Buzz number

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A jet aircraft with nose air intake sits on the tarmac, wearing U.S. Air Force insignia and "FW-754" coding on the nose
This F-100 has the buzz number "FW-754" on its nose.

A buzz number was a large letter and number combination applied to United States Air Force military aircraft in the years immediately after World War II, through the early 1960s. They were applied for general aerial identification of aircraft, but particularly for the identification of aircraft guilty of "buzzing" (very-low-altitude high-speed passes) over populated areas.

The first two letters of a buzz number indicated the type and designation of an aircraft while the last three were generally the last three digits of the aircraft serial number. Air Force fighters used buzz numbers starting with the letter F (or P, when fighters were designated as "pursuit" aircraft before June 1948), while bombers started with the letter B. For example, a P-51 Mustang would have a buzz number such as FF-230 while an F-86 Sabre might be FU-910. A B-66 Destroyer would have a buzz number such as BB-222. One of the last Air Force fighters to carry a buzz number was the F-4 Phantom II (FJ), then called the F-110 Spectre by the Air Force.

List of buzz codes[edit]

A lineup of silver piston-engined fighters, the one in the front of the line with clearly visible U.S. Air Force insignia and 'PQ-332" coding on the rear fuselage
A P-82 Twin Mustang with a buzz number near its tail
A radial piston-engined aircraft on a snowy airfield, a hangar behind and its pilot in front, with U.S. Air Force insignia and "AA-783" code below the cockpit
Douglas F-24 Banshee in 1950, with 'AA' buzz number
A part of a black, delta-winged aircraft with engine nacelle partway out the wing; U.S. Air Force insignia on the fuselage, "USAF" labeling on the wing, and "FX-936" coding on the nacelle
'FX-' code on Lockheed YF-12; possibly the last buzz number

This table lists U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army aircraft by buzz-number prefix. Note that some aircraft types changed prefixes during their career, while other prefixes were re-used after an earlier type was retired.

Code name Manufacturer Aircraft Notes
AA Douglas A-24/F-24 Banshee [1]
AB Curtiss A-25 Shrike [1]
AC Douglas A-26 Invader recoded BC in 1948[1]
AD Vultee A-31 Vengeance [1]
AE Convair XA-41 [1]
BA Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress [1]
BA Martin B-57 Canberra [1]
BB Douglas XB-19 [1]
BB Douglas B-66 Destroyer [1]
BC Consolidated B-24 Liberator [1]
BC Douglas B-26 Invader originally AC[1]
BD North American B-25 Mitchell [1]
BE North American B-45 Tornado recoded BH in 1948[1]
BF Boeing B-29 Superfortress [1]
BG Consolidated B-32 Dominator [1]
BG Northrop XB-35 [1]
BH Lockheed B-37 Ventura [1]
BH North American B-45 Tornado originally BE[1]
BJ Boeing XB-39 Superfortress [1]
BK Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster [1]
BK Boeing B-50 Superfortress [1]
BL Boeing XB-44 Superfortress [1]
BM Convair B-36 Peacemaker [1]
CA Beechcraft CQ-3 Expeditor [1]
CA Douglas C-124 Globemaster II [1]
CB Beechcraft UC-43 Traveler
CC Beechcraft C-45 Expeditor
CD Curtiss C-46 Commando
CE Douglas C-47 Skytrain [1]
CF Douglas C-48
CG Douglas C-49
CH Douglas C-53 Skytrooper
CJ Douglas C-54 Skymaster [1]
CK Lockheed C-60 Lodestar
CL Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman
CM Lockheed C-69 Constellation
CN Douglas C-74 Globemaster [1]
CP Cessna UC-78 Bobcat [1]
CP Convair C-131 Samaritan [1]
CQ Fairchild C-82 Packet [1]
CQ Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar [1]
CR Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express [1]
CS Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter/KC-97 Stratofreighter [1]
CT Convair XC-99 [1]
CU Douglas C-117 Skytrooper [1]
CV Douglas C-118 Liftmaster [1]
CW Lockheed C-121 Constellation [1]
CY Chase YC-122 Avitruc [1]
CZ Chase C-123 Provider [1][2]
CZ Fairchild C-123 Provider [1]
FA Beechcraft F-2 Expeditor cancelled 1948[1]
FB Lockheed F-5 Lightning cancelled 1948[1]
FC North American F-6 Mustang cancelled 1948, to FF[1]
FD Consolidated F-7 Liberator cancelled 1948[1]
FE Boeing F-9 Flying Fortress cancelled 1948, to BA[1]
FF North American F-10 Mitchell cancelled 1948, to BD[1]
FG Boeing F-13 Superfortress cancelled 1948, to BF[1]
FH Northrop F-15 Reporter cancelled 1948, to FK[1]
F Northrop N-156F [3]
FA Lockheed F-38 Lightning previously PA[1]
FA Lockheed F-94 Starfire [1]
FA Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter [1][4]
FB Bell F-39 Airacobra previously PB[1]
FB McDonnell F-101 Voodoo [1]
FC Curtiss F-40 Warhawk previously PC[1]
FC Convair F-102 Delta Dagger [1]
FD Republic XF-103 [1]
FE Republic F-47 Thunderbolt previously PE[1]
FE Convair F-106 Delta Dart [1]
FF North American F-51 Mustang previously PF[1]
FG Lockheed F-104 Starfighter [1]
FH Republic F-105 Thunderchief [1]
FJ Bell F-59 Airacomet previously PJ[1]
FJ McDonnell F-110 Spectre [1]
FK Northrop F-61 Black Widow previously PK[1]
FL Bell F-63 Kingcobra previously PL[1]
FN Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star previously PL, recoded FT[1]
FP Convair XF-81 previously PP[1]
FQ North American F-82 Twin Mustang previously PQ[1]
FR Bell XF-83 previously PR[1]
FS Republic F-84 Thunderjet previously PS[1]
FT Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star previously PN, FN[1]
QFT Lockheed QF-80 Shooting Star [1]
FU North American F-86 Sabre previously PU[1]
FV Northrop Northrop F-89 Scorpion [1]
FW North American F-100 Super Sabre [1]
FX Lockheed YF-12 Blackbird [5] Unofficial?
FY North American YF-93
FY North American YF-95 recoded FU
GA Waco PG-2 [1]
GB Waco PG-3 [1]
GC Waco CG-4 [1]
GD Laister-Kauffman XCG-10 Trojan Horse [1]
GE Waco CG-13 [1]
GF Chase YCG-14 [1]
GG Waco CG-15 [1]
GH Chase XCG-18 [1]
GJ Chase XCG-20 [1]
JT Cessna YAT-37D [6]
LA Taylorcraft L-2 Grasshopper [1]
LA Piper L-4 Grasshopper originally LC[1]
LB Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper [1]
LB Stinson L-5 Sentinel originally LD[1]
LC Piper L-4 Grasshopper recoded LA[1]
LC Aeronca L-16 originally LH[1]
LB Stinson L-5 Sentinel recoded LB[1]
LD Ryan L-17B/U-18B Navion See LJ for North American L-17A/C, U-18A/C[1]
LE Interstate L-6 Cadet [1]
LE Boeing L-15 Scout [1]
LE Piper L-18 Super Cub [1]
LF Piper L-14 [1]
LF Cessna L-19 Bird Dog [1]
LG Convair L-13 Grasshopper [1]
LG de Havilland Canada L-20 Beaver [1]
LH Aeronca L-16 recoded LC[1]
LH Piper L-21 Super Cub [1]
LJ North American L-17A/C, U-18A/C Navion See LD for Ryan L-17B, U-18B[1]
LJ Beechcraft L-23 Seminole [1]
LK Aero Commander L-26 [1]
OA Grumman OA-9 Goose [1]
OB Consolidated OA-10 Catalina [1]
OC North American O-47 [1]
OD Kellett YO-60 [1]
OE Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina [6]
PA Lockheed P-38 Lightning recoded FA in 1948[1]
PB Bell P-39 Airacobra recoded FB in 1948[1]
PC Curtiss P-40 Warhawk recoded FC in 1948[1]
PD Curtiss XP-42 [1]
PE Republic P-47 Thunderbolt recoded FE in 1948[1]
PF North American P-51 Mustang recoded FF in 1948[1]
PG Curtiss XP-55 Ascender [1]
PH Lockheed XP-58 Chain Lightning [1]
PJ Bell P-59 Airacomet recoded FJ in 1948[1]
PK Northrop P-61 Black Widow recoded FK in 1948[1]
PL Bell P-63 Kingcobra recoded FL in 1948[1]
PM Fisher P-75 Eagle [1]
PN Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star recoded FT in 1948[1]
PP Convair XP-81 recoded FP in 1948[1]
PQ North American P-82 Twin Mustang recoded FQ in 1948[1]
PR Bell XP-83 recoded FR in 1948[1]
PS Republic P-84 Thunderjet recoded FS in 1948[1]
PU North American P-86 Sabre recoded FU in 1948[1]
QF Piasecki H-21 Workhorse [6]
QK Culver Q-14 Cadet [6]
RF North American RF-51 Mustang [6]
TA North American AT-6 Texan [1]
LTA North American LT-6G Texan [1]
TB Beechcraft AT-7 Navigator [1]
TC Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan [6]
TC Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 [7]
TC Convair TF-102 Delta Dagger [8]
TD Fairchild AT-21 Gunner [1]
TD Beechcraft T-34 Mentor [1]
BTE Vultee BT-13 Valiant [1]
TE Cessna T-37 Tweet [6]
PTF Boeing PT-13 Kaydet [1]
TF North American TF-51 Mustang [6]
TF Northrop T-38 Talon [6][9]
TG Boeing PT-17 Kaydet [1]
TG Lockheed TF-104 Starfighter [6]
TG North American T-39 Sabreliner [6]
TH Fairchild PT-19 [1]
TJ Culver PQ-8 Cadet [1]
TK Culver PQ-14 Cadet [6]
TL North American T-28 Trojan [1]
TP Convair T-29 Flying Classroom [1]
TQ Fairchild T-31 [1]
TR Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star [6]
UG de Havilland Canada U-6 Beaver [6]
UH Piper U-7 Super Cub [6]
UK Aero Commander U-4/U-9 [6]
YF North American YF-93 [10]
YT Cessna YAT-37D [6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh ei ej Andrade 1979, p. 249
  2. ^ Adcock 1992, p.7.
  3. ^ Johnsen 2006, p.10.
  4. ^ Johnsen 2006, p.6.
  5. ^ Sgarlato 1979, p.82.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Swanborough and Bowers 1989, p.43.
  7. ^ Hooftman 1965, p.59.
  8. ^ Kinzey 1990, p.17.
  9. ^ Johnsen 2006, p.58.
  10. ^ "North American YF-93". Fact Sheets. National Museum of the United States Air Force. Retrieved 2011-02-08. 
Bibliography
Further reading
  • Bowers, Peter M.; David W. Menard (2006). Buzz Numbers: The Explanations and Regulations Behind America's Military Aircraft Identification System. North Branch, MN: Specialty Press. ISBN 978-1-58007-103-1. 

External links[edit]