Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Aviation/Style guide/Layout (Aircraft)

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Long time user/reader and defender of Wikipedia. I would like to open a discussion on the consensus of "Operators" of aircraft types. I recently added an entry on the Operators section of the article Eurocopter EC135. My edit caused another editor to completely delete the "Civil" subsection of the "Operator" section. Not wanting to start an edit war, I started a discussion thread on the talk page. I don't know when the consensus was reached, but I don't agree that a single or low number military operator of an aircraft type is more notable then a civilian operator of single or low number of units. If an operator is well sourced, then it should be included military or civilian. My personal opinion is that all operators should be added, and then when it reaches a certain number then the section should be moved to a new article "Operators of aircraft [x]".

As long as it is well sourced, any and all operators of an aircraft type should be added. Any other policy creates a subjective viewpoint of who are the valid operators of the aircraft in question. Since it can be moved to another article it will not bog down the main article. I would like to do this for the Eurocopter EC135, but based on my talk with the editor, trying to understand how and when this consensus was reached on the inclusion or exclusion of operators of an aircraft type. Thank you in advance for any and all input or suggestions.

Danmanmi (talk) 03:17, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

I have left a note at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Aircraft#Operators inviting others to comment here. MilborneOne (talk) 09:31, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
A couple of thoughts:
  • I see no reason to privilege military operators over civilian, or vice versa. Any principles on list inclusion should be general enough that the two are treated equally.
  • When a particular thing has very many different users, there is no point trying to list all users. It just condemns us to having very long and perpetually inaccurate lists which consume editors' time without actually providing much benefit for readers.
bobrayner (talk) 17:57, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't see any reason to change the current consensus on light aircraft with many operators, that is to make mention operators with large fleets and just address the rest with a general statement about the type of operators who use it. Especially with helicopter operators who often buy or lease aircraft for one summer and then sell or end the lease, I have to agree with User:Bobrayner that the best we are going to have if we try to list them all is a very long and inaccurate list. - Ahunt (talk) 18:33, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Military operators should in fact be "privileged" over civilian operators, for the simple reason that they are military operators. Q.E.D.. The second point, however is a good one with regards to airlines, charter operators, etc. But government operators should be listed in all cases. - The Bushranger One ping only 23:14, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
- There are far fewer military and gov. operators available compared to civil operators, especially if charter and private users are considered. There could be up to 20 mil & gov operators for an aircraft, while a civil aircraft could have more than 40 operators. -Fnlayson (talk) 23:28, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Our lists should privilege military operators over civilian ones because they're military operators? I'm concerned that is circular reasoning, rather than QED. bobrayner (talk) 13:20, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
I believe some standards should be in place to regulate the notable from the not so notable. Besides Military I do find relevance in certain police units, and government agencies. The list just needs trimming (small time companies need to get the boot).FOX 52 (talk) 05:15, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

Why are NATO reporting names stuffed into the lead sentence of every Soviet/Russian aircraft article[edit]

I feel this is insulting to Soviet/Russian aircraft. No one, for example, calls the Su-9 a "Fishpot". Of course, some names have becomes popular, like the Bear for Tu-95, but part from this tiny fraction of names, other names have almost no usage anywhere. Why do we "NATOify" and Westernize articles about Soviet/Russian aircraft by playing with the very identity of products made in the Eastern Bloc? — Preceding unsigned comment added by RS-Fighter (talkcontribs) 09:49, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Because they are common alternate names that are widely used in reliable published sources. The project guideline is based on WP:BOLDTITLE, as the NATO code names are "significant alternative titles". Note the the project guidelines do not encourage the NATO name's use anywhere else in an article, and we don't generally mention them in other articles either when the aircraft's designation is given. Please note that the aircraft's designation, and any local (Russian) name, is always give in the infobox title, but we never use the NATO name there. - BilCat (talk) 10:24, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
Interestingly, I had a look at several Soviet/Russian aircraft articles on Russian WP, and they place the NATO name in the exact same place as we do on English WP! See ru:Ил-76, the Russian-language version of Ilyushin Il-76. - BilCat (talk) 11:21, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

'Survivors' → 'Surviving aircraft'[edit]

'Survivors' sounds a bit vague and ambiguous: articles about aircraft types typically list notable accidents, which often involve survivors (as in 'people surviving'). Indeed, 'survivors' was described as 'like personification' in a previous discussion. I propose instead 'Surviving aircraft' (or even 'Surviving examples'). --Deeday-UK (talk) 22:07, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

This seems like a fair change to me. It's fine with me. -Fnlayson (talk) 02:16, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
I think it is okay as well, but will involve changing a lot of templates and articles. - Ahunt (talk) 16:19, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
@Ahunt: which templates do you mean? I'm happy to work on this one. I think this is the time I'll give AWB a go. --Deeday-UK (talk) 14:58, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
I was referring to the page creation templates. - Ahunt (talk) 01:21, 2 April 2016 (UTC)


The field "specfuelcon" yields the text and link Specific fuel consumption - which is a DAB page. See e.g. Walter HWK 109-509#Specifications (109-509A).

It looks to me as if the link should pipe to Thrust specific fuel consumption, but (a) this is outside my area of expertise and (b) I do NOT want to mess up someone else's template. Could I leave the problem for someone knowledgeable to deal with please? Narky Blert (talk) 14:30, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

This should be posted on a more relevant project page, like WT:Rocketry or WT:Spaceflight, imo. -Fnlayson (talk) 21:40, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
Scratch that. We have this template listed on WP:WikiProject Aircraft/Templates so this is OK. -Fnlayson (talk) 21:49, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

Specifications tables[edit]

I often edit commercial aircraft specifications : airliners, light transport, business aircraft. I believe wikipedia should be as perfect as possible concerning these. Large airliners, but not only, have multiple major variants specification in a table. This allow to cover every major variant (e.g. the basis and shrinks/stretches) to understand the differences and observe the similarities. It is very widespread. But in opposition Wikipedia:WikiProject Aircraft/page content#Aircraft specifications promotes the usage of templates (without certainty : there is 3 templates). I understand it's useful to have an homogeneity with templates, to be able to find an info faster because it's always at the same place, but when variants are different enough, it should be a guideline to use reference tables to distinguish between them. Items and their order in the table should be standardised as with the templates. An article should cover a single type certificate, if the modification is big enough to need a new type certificate, a new article should be created, but unless that an article should cover all the main variants. --Marc Lacoste (talk) 19:35, 13 November 2016 (UTC)

The problem in the past has been that the tables are unwieldy and hard to read. Because Wikipedia is a general encyclopedia and not Janes we have opted to present one representative set of specs and not all possible specs and note any major differences in the variants section text. Some of the ultralight and homebuilt designs have dozens of different engine, wing and landing gear configurations. The resulting tables would be unusable. - Ahunt (talk) 19:39, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply. Could you lead me to an example of an unwieldy table in an article history? It could be easily avoided by limiting it to certified aircraft and determining what constitutes a major variant (e.g. 10% MTOW difference or 10% dimension change or new engine generation) --Marc Lacoste (talk) 21:40, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
Note that Jane's all the world's aircraft is giving its info in lists and not in tables (in my paper 2005/2006 version at least) with very unwidely letters (A for -200, B -300 etc.) for variants or multiple lines. It should really benefit of tabulated presentation but its pagination prevents it. A problem the electronic Wikipedia lacks :). There are tables at the end, for engines mainly.--Marc Lacoste (talk) 21:54, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
What is the argument against the current practice of having specs for the major or representative version and then in the variants section describe major differences in text? Dividing articles by type certificates is not all that useful either in all cases. For instance the Cessna 172 and Cessna 175 share a type certificate and so do the Cessna 205 and Cessna 210. - Ahunt (talk) 01:37, 14 November 2016 (UTC)
Would you imagine having the specs of the 787-8 listed, and for the -9, the list of its differences and similarities only in text, never in numbers? The specs table is a great way to observe these. --Marc Lacoste (talk) 07:39, 14 November 2016 (UTC)
That's one way to do it, but I'll suggest that Avro_Vulcan#Specifications is better. And in passing note that (of itself and as a constant parameter across models) "wing sweep" is probably a step too far for a specs table, Boeing or otherwise. GraemeLeggett (talk) 08:40, 14 November 2016 (UTC)
They look similar to me, how is it better? --Marc Lacoste (talk) 11:06, 14 November 2016 (UTC) wing sweep sometimes varies across variants, see Airbus_A340#Specifications

So, should we add in guidelines the possibility of tables for major variants in specs, in the order of the templates? --Marc Lacoste (talk) 08:00, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

if there are no objections, I'll add it.--Marc Lacoste (talk) 07:24, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

I think we need wider input before this is done, as even adding it as an option to the current method could cause some unintended consequences that need to be thought through first. I will put an invitation at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Aircraft to get wider input here before we form a consensus on this. - Ahunt (talk) 12:21, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
I see a table comparing various models of an aircraft as complementary to a single full specification example. Of course the other place for comparing different models of an aircraft is the Variants section. GraemeLeggett (talk) 13:00, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
That has been the approach we have used in the past, in articles such as Cessna 172. I would hate to see someone try to take the 25 variants of the 172 (so far) and turn the specs for all of them into a table and it is cases like that that need to be considered here. - Ahunt (talk) 13:06, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
I agree with GraemeLeggett, it could work : you still have the main specs template and complement it with a table for the major variants. I understand a 25 column table is obviously unwidely (we could specify a limit, like the 7 DC-8 columns which are on the high side, but my objective was only to distinguish between large variants : a new wing or new major parts (say, going from turbojet to turbofan), major MTOW increases (777-200LR vs 200ER), a stretch/shrink. Certainly not for the Pilatus_PC-12#Variants : slight engine and avionics evolution, small mtow increase. But legit for the Piper_PA-46#Specifications with piston OR turboprop, pressurized OR not, 1,000 nm OR 1,500 nm range. Note they are commercialised simultaneously, which is a good indicator of major variants : if the differences were too small, why the manufacturer would bother to sell minor variants? I searched the 172 history and didn't find a specs table, could you show me? I don't know the 172 well enough to know if there is major variants, but I wasn't under the understanding there was any. A 172 is still more or less a 172. --Marc Lacoste (talk) 14:08, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
There is no specs table in the article for the 172, although I have books that have them and they run on for pages, different gross weights, engines, etc. We have descriptions in the variants section instead, which is much more adaptable to small changes, than repeating specs in a table. One of the problems is that if we allow spec tables then people will try to create them for minor variants. You can't control it once they are allowed and there will be arguments over what is "minor". - Ahunt (talk) 14:29, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
Less than choosing what should be the main variant, which is what we have now : the specs are for one variant, and nobody challenges it really. We can trim variants through consensus, see Talk:Boeing_777#777X_specs --Marc Lacoste (talk) 15:04, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
  • I am fine with changing the wording to "major variants" (or main variants) to allow for a spec table of the major variants. A list of main specifications would be good too, so a table does not try and cover each and every possible specification value. -Fnlayson (talk) 15:20, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
If we are going to go this route I think it has to be made very clear that use of a table of variants is optional and provide guidance as to when it might be justified including it. - Ahunt (talk) 16:06, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
  • I suggest that the guideline wording state something like 'Using the spec template for 1 main variant is preferred over a spec table'. -Fnlayson (talk) 16:57, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
It would justify deleting specs tables to replace them with a template. Phrasing it like "main variant (or major variants only when there is large differences between them)" would allow to discuss what is excessive or not.--Marc Lacoste (talk) 18:00, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
I think that the current template system for a single representative variant, together with an optional subsection titled "Major variations" and a table layout to suit the particular situation would be a sensible way forward. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 18:42, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
I have to say that I dont see anything wrong with the current one major variant specification template, the tables were not the intention of the project but started to creep in mainly on the fan boy airliner types, most are pretty ugly and not consistent like the template (although it is probably time we only had one but we didnt agree on that when it last came up a few years ago). We have dealt with major differences in the variants section without much of an issue and have survived without specification tables that could have up to thirty columns (some of the ones we have are already impossible to see on a phone or tablet. So I support using one agreed specification template for the main variant and ditch the tables. MilborneOne (talk) 21:27, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
Current system: it is difficult to understand differences between variants without a table. For example if I want the Cessna 208 specs, the article have only the 208B specs and mentions in text "stretched" (by what length?), "higher-powered" (by how much?) and without the consequences on weights and performance. That's why I created a specs table, but it doesn't meet the current guideline.
Too many templates: So it could be a great opportunity to harmonise a specs table! I made a draft : User:Marc Lacoste/sandbox/Aircraft Specifications.
Ugly and inconsistent tables: Could you point me to some examples ?
Up to 30 columns : Major variants only, number should be limited by consensus
impossible to see on mobile : I have no problems on a tablet but I agree you have to scroll horizontally after 5 variants on a phone (but Wikipedia mobile zoom is too low IMO, I often revert to non-mobile version for better density). A good guideline to limit variants number.--Marc Lacoste (talk) 08:24, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
Wikipedia is supposed to be a general reference. If more specialist info is required for a particular model, then its time to look at the sources, or the external links sections and go from there. If a particular article is lacking in discussing (in general terms) how the variants differ and needs some extra text, then perhaps it's a question of improving the content of that section rather than dropping in a table to set out a comparative table of variants. GraemeLeggett (talk) 10:02, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
And it would still be a general reference, just being able to understand the differences between an A319 and an A320 is far from being a specialised capability. Having a synthetic table would improve the content of a section and would certainly not prevent to detail the differences in text.--Marc Lacoste (talk) 11:35, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
I think that this proposal is still not dealing with some commons cases and will flounder if people look at how to apply it across the range of articles. Sure, a table may work okay when you have four or five main variants, but here is case, Swing Stratus, with 44 variants, almost all of them major variants, that are different in gross weight, wing area, wing span and aspect ratio. Of note, the list in that article is incomplete as there are more variants that I haven't found refs for yet. When I started that article I put the variants in a text section, as no table could handle this in a way that would work right. In this case you can't skip a pile of variants to make the table work and if you added a table to the existing text with just a few listed, then nothing would be gained. I think that the tables might work in a few narrow cases, when there are only say 2-6 variants, but otherwise it doesn't work and is not a good general solution. - Ahunt (talk) 13:47, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
Would a table in which rows and columns change places, as in lists of aircraft, be workable? Something like this:
Variant Weight Span Wing area
Mk 1a foo bar foo
Mk 1b foo bar foo
Mk 2a foo bar foo
It cannot replace the massive list of parameters in the main specification template, but might provide a useful approach to excessive numbers of variants. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Steelpillow (talkcontribs)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Sure that is possible, but it limits the number of parameters that can be shown for each variant. It would work for Swing Stratus, but not for the Boeing 747, which needs a table oriented the other way. All of this points to some use for some tables in some situations, but not all. I still contend it should be optional and limited to situations where it makes sense and fits on the page easily. - Ahunt (talk) 14:44, 18 November 2016 (UTC)

The situations are not comparable, the stratus parasails are not major variants but different sizes of different model years. It would be like having the specs for every Airbus_A320_family#Engines_2; this is certainly not the goal. --Marc Lacoste (talk) 17:48, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
I think these examples make the point that different aircraft types need different approaches and that one approach to specs won't work in all cases. I'm not against the use of tables for specs in situations like airliners articles where there are a few variants, I just think we ought to make them optional and only used where appropriate. Obviously when there is just one variant of an aircraft type a table isn't needed and when there are 44 variants they won't work well either. I think we need specific guidance when to use them and when not to. That is why I think they could be okay in some circumstances, but need to be optional so as not to hem in corner cases. - Ahunt (talk) 18:26, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
I take the point that as far as variants go it's "horses for courses" as they say. But a single main technical spec sheet is always needed. The current Boeing 747 table is a horrible example where marketing specs like seat numbers are mashed up alongside technical specs like aspect ratio and some of the numbers such as internal cabin width are common across all variants. Yecch! It desperately needs to be broken into three parts - a generic technical spec. for one example and separate treatments of market and technical differences between variants. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 18:46, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps it needs pointing out that due to formatting, tables are harder for new editors to figure out and contribute to. This can be a barrier to participating and discourage new editors. - Ahunt (talk) 18:55, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
A better solution with variants is to create a split off article, this leaves the main article clear of unencyclopedic seas of numbers and tables. It's been done many times with aircraft and engines, the variants can be covered fully and fairly in these articles. We would do better to try and consolidate the templates we already use, the tables in airliner articles shouldn't be there but we seem to be stuck with them. Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 19:00, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
Indeed every case is singular, and consensus will efficiently select the number of variants to present. It is easy to extract common specs from tables to have a smaller table and 1 main specs list, ex for Boeing_757#Specifications : User:Marc Lacoste/sandbox/757. For newbies a table would be as difficult as current templates which are also quite cryptic. Of course it's always possible to split variants in their own article if they are important enough.--Marc Lacoste (talk) 20:31, 18 November 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── So a consensus could be "If there are multiple major variants, the common specifications can be presented with a template and the differences in a table in the same order (e.g.). The number of variants should be limited for legibility, for example above five variants a phone browser have to scroll horizontally the table".--Marc Lacoste (talk) 19:05, 19 November 2016 (UTC)

I'll change the current guideline then. --Marc Lacoste (talk) 07:26, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
Have we reached a consensus? I'd be wary of specifying any number given the plurality of browsers and mobile devices. GraemeLeggett (talk) 08:32, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
I agree, that's why each case can have its own discussion. We can remove the 5 variants guideline though. --Marc Lacoste (talk) 09:28, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
I don't see any consensus yet. Silence is not a consensus, it means we have already said what we wanted to say, it does not mean that the last person to say anything wins. I would suggest that you post your proposed changes to the guideline here as a draft update, so that we can all see exactly what we are being asked to agree to. The version you give above does not explain which bits are changes from the current version. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 12:00, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
I don't see any consensus to change things in the above discussion, mostly just concerns expressed. - Ahunt (talk) 12:46, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

Proposed change: in Wikipedia:WikiProject_Aviation/Style_guide/Layout_(Aircraft)#Specifications_.28Aircraft_1.29, Notes, "These specifications should relate to a specific variant of the aircraft, and be labeled accordingly. Usually this will be the most famous/noteworthy/numerous variant. Each article should only have one set of specifications and any model differences should be described in the variants or development sections. Multiple sets of specifications are to be avoided.", adding "If there are multiple major variants, the common specifications can be presented with a template and the differences in a table in the same order (e.g.). The number of variants should be limited for legibility." --Marc Lacoste (talk) 14:53, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

Overall that looks okay to me. I would make it clear that this is optional, by saying, "Optionally if there are multiple major variants, the common specifications can be presented with a template and the differences in a table in the same order. The number of variants should be limited for legibility." - Ahunt (talk) 15:16, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
I don't find that acceptable. The main specification template should not leave out items just because they vary. For some types such as the Supermarine Spitfire that would leave an almost empty template which would be ridiculous. There is nothing at the moment that stops anyone adding a comparison table to the variants section. We could add to the Variants guideline that, "If there are multiple major subtypes or variants, a comparison table may be added," but do we really need to spell out the options? Better to leave the guideline as it is and just add tables to the variants information where appropriate. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 17:04, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
That makes sense, but it seems more at its place in #specs than in #variants --Marc Lacoste (talk) 19:55, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

Proposed change: in #Specifications_(Aircraft_1), Notes, "These specifications should relate to a specific variant of the aircraft, and be labeled accordingly. Usually this will be the most famous/noteworthy/numerous variant. Each article should only have one set of specifications and any model differences should be described in the variants or development sections. Multiple sets of specifications are to be avoided.", adding "Optionally if there are multiple major variants, the common specifications can be presented with a template and the differences in a table in the same order. The number of variants should be limited for legibility." and "It should be limited to not empty the main specifications." --Marc Lacoste (talk) 08:34, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

Can your clarify what you mean by "It should be limited to not empty the main specifications."? - Ahunt (talk) 14:33, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
It was meant to include Steelpillow's concerns to not leave an almost empty template --Marc Lacoste (talk) 16:24, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
This is just as bad. The key point of disagreement is whether to include variants information in the Specifications section. The guideline says no. I agree with the guideline, because we don't want information on a given variant scattered around the article. It should all go in one place which, depending on the article structure, will probably be a section on Variants or Development. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 16:41, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
I thought the idea was the the specs table would replace the specs template? - Ahunt (talk) 17:36, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
That would not seem to be consistent with Marc's proposal that "If there are multiple major variants, the common specifications can be presented with a template and the differences in a table in the same order". Perhaps I am missing something. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 17:46, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
I was going by the example of Boeing_757#Specifications, where the table replaces the specs template. - Ahunt (talk) 18:26, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
Isn't that just a perfect example of the appalling salad we get into if we are not careful. Details of the 757-300 scattered across all of the Development, Variants and Specs sections. Yecch! — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 20:19, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
I must say that the 757 table is not very good it misses out things in the normal spec template and add some stuff that we dont normally mention, I am not sure what general readers make of it as it is probably makes no sense to them, probably why many years ago I am sure we moved from tables or it may have been in the infobox into an easily readable spec template. If variants are not notable to have a stand-alone article then they all dont need adding in the specs area. We need to keep it simple for the reader and leave all the detailed tables to dedicated aircraft publications and websites not a general encyclopedia. Add my vote to use a standard only one major variant spec template and reduce or get rid of the number of confusing tables, thanks. MilborneOne (talk) 20:53, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
@Steelpillow: There is going to be -300 history in the 757 history, -300 details in #variants and -300 specs in specs, how would you do that differently? --Marc Lacoste (talk) 11:00, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
@MilborneOne: What is missing from the 757 specs, and what is too much? We should not presume the reader isn't up to understand technical details, not harder than the template BTW. If he doesn't want to read a part nobody forces him to and if he really wants a short info there is We are still far away from a tech book. "only one major variant spec template" There is often not a single major variant.--Marc Lacoste (talk) 11:00, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
You just need to compare the 757 table with the spec template, the -300 is not significant compared to the -200 and main changes can be handled in the variant section. If the variant was that significant it would have its own article. We have so far managed thousands of articles with one variant spec templates without a major issue on deciding which should be the example variant, all by consensus. I am not saying the general reader is stupid but a jumble of figures in a table will be ignored by most particularly on a tablet or phone when most of the table dissapears. Take for example the -300 the main changes are length, seating and mtow which are all covered in the main body of the article, so using a template is not really needed in my opinion. MilborneOne (talk) 12:02, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
Here is the comparison : there are the same items. The order isn't the same, but that can be fixed easily and it's one advantage of defining a standard. The -300, while not the first or most widespread variant (having been produced on 1/6th of the 757 life), is a major one, with a significant stretch (+1/4 capacity) and numerous differences (13 items on 23). Why would you separate the -300 from the -200? Most of the article would be copypasted from the other and would miss the common characteristics. Most large airplanes have major variants and tables are already universal for airliners, they don't use specs templates. Once the article is notable enough, Notability guidelines do not apply to content within an article, we shouldn't reduce information because you assume the "general reader" will ignore a part. Up to 5 variants, a table is fine on a phone. I would find very useful an example of a bad table. --Marc Lacoste (talk) 13:58, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
I agree broadly with MilborneOne. In the 757 article all the differences in the -300 specification should be placed in the Variants section. The Development section should repeat them only where it adds to the readability of the section. The Specifications section should ignore it. A comparison table in the Variants section might be useful, but it would need to be a lot simpler than the present one. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 13:41, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
I did that on Cessna_208_Caravan#Variants, with only the differences. --Marc Lacoste (talk) 14:11, 26 November 2016 (UTC)
Yes just seen that and removed it, that is not how its done differences should just be mentioned in the text for each variant not a spec table by stealth. MilborneOne (talk) 11:30, 27 November 2016 (UTC)

Operators lists[edit]

WP:AIRCRAFT-OPERATORS advises For civil aircraft types that have a large number of operators, many of whom may have just one or two aircraft, instead of listing them all, a general statement can be made, as applicable to the role and operators of the individual aircraft type [...] A mention may be made of particularly large fleet operators. is often taken to an extreme where very few civil operators are cited, whatever their size, but the military operator list is exhaustive : Beech 1900, ATR 42, Cessna 208, or with every former operators whatever their importance: Let L-410, BAe Jetstream, Metroliner, Beech 99 with the same layout based on definition lists where each one takes two lines. I tried to make it shorter with a table for the caravan but was reverted as it was unusual. A limit for what constitutes a large operator would be useful : 1% of the fleet, 2%, 5%; the top 10/top 20?--Marc Lacoste (talk), 24 February 2017

Tense guidelines again[edit]

We've previously discussed adding a statement on tense to the guidelines, similar to Wikipedia:WikiProject Aircraft/Engines/page content#Grammatical tense, but never followed through. Are there any objections to adding that now? - BilCat (talk) 06:45, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

I think we should add it, but I don't think that particular discussion came to a clear consensus. The last post there says that if it is not in service it should be past tense. That leads to odd situations, like standing in front of an aircraft in a museum and saying, "this was an aircraft". I have always edited based on past tense only when no examples exist anymore anywhere (ie all were destroyed). - Ahunt (talk) 12:26, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
I would recommend forming a good guideline, since the engine guideline was introduced (quite a few years ago now) there has been very little confusion over tense. I remember the tense being questioned in an article and when I linked to the explanation the editor said 'fair enough'. I tried searching other projects for style guides and tense guidance but it seems that the aviation project is one of few that has guidance. I did randomly stumble across AEC Routemaster (obsolete London double-decker bus) and it is described as 'was' even though plenty are on the road in private hands. I guess the key to tense is if the subject is still being used for its intended purpose or not (the bus is not in regular fare paying service). Could get complicated with warbirds as they are still flying but unarmed. Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 22:15, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
There is a general guideline at WP:MOSTENSE:
By default, write articles in the present tense, including for those covering products or works that have been discontinued.... Generally, do not use past tense except for deceased subjects, past events, and subjects that no longer meaningfully exist as such. (Emphasis mine.)
That last part does seem to back up Ahunt' preference, though we could quibble over what exactly "meaningfully exist" means. - BilCat (talk) 01:42, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
That is a good find! I think we have to run with that and only refer to aircraft, engines and such in the past tense when they no longer exist, not when they are just out of service. Otherwise it produces very strange grammar. "Is this your private-owned F-86?" "Yes it was." "Were you going to fly it today?" "I was going to." Face-smile.svg - Ahunt (talk) 14:59, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

Surviving Aircraft/Aircraft on Display Section Formatting[edit]

I have been adding and formatting a lot of Surviving aircraft and Aircraft on display (hereafter, SAAD) sections (or articles) over the past couple of months. However, one aspect that is noticeably lacking is any rules in the style guide on how to format these sections. As a result, I have come up with one – based mainly on the most commonly used aspects of the existing SAAD sections I had come across. For the sake of uniformity, I would like to propose it as a standardized format to be added to the article content page. The format for entries is as follows:

[Identity Number] [Airframe Nickname] – [Variant] is airworthy/on display/in storage at/with [Name of Museum, Airport, Owning Individual, etc.] in [City, Region].

Following the first sentence, there is no restriction on formatting. However, there is a restriction on the type of information that is appropriate for an entry. Inappropriate information includes information that is common to all airframes of an aircraft type – as opposed to details on a particular airframe. For airworthy airframes, information about how often the airframe flies is likewise considered inappropriate.

The SAAD section should be divided into subsections according to the country in which the airframe resides. I suggest formatting these subsections using the header markup, but have also seen it done using semicolons.

I would also like to propose a few other standards.

  • Identity numbers, should be either construction numbers or military serial numbers and never aircraft registrations – as either of the former are almost always permanent and the latter commonly changes, causing confusion.[1] Furthermore, beginning each entry with either of the former will allow entries in the section to be easily ordered. The decision whether to use either construction numbers or military serial numbers should be based on whether the aircraft has a predominantly military or civilian service. (This is envisioned as something analogous to the reasoning behind Wikipedia's policy of using American English on American centric articles and British English on British centric articles.)
  • Whenever possible and applicable, at least one reference for each entry should be a page for that specific airframe from the museum's website. (e.g. [2][3][4]) In place of a link to the specific airframe, a reference that links to a listing of all the museum's airframes is the next best thing. (e.g. [5][6]) If neither of these state the specific identity number of the airframe, then another source with that information is necessary.
  • All airworthy airframes must have a link to that particular airframe's registry page on the website of their respective country's national aviation authority. (e.g. [7][8][9]) Exceptions are to be made for those countries that do not post aircraft registrations online. (e.g. Germany, New Zealand)
  • Airframes must be identified as their built/operational identity and not an identity given by the organization or individual that currently owns the airframe. If an airframe is painted or otherwise configured to represent another airframe, this may be noted after the first sentence of the entry.
  • Photos of airframes on display and forum threads are not to be considered reliable sources. (This is more of a restatement of existing Wikipedia policy, but since I have commonly encountered these sources used for reference in SAAD sections, I figured it bears repeating.)

For a different formulation of this same suggestion with some additional details, please see the Aircraft Survivor List Editing Philosophy section of my user page. For examples of this suggestion, please see the Aircraft Survivors subsection of the Pages I Have Improved section of my user page.

I realize that this proposal is very detailed and therefore possibly too complex. However, that is one of the reasons I would like to invite comment on it. If there is a consensus in favor of it, I would like to add it to the style guide. Please let me know what you think! –Noha307 (talk) 03:28, 27 March 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ "What's in an N-Number?". American Aviation Historical Society. American Aviation Historical Society. Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  2. ^ "Douglas C-124 Globemaster II". National Museum of the US Air Force. 21 July 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "GLOBEMASTER II". Pima Air & Space Museum. Retrieved 14 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "VULTEE BT-15 - VALIANT | CONSOLIDATED VULTEE AIRCRAFT". Museu Aeroespacial. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "AIRCRAFT, DRONES AND MISSILES AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE" (PDF). National Museum of the US Air Force. June 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2017. 
  6. ^ "Aircraft on Display". Hiller Aviation Museum. Hiller Aviation Museum. Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  7. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N60480]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "GINFO Search Results [G-AWHE]". Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 31 January 2017. 
  9. ^ "Aircraft Register [VH-WLF]". Australian Government Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Retrieved 29 November 2016. 
Thanks for all your thoughtful work on this! Having read what you have written I think it all makes sense. - Ahunt (talk) 12:23, 27 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks right back at you! That means a lot coming from you – given your high level of involvement with WP:Aviation. I was hoping more people would comment, so there could be some sort of consensus toward making it an established format. (I hope this isn't too presumptive.)
One issue I was considering is that the formatting is very strict. However, in looking at the content that is currently on the style guide, I do believe there is precedent in the case of the introductory sentence for an aircraft article. It is very specific in regards to the way an aircraft should be described in terms of configuration and role – although in that case the formatting is not required.
Also, I do realize that the way I have explained it above may be too wordy and need to be pared down a bit. –Noha307 (talk) 08:03, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
Putting the airframe identity first looks wrong to me. Can't put into words why at the moment. And I'm always suspicious of overly prescriptive phrasing and any absolute negatives. GraemeLeggett (talk) 10:21, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
One problem this format currently has is that it doesn't indicate what type of identity number it is. That is to say, it doesn't indicate whether it is a construction number, serial number, or otherwise. Some of the other entries I have seen in the past start with something like AF. Ser. No. ##-####. This might be what makes it look wrong to you. Ironically, I felt this extra detail at the beginning of the entry, shall we say, cluttered it up too much, so I elected not to include it. However, this still needs a solution.
Now, it is possible I misunderstood exactly what you were saying and that you meant something different. If you're alluding to the fact that it is not in a sentence type format where the identity number is further back in the entry, I can understand what you mean. It does look a bit off to me as well. However, I figure that the entry should start with the most pertinent information first, and that information would be the airframe's identity number. I will note this proposed format is more or less an improved version of the format on existing entries such as the List of surviving Grumman F4F Wildcats – which is even worse in terms of "looking right".
I do realize the problems with being overly prescriptive and absolute negatives. The rules I laid out above could probably be a bit more relaxed in terms of what they allow. Possibly, something along the lines of exceptions can be made whenever no alternatives exist. Or maybe just scaled back in general. I do realize that the format should be written in such a way that it is accessible to all who want to contribute regardless of their level of involvement, and being too strict can make that difficult. However, I will note that part of my intent was to create a standardized format to eliminate all the different versions I have seen across aircraft articles on Wikipedia. It is my understanding that the reason that the style guide exists is to do just that. The page as a whole is not nearly as strict as what I have suggested, but I believe that specific sections of the style guide act as precedent. Specifically, as I already noted above, the first sentence in every aircraft article seems to follow a very prescribed format. Furthermore, it reflects the very specific categories of the specifications template that is used on all articles. –Noha307 (talk) 20:14, 30 March 2017 (UTC)

We do have a standard for laying out these sections I come back with a link when I find it (if we ever wrote it down!), I dont agree with a lot of your suggestions:

  1. Cant agree with not using aircraft aircraft registrations and disagree that we shopuld use construction numbers unless no other idientity is known. I would strongly oppose any guideline that doesnt use the registration or serial number as prime identity.
  2. We just need a reliable source no need to use a museum webiste if other sources identify the aircraft and location.
  3. Oppose strongly linking registrations to registry pages, not needed clutter and could be misleading.
  4. We do need to use the real identity of an airframe as well as showing any marking that it is displayed in.
  5. Photos are not reliable source - probably the only one I agree with.

A good example of a stand-alone the format used is List of surviving Blackburn Buccaneers where each aircraft is listed by country then by one of only three classifications: Airworthy/On Display/Stored or under restoration. So although I agree this should all be made clearer I oppose nearly all the points you make but we can discuss them. MilborneOne (talk) 14:54, 30 March 2017 (UTC)

I would also suggest that having looked at List of surviving Curtiss C-46 Commandos it particularly badly presented on a number of levels and clearly it is not the result we want for an encyclopedia. MilborneOne (talk) 15:01, 30 March 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback. To address your points in reverse order:
Yeah I will admit that the C-46 page is a mess. I will admit to doing a bad job when I made that one. It was a bit too much of a copy and paste from another website. It was before I really started coming up with any sort of sort of philosophy a format. Then after I made it, someone else started attempting to update it and that made it even worse. So yeah, that one is pretty bad. For that reason, I wouldn't look toward it for any sort of guidance. I would instead suggest the List of displayed Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23s as a good example of the type of layout I am proposing.
So you prefer taking the airframe's status (airworthy, on display, stored) out of the individual entries and instead organizing them according to sections? I could see using that instead. I would like to know what you think the advantages of that format are.
A while back I came across someone saying (unfortunately I can't remember where) that all airworthy airframes should have a reference to a current registry page. It made sense to me, so I started following it. I think it is a good policy because it is clearly reliable (since it comes from a government source) that supports the fact that the airframe can fly. Many other sources do not make it very obviously clear that an airframe is airworthy and are not nearly as up to date as the registry. Basically, I see it as an attempt to provide a reference that directly supports the specific part of the entry that indicates airworthiness. I don't really understand the clutter problem to which you are referring. All it does is add a single additional superscript number to the entry. I have seen a few instances of overzealous referencing on Wikipedia, but the "clutter" it doesn't seem to become a problem until there are 5 or 6 superscript references there. I will say that I am generally of the opinion that more references = better. Finally, I don't understand how using registrations could be misleading. I mean the records can be wrong every so often, but they are probably one of the most accurate sources out there.
What I should have probably said regarding using museum pages as references is that they should be used whenever possible, but are not strictly required. Something I noted on the section on my userpage, but failed to include above is that "[t]he use of the museum's website rather than a third-party website serves to prove that the airframe does indeed exist at that location, since they can be presumed to know better than anyone else what is in their collection."
There is a certain benefit to using aircraft registrations to identify an airframe. They are often the most recognizable feature of an airframe. That is to say, it is the most likely way an average, non-aviation knowledgable observer will be able to point out a specific airframe. However, I believe the downside of their lack of permanence outweighs the benefit of their ease of recognition. The fact that both one airframe can have multiple registrations and multiple airframes can have the same registration is just too confusing. And again, registrations do not provide for an easy ordering of a list of entries. Unfortunately, if we rule out registrations, the only two other good sources of airframe identification I am aware of are construction numbers and serial numbers, so those are what we have to use. I do think noting registrations in entries is okay, but they must not be used as the primary source of identification at the beginning of an entry.
If a standard does exist for formatting these SAAD sections I would love to see it. However, as I have never encountered one, I was forced to sort of work up one on my own based on a combination of the examples that already existed (which I might add conflicted in many cases) and what seemed to make the most sense based on some basic reasoning. –Noha307 (talk) 19:29, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
Regarding references: When I work on SAAD sections, each entry usually ends up having about 2-3 references. The first one being the page on the museum's website for the airframe. This confirms that the airframe actually exists at the museum. The second confirms the airframe's identity, as most (but not all) museum websites only note that there is an aircraft of that type at the museum, and don't mention the identity (or mention an identity number that is of the wrong type for the section). The third confirms that the airframe is currently airworthy by linking to it's airworthiness certificate from the national aviation authority. Each of these is necessary because without them, there would be uncited information in the entry. I will note that, one or more of these references can be omitted if the other references contain the necessary information, or in the case of static display entries, the third reference is not needed. –Noha307 (talk) 20:35, 30 March 2017 (UTC)
Since you brought up the poor state of the List of surviving Curtiss C-46 Commandos article, I decided to improve it a bit. A large portion of it still needs work, but the United States section has been overhauled to match the proposed format. I did this just to give some sort of idea how a page with that format might look. There is one entry each at the beginning and end of the section that still have poorly sourced/written notes, but ignore those. I left them in (with the proper failed verification tags) because I try to not remove too much of other people's work when possible. Similarly, ignore the T-33 and T-37 pages on my userpage. All 3 pages are more or less the result of me moving SAAD sections that had become too long for the main article to individual pages without editing them for formatting. I should have clarified not to use those as a reference for the proposed format. Once again, I would rather direct you to the List of displayed Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23s. –Noha307 (talk) 05:41, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
Just a quick look at Mig-23 and although the basic layout is getting close the complete lack of aircraft identities makes it fairly useless for most readers, in fact none of the aircraft are identified by anything the reader can understand a good example of why the constructors number has really no value in these lists. I am, note sure that is a reliable source either. Thanks for the reply User:Noha307 I am sure we can work something out I will reply to your points later when I have more time. MilborneOne (talk) 14:08, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
Actually, I was just realizing that the MiG-23 article is a great example to use to discuss the subject of whether or not to use construction numbers. For most military aircraft, I agree that the best way to identify them is by military serial number and not by construction number. However, MiG-23s – and Russian military aircraft in general – do not have any other good identification number (at least is so far as known in the West) to use to refer to them. The only other identification number I am aware of for Russian military aircraft is the bort, or side, number and those are so extremely vague and variable as to be nearly completely useless. (Keep in mind that there is a good chance they were intentionally used to make specific airframe identification difficult. We don't use modex numbers to identify to U.S. Navy airframes.) On the latter count they are even more so than civil aircraft registrations. Obviously, in other cases, when an civil aircraft registration exists, there is some argument to be made for using it in place of the construction number. However, given that the construction number is really the only viable number in this case, I would ask what you think should be used to identify the airframes on the MiG-23 article?
I would also question how articles such as the List of surviving Blackburn Buccaneers are any more useful to readers. Aside from the formatting differences and the use of military serial numbers in place of construction numbers there is not that much difference between the two lists. If you are arguing that one article is more valuable to readers because it uses military serial numbers instead of construction numbers, I would respond that to the average reader (who I assume to be a lay person in regards to aviation) military serial numbers are only slightly more meaningful. Again, I support the use of military serial numbers over construction numbers for this reason, but when that is not possible, construction numbers should be used as they are the next best thing. (Just to forestall any confusion, in this case I have set aside the subject of non-military airframes for the sake of argument, I still propose using construction numbers rather than registrations for reasons explained in my previous replies.)
I will admit that the website and many of the other sources that I have used on Wikipedia articles do not perfectly meet the requirements for reliable sources. However, without them it would be hard to provide references for pretty much any of the entries in these sections. Looking again at the list of Buccaneers, I notice that all the entries are cited to the Wrecks and Relics book, which is more or less a print version of websites like Aerial Visuals (or Warbird Registry, or Joe Baugher). For the List of surviving Saab 35 Drakens I noticed that you referenced EuroDemobbed, which is in a similar category and again therefore about just as reliable as AV or WR or JB. They are all essentially lists composed by a select few individuals with either no or very minimal peer review. As I noted above, I pointed out that forums and pictures do not count as reliable sources. Everything above, I regard seen as basically one step above those. I use them because they are basically the best that exists. I will point out that just because something exists in print does not make it reliable, as Mr. Harold A. Skaarup's Warbird Survivors series often just cites Wikipedia, so using it ends up citing in a circular fashion. Often, to combat the inherent problems with these sources when I am trying to determine the accuracy of information that is going to go into an entry, I try to cross reference a number of these references to determine if there are inconsistencies. However, to restate the above, I believe they are best we have and without them we have essentially nothing.
Finally, thanks for being willing to take the time to discuss this and "work something out" – especially amicably. I was afraid that this could devolve into something nasty, so I appreciate the good faith. I understand if you don't have the time to properly respond at the moment – that is not a problem. –Noha307 (talk) 19:38, 31 March 2017 (UTC)
Sorry for the delay, my main objection is identifying aircraft using the manufacturers serial number as it is not not something that is done outside of the fan/enthusisast websites. We do have a general consensus at Wikipedia:WikiProject Aviation/Registrations not to use MSNs.if the aircraft has a registration or serial number. MilborneOne (talk) 08:55, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
Thank you, I had never seen that page before. –Noha307 (talk) 01:13, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
A problem with many "historic" aircraft on display and/or flying is that they are either replicas or repainted in some more famous scheme, for example US registration N88XD is a flying replica of DH.88 Comet G-ACSS, complete with UK registration markings, while the last Spitfire Mk VIII delivered to the RAAF has been repainted as RG-V (a marking borne by all of Gibbes' several mounts while in RAAF service) but without any period military serial no. in the usual place. On the other hand many non-flying replicas, such as the Lee-Richards annular biplane replica built for the film Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines and now on display at Newark Air Museum, carry no serial at all. I agree with the point made above that manufacturer's construction numbers mean little to most visitors and moreover, as in the case of the Lee-Richards, they do not always exist. May I suggest that we approach the aircraft ID in a slightly less rigid way, something like:
[Notable distinctive identity] [Airframe Nickname] – [details (Variant/replica etc.)] is airworthy/on display/in storage at/with [Name of Museum, Airport, Owning Individual, etc.] in [City, Region].
and leave it up to local consensus for any specific tightening-up.
— Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 13:38, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
My answer would be that replicas should simply be referred with the word "replica" in place of any identity. If they use any small number of original parts, usually to provide an identity (e.g. Flug Werk Fw 190s), that can be noted in a following sentence in the entry. Airframes should always be referred to by the identity as which they were built (or left operational service). If they have been repainted or otherwise reconfigured to represent a different airframe, that should (again) be noted later in the entry.
If I were to sum up the debate here, I think the two sides are whether to identify an airframe according to what it actually is or what it represents. I would say we should follow the former, as the latter is essentially being less than accurate. For example, HA-1112s converted to resemble Bf 109s are either HA-1112s or replicas (depending on the level of parts replacement) – they can never become Bf 109s. To be clear, I am not saying that the "false" identities should not be included in the entry, but that it should not be the primary form of identification to begin the entry.
To address your suggestion, I would disagree with using the "notable distinctive identity". The end result would be that survivors/display sections would end up with some airframes referred to by actual identity and other by painted identity and having both on the same list would cause confusion – not to mention be completely contradictory to the concept of having (at least a somewhat) standardized format. To cite a specific case, I would like to know how your suggestion would deal with the flying Memphis Belle (44-83546) versus the actual Memphis Belle at the NMUSAF (41-24485) as both are painted with the name nickname and the latter serial number.
Interestingly, I recently encountered the problem of airframes with no identification whatsoever when dealing with the Hiller YH-32 Hornet. I had a phone conversation with the head of the Classic Rotors Museum while attempting to ID the airframes owned by his museum for the survivors section of the article. One of the airframes appeared to have been built up from parts years later and as a result never received a construction, military serial, or registration number. I had the same problem with two Bell 47s on display in Canada that were also assembled from parts. They don't really qualify as replicas since they use original parts, but they have also never been given any official form of identification.
Thanks for the input. –Noha307 (talk) 02:45, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
  • N3703G - B-17G painted as "41-24485" Memphis Belle owned by the Military Aircraft Restoration Corporation in Footown.
On Display
  • 41-24485 Memphis Bell - B-17G at the Foo Museum, Fooville.

would be my starting point based roughly on the Steelpillow suggestion. MilborneOne (talk) 15:40, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

I strongly disagree with using civil registrations to identify retired military airframes. While I can understand using civil registrations for non-military airframes, I can see no such reason for using them with military airframes.
The importance of the airframe is that it was once a military aircraft, using a civil registration belies that fact. The organizations operating them are celebrating the airframes for their military, not civilian service. Furthermore, in the larger context of the article it makes more sense to use military serial numbers, as the focus of the article is almost always on the military use of the aircraft type.
It is far more useful to any potential Wikipedia reader to identify, say, a B-17 by its military serial number rather than its civil registration, as they are more commonly known by the former rather than the latter. (Although, to be honest, to most laypersons don't even distinguish an airframe by anything more than its type. When the B-17 lands at their local airport, it is just a "B-17", not serial number 44-83546, not Memphis Belle, not N3703G.)
Note that the precedent on Wikipedia has been to use military serial numbers for military airframes. Of the 32 dedicated survivor articles that include at least one airworthy airframe, 30 use military serial numbers in some form, and 24 use serial numbers primarily or do not use registrations at all.
For the sake of comparison, here the format I would propose:
  • 44-83546 Memphis Belle (movie) – VB-17G with the National Warplane Museum Geneseo, New York. It is painted as 41-24485, registered as N3703G, and configured as a B-17F.[1][2][3] (I don't know exactly how to format the nickname, due to its use on two different airframes.)
Static Display


  1. ^ "Enter Title". National Warplane Museum. National Warplane Museum. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "Airframe Dossier - Boeing VB-17G Fortress, s/n 44-83546 USAAF, c/n 32187, c/r N3703G". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N3703G]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  4. ^ "Boeing B-17F Memphis Belle™". National Museum of the US Air Force. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2016. 

Noha307 (talk) 23:05, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

  • I dont think we are that far apart other than I strongly disagree with using former military serials for flying aircraft that have a valid primary identification, that is a civil registration. I dont have a problem using military serials for non-flying aircraft in a museum although it should be the last military serial worn and related to how the aircraft is displayed rather than an earlier American one as sometimes happens. MilborneOne (talk) 16:04, 26 April 2017 (UTC)
Sorry for the delay. I'm not quite sure what to say on the topic of primary identification for airworthy retired military aircraft at this point, beyond disagreeing strongly with using registrations and not military serial numbers. Given the impasse, I suggest putting that issue aside for a moment, if you don't mind, and dealing with another issue related to formatting aircraft survivor entries. Do you think it is better to include the airframe's variant in the entry itself, or to put the variant in a subsection/subheader? In other words, like this:
Static display

or like this:

Static display

(To see the comparison on a larger scale, compare this edit with this edit. Please ignore the airworthy/static display header changes.)

I tend to prefer the former, but I am open to using the latter if you can justify it. I will admit that the former may be somewhat of my own creation, and that the latter seemed to be the established precedent on Wikipedia before I started. The former leaves less clutter on the page and can be rather odd when there is only one entry in each subsection. (cf. the bottom of the "on display" subsection in the 2nd C-47 link above) This leads me to believe this format was developed with articles such as the List of surviving North American P-51 Mustangs in mind, as there are many more entries per variant and there are fewer variants overall. Finally, each entry can stand on its own if the variant is included in it.

On a related note, what markup should the the subsections use? Should they use semicolons (as with the "Static display" in the example above), or should they use the heading syntax (e.g. the surviving aircraft section for the Fa 330 article). I've seen and used both, and I would like to standardize.

I can agree with your comment about last military serial versus earlier American one. I initially was of the opposite opinion, but as you will note on the philosophy section of my userpage, I have since struck out the portion mentioning that. The American military serial numbers are often simply provisional "paper exercises" and using the foreign serial numbers does not risk implicitly denigrating the cultural heritage of the other country.

To refer back to an earlier part of this discussion, even though I might not completely agree with it, I can accept using civil registrations as the primary identification for commercial airliners. I can recognize that it is how they are most commonly referred to and there is a benefit to that. (However, to be clear, I am still not convinced that civil registrations should be used in place of construction numbers for lists of general aviation airframes.)

Finally, thanks again for sticking with this discussion since I know that I have been long-winded. –Noha307 (talk) 04:16, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Thats OK better to talk these things through even if it takes a while, just your first point I prefer that the variant be included inline, your "first version". I will get back to the other points when I have more time. MilborneOne (talk) 11:47, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Replicas and reproductions[edit]

Recently, I have been working on a number of survivors sections for World War I aircraft, and I have encountered a new problem. A large number of the airframes in those sections are replicas/reproductions. As a result the existing section headers of "Surviving aircraft" and "Aircraft on display" don't quite fit. (Aircraft on display could work, except many of the replicas/reproductions fly, and since that category is really for static display airframes, it won't work.) I believe that many of the replicas are notable, as even the most prestigious aviation museums display them, so deleting the entries doesn't seem like an appropriate solution.

Another problem is that sometimes distinctions are made between reproductions, which are generally seen as using authentic building techniques and methods, and replicas, which use modern ones. As a result, some of the existing sections use "reproductions" in their title and others use "replicas". This obviously works against the idea behind the style guide. Some articles, such as the following, combine both survivors and reproductions into a single section:

  • Survivors and modern reproductions[1]
  • Survivors and flyable reproductions[2]
  • Existing aircraft and reproductions[3]
  • Surviving aircraft and replicas[4]

Others split originals and replicas/reproductions into two sections:

  • Surviving aircraft & Replicas[5]

What are your (or anyone else's) thoughts on this matter? Do you have any ideas for a standardized format? –Noha307 (talk) 02:38, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

My own view is that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and not a museum guide. I think that your distinction between reproductions and replicas is a useful one too. Whether the thing is on display is neither here nor there in terms of article structure. Better to have separates sections for the survivors and the R&R's and just note within each section (either by a sub-grouping or a note against each machine) whether it is a) flyable and b) on display. See for example the De Havilland DH.88 Comet racer.— Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 10:08, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Table Format for survivors[edit]

I find the current format for listing surviving examples of aircraft quite cluttered and difficult to read. I strongly believe that a table format would make the information much more presentable and accessible for users. At present, there are already some lists that use tables, such as those for Avro Vulcans and Douglas Invaders. A table would allow different fields to be separated into unique cells, thus dividing relevant information into categories. Additionally, a table would allow the inclusion of images for individual examples. I have modified one page, List of surviving Avro Lancasters, with a format I devised that I think is superior to what we are using at present. Please have a look and feel free to comment.

My rationale for not including a column for a plane's name is that, first, names generally only exist for bombers and seldom appear on other classes of plane. Second, the names many planes use are tributes to other aircraft. For example, Lancaster FM136 is painted as "Jenkins' Express," which was really Lancaster KB895. Additionally, many planes (such as Lancaster PA474 or Liberator 44-44052) change their name and paint scheme regularly. I believe that name is best included in the field "Post-service," which allows for the inclusion of museum and presentation history.

The fields "service" and "post-service" allow for an in-depth explanation of the aircraft's provenance. Again, having two separate fields for the plane's history divides the information logically. The table I made is sortable. This allows individuals to sort aircraft by serial number or location.

Finally, beneath the table I have included information on surviving sections of planes/salvaged wreckage, and known wrecks. As these examples do not represent aircraft that survive in complete form in museums, I felt that they should be noted elsewhere. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tsc9i8 (talkcontribs)

Thanks for the explanation Tsc9i8 just a few general comments, have you looked at these big tables on a tablet or similar device? In general prose is better than tables for presenting information as it is not prescribed. The main idea of the "flyable" / "on display" / "stored or under restoration" is to give the reader an idea of the availability of aircraft to be seen and it would be a shame to loose such distinction. In the table I don't see why the location has to be split between geographic or corporate or perhaps corporate is the wrong word to use here. One of the main problems with creating walls of text for each aircraft is that frankly most museum aircraft are only noteworthy for being in the museum and don't have a particularly interesting or notable history. "Flew with the Foo Air Force used as an instructional airframe and ended up being the only survivor so placed in the museum" is fairly typical. A page like the Gnat in this table format would be particularly bland and mainly blank in detail. Generally we don't list bits of aircraft (like cockpits and such like) particularly if complete aircraft exist unless they are noteworthy for some reason. The same for wrecks they are mostly not noteworthy which is why they don't normally feature in the lists so shouldn't be considered a "standard" feature of these lists. In the Avro Lancaster it would be better to feature the more notable aircraft in a separate section (or article) in the current listing, there is no reason why more information cant be added to the current list format if needed. These are some general comments as I am busy with some real life at the moment, thanks. MilborneOne (talk) 08:46, 23 July 2017 (UTC)
I agree with several points you made. First, you are right that it is worth noting whether an plane is airworthy or not. Perhaps the best way to do this would be with either a colour code or a symbol. The symbol, for example, could be a silhouette of an aircraft, located beneath the serial number. I made this change in the Lancaster list. Have a look and see what you think. I do not think it is worth distinguishing between "under restoration" and "static." It would be very difficult to keep this up to date, and, quite often, a plane that is under restoration is also viewable to the public.
I also agree that too much text in the provenance (service and post-service) columns can be a problem. For planes such as WWII bombers where there are few surviving examples, a lengthy history is valuable. For fighters, though, where there can be hundreds, this information can be a bit much. My solution to this would simply be to tailor the description to the needs of the page. If there are hundreds of examples, such as in the List of surviving Supermarine Spitfires, only a sentence or two for the provenance would be sufficient. None the less, I think it is still important to be able to include such data. Knowing, for example, that a plane participated in a famous battle or was flown by a famous pilot is important. If the provenance cells for an insignificant plane remain blank, so be it.
You are right that listing bits and pieces of planes should be excluded. I was not the one who included this information. I do, however, think that including "known wrecks" is interesting, as people often visit these (think Kee Bird) and they represent planes that have the possibility to be recovered.
I do feel that distinguishing between the geographic location and the corporate location is important. This is simply a matter of visual clarity.
My main argument for changing the lists of surviving aircraft to tables is that the vast majority of lists in Wikipedia are in table format; these aircraft pages are a rare exception. A few random examples are List of sovereign states, List of ocean liners, List of Russian-language novelists, and List of Greek mythological figures. There are infinitely more. Additionally, many of these lists contain detailed information and photographs, in the same style as the format I devised.
Major problem with proposed layout, which is why I reverted it under principle of BRD, is that small text has been used. Now I'm afraid I'm getting on a bit and it's my eyesight that isn't so good but even if my sight was sharp there's reasons we don't put bulk of text in reduced size font. I'll also add - in my opinion- the example layout is still in page history and can be linked to; it doesn't need to remain in suboptimal form for ordinary readers. GraemeLeggett (talk) 21:00, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
That said, I can point to number of featured lists that are not wholly tabular. Eg List of battleships of Germany. GraemeLeggett (talk) 21:04, 26 July 2017 (UTC)
Not necessarily opposed to the idea, but a few comments:
  • I do like the fact that a table would make the list sortable.
  • I can also say that a table does tend to make the content a bit more readable.
  • The list you made does not have a column to indicate the variant of each airframe. This is an important part of an airframe's information and shouldn't be excluded.
  • The entries for the latter two sections begin with the country. I believe entries should begin with the airframe's serial/construction/registration number as it is the most important piece of information in identifying them.
  • I do not like the idea of using an icon to indicate whether an airframe is airworthy. This adds an extra layer of complexity that is not necessary by simply using the words "airworthy" or "static display". Also, the icon does not really fit well with the text and stands out a bit too much.
  • The format should be the same on both dedicated survivor articles and survivors sections of aircraft articles. The table format does not seem like it would fit in an aircraft article. Note that other similar list-type sections such as "operators" and "variants" in aircraft articles are composed of a bullet pointed list and are not tables. It seems that if survivors sections become tables, so should these other sections.
  • Wikipedia prefers prose, and I would say that bulleted lists are more prose-like and less jarring to the reader when contrasted with the text in an article. (I may be mis- and/or overapplying the Wikipedia policy.)
  • The current format is relatively widespread and as such it has precedent. Anyone wishing to change to tables should ideally endeavor to change all instances over. –Noha307 (talk) 02:06, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

What happened to this page??? I understand the simplicity of the table but gone are the versions, partial airframes, etc. I worked on getting these survivor pages update with the correct Information but at least b consistent on all of them. Now this is a table and the others are lists. And information and airframes are missing. Redjacket3827 (talk)redjacket3827

Regarding variants, if you think that noting this is important, it could be included in the plane's history. This would also allow for notes on planes that were modified to a newer variant during their life.
Regarding partial airframes, in the comments above, MilborneOne suggested that surviving aircraft pages should not include bits of planes, such as cockpits or chunks of fuselage. I agree with him on that point. The lists are of surviving, complete aircraft, not sections or parts.
If people are not opposed to it, I can work on changing pages over to a table format. Obviously, this takes time. Therefore, there will be some pages that have been changed and others that have not been.
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Tsc9i8 (talkcontribs)
if we're putting it to the !Vote. I'm, opposed. I don't think table is a superior format to text especially considering access for mobile devices. Inclusion of part frames might depend upon notability on a case by case basis, eg if the frame is on its way to becoming whole. But inclusion is not relevant to table vs prose formatting. Tables are good for comparing data side by side (or for sorting to find certain rows) and it looks like trying to shoehorn a list into one doesn't work. GraemeLeggett (talk) 05:24, 11 August 2017 (UTC)

I think that rather than vote, it would be best to create a list of pros and cons for a table format. Instead of exchanging opinions, looking objectively at the benefits and drawbacks would allow us to come to a reasonable conclusion. I have started a list below, and invite everyone to add to it. As I am obviously for the change, I have come up with far more "pros" than "cons."

Finally, several individuals seem to have feelings of consternation over not including in the table the variant as a primary category of information, as it is in the current format. My response to this is twofold. First, while the variant is important, I do not think that people would be interested in a plane specifically because of its variant. Because of this, serial number is therefore the best way to organize the list. Second, many planes are updated to newer variants throughout their lifespans. In an instance where a plane has changed multiple times, should it be listed as the model that it was built as or the final model it served as? I believe that the column "service history" would properly allow for the full variant history of each plane.


  • vast majority of lists in Wikipedia are in table format
  • sortable
  • allows for an image of each plane
  • table rows visually separate items better than bullet points do
  • allows division of information by category into unique cells
  • number of headings, sub-headings, and sub-sub-headings in current format is disorienting


  • illegible on phone screen
  • does not divide planes by variant (if so desired, we could add a column for variant)

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Tsc9i8 (talkcontribs)

As is clear from previous comments I oppose the use of tables for this type of information but just to add to my previous comments:
  • vast majority of lists in Wikipedia are in table format - the lists we have been using are clear and concise the tables, encourage filling in fields with in some cases plainly junk, the list format allows for either the basic information or an expansion of information as required.
  • Sortable - not sure what advantage that has over searching, the current lists are broken down by country I am not sure mixing them up just so they can be sorted is of any help.
  • table rows visually separate items better than bullet points do - I would have to disagree the lists clearly made a difference between airworthy, on display and those hidden away for some reason, not something that is obvious in the table.
  • allows division of information by category into unique cells - not sure what this achieves apart from more cells to populate when they are not actually needed.
  • Also notes most service histories for survivors are not that noteworthy to include but the table format would encourage people to populate it with - the Vulcan article is a good example with such gems as "9/27/35/50/A/CM/O/W/WS" is any of that noteworthy? Most preserved aircraft are survivors by accident and some have an interesting story about being preserved, the actually "service history" in most cases is not worth comment. MilborneOne (talk) 17:50, 12 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Just a note about bits of aircraft being listed, consensus for a long time is we dont list cockpits, large bit of fuselage, small bits of anything and wrecks, they are just not encyclopedic and should be left to the enthusiast websites. If the large bit is the only thing left and no whole aircraft exist then it may be worth a mention. MilborneOne (talk) 17:50, 12 August 2017 (UTC)

How about this: change the name of the field now called "location (corporate)" to "owner," and combine the "service" and "post service" columns into a single field called "history." This way, the new "history" field could include as much or as little information as one wants, depending on the notability of the aircraft. It would allow for ample flexibility, and could include any relevant information about production location, variant, modifications, military service, restorations, and changes of ownership. Inclusion of this information is entirely up to users. The mandatory fields (serial, location, owner, and photograph) would remain unique fields. I'll change it in the Lancaster page and see how it works.Tsc9i8 (talk) 22:50, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

See also - Comparable aircraft: capability or configuration[edit]

There is a discrepancy between this guide saying "those of similar role, era, and capability" and the actual output of the template saying "Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era". This need to be harmonized. IMO capability is more important than configuration (an airliner with a high wing should not be compared only to high wing airliners but to airliners of the same capacity) but in the actual usage of the template, the configuration prime.--Marc Lacoste (talk) 06:05, 29 June 2017 (UTC)

One might ask, are we trying to compare the aircraft in technical, operational, visual or some other terms? The template's label refers to "similar aircraft", but by what criteria? There are obviously a large number of single-engine low-wing monoplane fighters of the WWII era. For example the Supermarine Spitfire article lists eleven such types, all with similar inline engines - no radials here. Two of them are the Bell Airacobra and the Heinkel He 112. The first of these looks very different, having a mid-mounted engine and tricycle undercarriage, while the second has a similar-looking elliptical wing but inferior performance and was very much an also-ran compared to the others listed. The Focke Wulf Fw 190 is listed and has a radial engine, but none of the other successful fighters of this configuration are listed. As another example, the De Havilland DH.88 Comet article lists the Grigorovich E-2 which was smaller and had a different role but was (verifiably) inspired both technically and aesthetically by the Comet. I'd like to suggest that we keep the guideline wording as vague as possible so as not to rule out deserving criteria, and instead focus on the encyclopedic requirement for verification. The guideline could say something along the lines of, "those of noted similarity", and the template, "Aircraft of noted similarity". — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 08:54, 29 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your input. Maybe being too broad would open the door to drifting too far? Note my original goal is only to harmonize between the template output and this guide, not stir a large debate.--Marc Lacoste (talk) 21:00, 29 June 2017 (UTC)
Good point on the labeling inconsistency. Capability, e.g. payload, range, or other measure is a better for comparing aircraft that perform similar duties but are designed differently, imo. --Finlayson (talk) 21:53, 29 June 2017 (UTC)
Template:Aircontent is edit protected and needs an admin to change the labeling text from "configuration" to "capability". This requires an admin to help, provided there are no objections here? -Finlayson (talk) 14:19, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
Just a note of caution – whatever change is put in place, it would be helpful if the guidelines are clear to avoid disputes. For example, in WP:CARS we got rid of the "related" entry which used to appear in individual automobile articles because it was a recipe for arguing and edit warring over whether a certain vehicle was designed to have the same capability as another. At least at a surface level it seems that configuration is less ambiguous than capability. Capability may be ultimately more useful to discuss, but it's harder to objectively dispute configuration. I'm not opposed to a change, however, just making an observation.Regards, SynergyStar (talk) 16:11, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Good points. We have some articles where numerous back & forth edits over comparable aircraft occur. For these we get a consensus on the article's talk page to remove the comparable field and leave a hidden note. This is a case by case thing, but similar. --Finlayson (talk) 16:29, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
That sounds like a good solution! Hopefully such a process will be useful for future contingencies. Regards SynergyStar (talk) 16:45, 30 June 2017 (UTC)