio callsign OT-CWB instead.[2] Similarly, there have been Douglas C-47B transports "registered" OT-CWA, OT-CWG and OT-CNR, and a Sikorsky S-58 helicopter "registered" OT-ZKP.

Belgian Army[edit]

In 1954 the Belgian Army formed its own aviation element and serial numbers were allocated in the form OL-A01, the OL for Observation Leger (light observation), the letter for the type and the number for each individual aircraft. In 1974 the OL prefix was dropped.[2]

Designation Aircraft Notes
A Sud Alouette II
B Britten-Norman Islander
D Dornier Do 27
G Aerospatiale Puma
H Agusta A.109
L Piper Super Cub L-18C

Belgian Navy[edit]

The Belgian Navy have operated a number of shipborne helicopters which were allocated serials with single letter prefix although the radio callsigns were also painted on the aircraft in a similar format to registrations.[2]

Designation Aircraft Notes
B Sikorsky S-58
M Sud Alouette III

Police[edit]

The Belgian Rijkswacht/Gendarmerie and later the Federal Police have operated both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters which carry serial numbers prefixed G with individual aircraft identified by increasing numbers. The first was an Aerospatiale Puma G01

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Complete Civil Registers:1 Belgium". Air-Britain Archive. 1980 (1). 1980. ISSN 0262-4923. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Jackson 1977, pp.53-90
Sources
  • Jackson, Paul A. (1977). Belgian Military Aviation 1945-1977. Hinckley, England: Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 0-904597-06-7.