Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (aircraft)/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Naming questions

I see there are a number of pages describing specific aircraft (planes, helicopters), but they are not named as I would like to see them. That is of course not a good reason; there's more to it. First, I think the name of the manufacturer should be included, so include Lockheed with the F-117 Nighthawk. Secondly, I think the "names" of planes are not always official. I don't know about the American planes, but many Russian aircraft have NATO designations, such as the "Hind" helicopter. Any other ideas, or counter-arguments? jheijmans

I don't think that's such a good idea -- a central tenet of wikipedia naming conventions is to give articles names that will be have the greatest chance of being directly linked to within an edit window of another article. I rarely hear discussions of American military aircraft that include the manufacturer's name as part of the title. Compare the 448 results for "Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk" to the 5000 results for "F-117 Nighthawk" and 56,700 results for simply "F-117". However, I am not sure if the last one really is the best since it could be considered to be more ambiguous than "F-117 Nighthawk" -- which for me at least sounds like a type of fighter. At the very least F-117 should be a redirect to the current article. But of course it isn't -- and since this is the most likely candidate for linking I think this is a problem -- people just don't bother making redirects for more common names of things when they devise overly elaborate ways of naming articles. This is why we have naming conventions. I guess you could say that I am now leaning towards the format of F-117 for at least those aircraft which are most famously known by their letter and number classification (such as the [[F-4]], [[F-16]] ect.). Notable exceptions would be civilian aircraft such as the Boeing 747 or Airbus 380 and probably some non-US military aircraft such as the Mig 21 (which are all best known by those titles, BTW). Everything else should be a case-by-case basis and there will probably be exceptions to any general rules we make up for different types and classes of aircraft. Hope this helps. --maveric149

I think this - again - amounts to the point whether article should bear the names that are mostly used or not. I think that, if possible, articles should bear the best name possible, and have redirects for alternative names. If this best name also happens to be the most used one, that's fine. But United States of America isn't the most used name (at least not the most linked). But it is the official name, and the only unambiguous one (Mexico are officially also "Estados Unidos", if I'm correct). But, there are redirects for US, USA, United States, and that works fine. So, I'd say: create Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, and have redirects for F-117, F-117 Nighthawk, and maybe even for Nighthawk (though I don't think there's a bird named like that). Similar cases where this already happens are the languages and civilisations. Though most references are "English" or "Spanish", the articles are really called "English language" and "Spanish language" Also, the "Etruscans" are located at "Etruscan civilization", while would normally link to that page. But as long as the redirects work, that's fine with me. I also see, however, that this would be difficult to achieve, since people usually, like you say, don't set up any redirects at all. jheijmans

This is a tricky question and I'm not immediately sure what I would even suggest. One thought though:

I'm pretty sure that there is an internationally standard list of designations for just about every aircraft that flies, with the possible exception of "pure" recreational aircraft like ultralights and parachute aircraft.

These designators are standardized so that they can be used in things like flight plans and air traffic control data strips. I'm not sure how useful they would be in our context here, but they might provide some ideas on how we could handle it. Also, the terse designators (eg. "PA28" is a Piper Cherokee) might also have an official verbose name for the aircraft, and THAT might be useful to us.

Anyway, I'll look around and see what I can find, and report back here. If someone else figures it out in the mantime, well, that's good too. Jghiii 17:25 Feb 6, 2003 (UTC)

Possible aircraft naming conventions

Just the number

Examples: [[F-4]] -- C-47 -- DH-82a -- --- -- MiG-21 -- A320 -- III

  • Many aircraft don't have a number, particularly French and British ones.
  • The number is not always well-known. Not many readers looking for the Tiger Moth are going to know to look under "DH-82a". In the case of less well-known aircraft, the number can be completely meaningless. What's an "F-21"?
  • It can be ambiguous: "U-2" vs the band "U2", "707" vs the date.
  • It can be uninformative - having a manufacturer or aircraft name helps the reader grasp what the article is all about
  • Many aircraft have several different numbers: "DC-3" and "C-47"; the F4F Wildcat had quite a few; the military version of the Boeing 707 has had maybe a dozen different numbers for different purposes; and several of the WWII twin-engined bomber/attack/night fighter aircraft had various "F", "B", and "A" prefixes, being well known under each. Then there are the ones that change their numbers as they go along: the DC-9, C-89, MD-80, MD-81, MD-90, and the 717 are all (more-or-less) the same aircraft!.
  • Natural flow: Excellent - you often do want to write "F-111".

Just the name

Examples: Phantom II -- Dakota -- Tiger Moth -- Spitfire -- Fishbed -- --- -- Mirage

  • Some aircraft don't have a name at all, just a number. All the Airbus ones, for example: A300, A320, A330, A380, and so on.
  • Can be ambiguous. Consider "Tornado". (Is it the WWII vintage, Rolls-Royce Vulture-engined Tempest/Fury? Or the modern European jet fighter?) "Mirage" could be any of several. For that matter, what is a "Jumbo Jet"? A 747? Or any very large civil aircraft, such as an A340 or a DC-10? (Or should that be "MD-11"!?)
  • Often needs disambiguation. ("Tornado" again, and a host of others.).
  • Many aircraft have several different names - which one to chose? Did Douglas make the "Boston"? Or the "Havoc"? Was the Grumman F4F a "Wildcat" or a "Martlett"?
  • Some aircraft have official names that are so silly that no-one uses them. WTF is a "Dragon Lady", a "Skystar", a "Strikefighter", a "Peacemaker", a "Nightingale" or a "Spectre"? (For that matter "Fighting Falcon" is pretty dumb too, and RJ Mitchell, when he heard that his immortal creation was to be called "Spitfire" said "Sort of bloody silly idea that they would come up with!)
  • Some aircraft, notably the Soviet ones, if they have names at all, have ones that may not readily translate into English, and which certainly are not well-known. Use of the NATO reporting names ("Flogger", Fishbed", and so on) is possible but few of these are well known, and there are other difficulties with this (described below).
  • Natural flow: excellent. It's the single most common way to write of an aircraft - certain;y outside the USA, and possibly inside it too.

Number and name.

Examples: F-4 Phantom II -- C-47 Dakota -- DH-82a Tiger Moth -- Spitfire -- MiG-21 Fishbed -- A320 -- Mirage III

  • The single most common method at present.
  • Numbers and names don't always line up. Consider the Curtis P-40, which had three different names, all of them well-established: "Tomahawk", "Kittyhawk", and "Warhawk".
  • It's US-centric. As a general rule, US English speakers seem more likely to use the number - "F-4" or "F-4 Phantom" - where British English speakers tend to use - "McDonnell-Douglas Phantom" or just plain "Phantom".
  • Names and numbers can both be problematic at times: see "just the name" and "just the number" above.
  • Natural flow: reasonably good. You often do want to write "F-4 Phantom", but it's probably even more common to want to write just "Phantom" or just "F-4"

Manufacturer and name

Examples: McDonnell-Douglas Phantom II -- Douglas Dakota -- De Havilland Tiger Moth -- Supermarine Spitfire -- Mikoyan Fishbed -- Airbus -- Dassault Mirage

  • Not always unambiguous. Do we mean the Mirage III? Or the Mirage 5, Mirage 50, Mirage F1, Mirage IV, or Mirage 2000?
  • Which manufacturer? Manufacturers change quite often. At what point do we decide to accept a new manufacturer with an old product? Consider the De Havilland 126, Hawker Siddeley 146, BAE 146, BAE RJX - all the same aircraft. Should we say McDonnell Phantom? Or McDonnell Douglas Phantom? Or should that be "Boeing Phantom"? After all, we are supposed to call the DC-9 (in its latest incarnation) the "Boeing 717", and the F/A-18 is now officially the "Boeing Hornet". Heck - why not be consistent about it and have the "Boeing DC-3" and the "BAE Spitfire"?
  • Easily the clearest for most English, many European, and not a few American aircraft
  • Natural flow: reasonably good. You might not want to write "McDonnell Douglas Phantom" too often, let alone "General Dynamics Aardvark", but "Hawker Hurricane" and "Vickers Viscount" flow off the pen well.

Manufacturer and number

Examples: McDonnell-Douglas F-4 -- Douglas DC-3 -- De Havilland DH82a -- Supermarine -- Mikoyan MiG-21 -- Airbus A320 -- Dassault III

  • Speaks for itself - sometime works well, sometimes ridiculous.
  • Natural flow: pretty good when it works at all.

Everything! (Manufacturer, number, name, rank, and serial number. Well, the first three, at any rate.)

Examples: McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II -- Douglas DC-3 Dakota -- De Havilland DH-82a Tiger Moth -- Supermarine Spitfire -- Mikoyan MiG-21 Fishbed -- Airbus A320 -- Dassault Mirage III

  • Still inconsistent - everything has a name or a number,but many don't have both.
  • Many of the problems with multiple names and/or numbers still apply
  • Natural flow: horrible! You have to edit just about every single link.

Ad Hoc - Give up on a consistent policy and just carry on with the current chaos.

  • Might well be the best answer!

A possible rough guideline - Use the most common unambiguous name/number.

Examples: F-4 Phantom II -- Douglas DC-3 -- De Havilland Tiger Moth -- Supermarine Spitfire -- Mikoyan MiG-21 -- Airbus A-320 -- Dassault Mirage III

In general, this will be:

  • US civil aircraft: Manufacturer and name or number as appropriate according to common usage: Boeing 707, Cessna Citation, Cessna 172, Convair 880 (not "Convair Skylark" or "Convair Golden Arrow". Try to avoid using name and number unless it is clearly needed for some reason. (I can't think of an example right now, but doubtless there are some.)
  • Soviet aircraft: Manufacturer and number: Mikoyan MiG-21, Sukhoi Su-27, Tupolev Tu-144. (But there are exceptions: the Sturmovik is best known by that name.) Use of the NATO reporting name - which has absolutely nothing to do with the wishes of the people who designed, made, bought, and flew the aircraft - is offensive and should be avoided, though it can be mentioned as an alternative name in the text if appropriate.
  • Japanese aircraft. Manufacturer and number. The US names ("Zeke", "Tony", "Betty", "Judy", and so on) are no better than, and probably even worse than the NATO reporting names for Soviet aircraft. Unfortunately, hardly anyone knows what the proper names are. On the whole, I am inclined to lean towards the view that we should go with the proper names even so, which are generally of the form Nakajima B5N or Kawasaki Ki-61 - better known to us ignorant Westerners as the the 'Kate' and the 'Tony'. After all, we no longer write "Mao Tse-tung", we have learned to use "Mao Zedung". We can learn to use the proper Japanese names too. (And - damn it! - I can't find my best sourcebook for these! Looked everywhere.)
  • Mixed origin aircraft such as the BAE Hawk made under licence by McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing as the T-45 Goshawk, or a great many Westland helicopters made under licence from Sikorsky, not to mention the Soviet clones of the DC-3 and the B-29. A curly one. We just have to play these on their merits. Often, two seperate articles will be needed anyway - like the present Hawker Siddeley Harrier and AV-8 Harrier II. If not, primacy should usually go to the design manufacturer rather than the one making it under licence.

Tannin 13:38 Feb 5, 2003 (UTC)

Tannin, excellent job for explicating the issues with naming conventions on aircraft. I'd lean towards a convention that generally includes "everything" except where it makes good sense to make an exception. I'm not sure how I feel about oddities like: "Lockheed AC-130" versus "Lockheed AC-130 Spectre/Spooky"; OR "Convair 880" versus "Convair 880 Skylark/Golden Arrow"; OR "Curtis P-40" rather than "Curtis P-40 Tomahawk/Kittyhawk/Warhawk". I lean towards the everything approach because it would work as a catch all whether someone is unfamiliar or not with less common references like "Dragon Lady", "Fighting Falcon", "Flogger" or "Fulcrum". I think the everything approach is superior to the what is common or what comes naturally rule which is a wishy washy standard and amounts to guessing what is natural to most people or endorsing an idiosyncratic preference. B 23:53 Feb 5, 2003 (UTC)
What is common and has a reasonable minimum of ambiguity is the convention that needs to be followed here. Leave information that isn't needed to uniquely distinguish one aircraft from another out of the title -- that is what the article is for. A title is useless if it isn't easy to link to or search for. That is why we prefer common names of persons and things. --mav
Few will disagree that unambiguous, common, simple and brief are priorities in naming conventions, but how the naming rule applies to aircraft in contrast to, say, people is different. So, repeating or referring to the rule again doesn't really help. Aircraft names generally do not have quite the same problem as names of people, for example, deciding to use Bill Clinton rather than William Jefferson Clinton. Obviously, where an aircraft has some reference to manufacturer, number and name, the aircraft is generally referred to in that order: the McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom, F-4 Phantom, F-4 or Phantom. They are all relatively common names depending on the preference of a group of people. Given that wide commonality versus which of a number of particular aircraft monikers is most common, the former should be the prevailing factor. More people are accomodated by a title that shows as much of "everything" as is useful; it will have a greater chance of coming up on the varying search queries than one which relies on a particular, supposedly most common name. In the F-4 case it also still leaves a person a chance of finding the article in a search where he is looking for a particular aircraft but only remembers or uses, say, the manufacturer and the name like McDonnell-Douglas Phantom. I suggest this only as a general guideline with exceptions as appropriate on a case-by-case basis. B 21:14 Feb 6, 2003 (UTC)
I think Tannin's proposal most closely follows common usage while not being ambiguous or overly wordy. Redirects will catch the longer names. But the article title should reflect what will most often be linked to or searched for directly while at the same time making sure the title isn't too ambiguous. U-2, for example, looks like a rock band, a hypothetical isotope of uranium, a U-Boat and a spy aircraft. F-14 is an isotope of fluorine and an aircraft.But when you add the name along with the number then, at that point, you uniquely ID the aircraft. That is as far as disambiguation needs to go - no farther. --mav
Necessary AND sufficient? With redirects, probably in most cases...just don't mind the extra language for redirected articles and the usage-bias in the name. Still McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom is not overly wordy (nor generally would most titles using the manufacturer-number-name format) and is even less ambiguous. So is Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady. And if "the article title should reflect what will most often be linked to or searched for directly", that suggests using a fuller title to catch more search queries. What else can be said? B
Read the general statement on the naming conventions page that talks about making linking easy while reasonably unambiguous. Unnecessarily long and complex title are not easy to link to or remember and there very existence encourages others to create long and complex titles. This is often done to the exclusion of even including a redirect from the commonly-used term. All this has been discussed and debated many many times and the current conventions reflect the consensus that has already been reached. I see no point in arguing over something that has already been decided. --mav 23:10 Feb 6, 2003 (UTC)
Ok, mav you're wearing me out. I've already spent more time on this than I care to. If you truly feel that it doesn't merit much more discussion, then maybe the first sentence on the third paragraph down in the Wikipedia:Naming conventions article should be changed which reads: "It is important to note that these are conventions, not rules written in stone." BTW what do you think of the idea of changing "wikipedia" to "mavipedia"? ;) B

Seeing as it appears I've been writing most of the articles lately, I'll just explain what standard I've been using...

German, Japanese and American planes generally have no name, any name you're familiar with is often a nickname. US planes only "really" started getting names around 41/42, so that means about 1/2 and 1/2. The oddball are the British planes, where the name really is the designation. Anyway for all of these I've used manufacturer/designation in all cases...

Aichi D3A Heinkel He 112 Bristol Beaufort

Yeah, I know, Heinkel and He are redundant, but as others have noted above, this is likely how people would look for them.

In the articles itself I've used bold for the designation, and the name in italics. I haven't covered any US planes with official names, but when I do I will include that in the bold part as well.

User:Maury Markowitz

Thanks, Maury. The names you are using seem to agree pretty much exactly with what I proposed (and also with what Mav is suggesting). Or, to put it the proper way about and not invert cause and effect as I did just now, your in-practice article names and my draft guidelines both reflect common practice within the aircraft industry. (Which, in my view, is what Wikipedia ought to be using as a guide.)
I'll wait a little while to see if any latecomers want to say something, but if no further points or contrasting opinions are brought up, I propose to tidy up the guidelines and move them over to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (aircraft). Please note these would be guidelines, not cast-iron rules.
I'll also continue my current project to index all the aircraft articles (nearly finished now but I don't have them all in a sensible place yet - I'll get to that bit eventually). Tannin 06:33 Feb 7, 2003 (UTC)

I've just finished making a list of all the aircraft we currently have entries on. Doubtless I've missed one or two, but my count makes it 121 entries in total. Nine of these are helicopters (about which I know little) and I propose to ignore. (At least for now.)

That leaves 111 aircraft entries. According to the guidelines suggested above, 87 out of the 111 (78%) have the "correct" title. I take this as strong evidence that the guidelines are on the right track. This should be no surprise - after all, the guidelines I suggested are really only a detailed spelling out of existing Wikipedia general policy, and most contributors are following that already.)

Of the 87:

  • 33 use manufacturer & model number (mostly German, Soviet, and US civil types)
  • 31 use number & name (all US military types)
  • 23 use manufacturer & name (mostly British types).

Of the remaining 24, as I see it:

  • 14 are clearly wrong and should be changed
  • 3 probably wrong
  • 7 are special cases to be taken individually

In detail, the 14 I have classified as "wrong" are:

Another 3 I've classed as "probably wrong":

  • Lockheed L-1011 - I think this is better known as the "Tristar", though this may vary from one part of the world to another. Probably best as Lockheed L-1011 Tristar.
  • Cessna Skyhawk - I have never heard anyone call this a "Skyhawk". They are used all over the place in flying schools - probably the single most common aircraft in this country - and everyone calls them "a 172" - not "Cessna 172", just plain "172". (You don't have to say the "Cessna" part, that's understood.) Unless this is very different in the USA or elsewhere, it should be renamed to Cessna 172.
  • AC-130 gunship A curly one: that quite possibly is the most common name, though I doubt it's the official one. Anyone have an opinion on this?

Now the special cases - the exceptions to prove the rule ... er ... I mean "guideline", of course.

  • DC-3. For consistency, this ought to be Douglas DC-3. But just plain "DC-3" is what people link to. Make the change and redirect?
  • Fw 200 Condor Should that be Focke-Wulf Condor? Or Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor? Not sure.
  • Ju.87 Stuka - should this be Junkers Ju.87 for consistency? No - the name "Stuka" is far too well known to leave out. Could be Junkers Ju.87 Stuka or even just plain Stuka. Opinions?
  • The Fieseler Fi 165 is best known simply as the Fieseler Storch . Could be changed to that, or perhaps Fieseler Fi 165 Storch. It's the same dilemma as the Stuka really - one of the very few German military aircraft that are better known by name rather than number.
  • Eurofighter is the company - the fighter should be Eurofighter Typhoon, which is the actual aircraft name (see their website - it's blazoned all over the place). But the aircraft is still better known to the public as just "the Eurofighter". I'm inclined to favour making the change.
  • Piper PA-32 Series is a clumsy title, but the only one that fits the content. Perhaps, over time, the article can be split to cover the different aircraft it lumps together in one entry under their own names - which are much better known.
  • In theory, Concorde should be Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde (which is a mouthfull). But there is only one Concorde, and no-one is ever going to go looking for it under any other name, so I think it should stay as-is.

Tannin 12:55 Feb 7, 2003 (UTC)

Generally agree, Tannin. My vote? Lockhed L-1011 Tristar (the correct full name), C-135 (in keeping with the "P-47/-38" convention, tho I'd go for "Republic P-47", myself), Douglas DC-3 (per L-1011); 37 Viggen should be "SAAB J37 Viggen" (mfr, fighter #37, name), JAS-39 Gripen should be "SAAB JAS39" ditto; AC-130 gunship I'd say del "gunship" (I've always heard "AC-130" or just "Puff"). BTW, how do I do a redirect for C-53 to DC-3? Trekphiler 10:54, 7 September 2007 (UTC) (And I strong support a move Supermarine Spitfire to BAE Spitfire. LOL)
  • Trek, you do realize that post is from 4 and a half years ago? The project has been using his proposals for most of that time. Most of the changes you've listed are already in place, or at better names, like Lockheed AC-130, for example. And most C-53 links should already redirect to C-47 Skytrain, which covers the military variants of the DC-3. If there's one that isn't filled in yet, let me know, and I'll fix it, or tell you how to fix it. Thanks. - BillCJ 15:28, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
That's what I get for not looking at the date... As for C-53, I've searched it & gotten "no page exists". Shouldn't it come up C-47? Go figure. Trekphiler 04:53, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
It seems Bill has now fixed that. Thanks for pointing out the oversight, Trek! Askari Mark (Talk) 20:18, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
A comment on the JAS 39 Gripen, mentioned above. Instead of the suggested 'Saab Gripen', in my opinion the article should be named 'Saab 39 Gripen'. See discussions on the talkpage of Gripen. A authoritative wikipedian states that the number is Saab's project number. So this name (Saab 39 Gripen) would be in analogy with other Saab military aircraft article names, such as the Saab 29 Tunnan, Saab 32 Lansen, Saab 35 Draken, Saab 37 Viggen, etc. LarRan (talk) 19:53, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
LarRan, the best thing to do in the case of a single article is to propose a move/rename on that article's talk page. I can try to help with the listing, but it might not be today, as it's a holiday here. - BillCJ (talk) 20:13, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

I guess the last thing or two I have to add for now is this: common usage is a good guide for a number of good reasons and should generally be a goal. But what of the manufacturer's preference (Boeing's, Lockheed's or McDonnell-Douglas areospace') (or others with invested interests) in the naming of its aircraft? IMO this has not been addressed enough by the wiki community for even naming conventions in general. There is somewhat of a tension between common usage and NPOV. By adopting a common usage rule, wikipedia is also adopting a point of view that the supposed common name should also continue to be a commonly used name. Should a name of common usage take precedence over the preference of others who have a stake in the name? As an example, consider the discussion over the naming convention of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which has requested specific references to it in media. Of course, entities outside wikipedia do not dictate wiki policy, but it should be given proper consideration. A preferred name which is offensive, for example, would be given less consideration, but wouldn't etiquette suggest that if the preference is inoffensive, it might be given deference even if it is not the most commonly used name? If manufacturers were asked how would they prefer to see their aircraft named in media would it include or exclude the manufacturer in the name? Wikipedia is still very young. Mav and others are excellent contributors. But despite mav's insistence that it has all been discussed and decided by consensus (as if the decisions of a very small representative group participating in the consensus now should dominate over a larger, future group to come), I'm skeptical the matter has been fleshed out enough. For now though I don't have any objection to going forward with Tannin's suggestions.

By definition going with a name that people with a vested interest in what it should be called is bowing to their POV. It is a far lessor crime to bow to common usage by a much larger group of people - namely native English speakers. The first case is following what a small group of people want who have a vested interest. The second case takes what is common among a very large group of people who all often have very different POV's and vested interests. IMO whatever is common among such a diverse group is inherently much more NPOV than what is common among a small group which has a vested interest in a particular name. Of course we at the same time must make sure the tyranny of the masses doesn't step on people's toes. That is why we avoid offensive, yet very common names like Eskimo and prefer the less common Intuit or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints instead of the Mormon Church. BTW Mavipedia ceased to exist last summer once I stopped reviewing each day's entire Recent Changes and stopped getting involved in nearly every dispute - Wikipedia is too big now for one person to even attempt to change alone. ;-) --mav
I didn't want to imply "vested" interest as if someone necessarily derives a benefit from the interest; it's too narrow a phrase for what I meant. I used "invested" creatively to imply that a group/entity had contributed to the thing in question. But whatever.
Mav, It's not necessarily bowing; it depends on the circumstances of each case. Whatever naming convention wiki uses will be POV...will be taking a position, and will be more or less controversial whether it's common usage, preference of a group/entity with an interest in the name or whatever. This isn't a big problem; it's just deciding what POV to make. I don't think you are disagreeing that etiquette in some sense should be a consideration. What I'm suggesting is that wiki may be stepping on toes more often than it seems. What wikipedian here can definitely say that Boeing does not have some strong opposition to wiki's naming convention of aircraft it has created, and with good reason? If it did, I might be inclined to favor it. Until I do know otherwise, I defer to Tannin's suggestions. (BTW I've emailed some of these manufacturers to see what they think. I'll let you know what they say if anything.) Re: your other comment, although your reviewing practice has changed, it seems like you still keep up with attempting to resolve a lot, if not most, issues. Nearly every time I've looked at recent changes you've got your nose in something. (Not that that is a bad thing as long as its not detrimental to you.) Maybe you are just stalking me...JK. You yet have considerable sway in wiki, and (for good or bad, I would think mostly good) it seems as though you are the mouthpiece of what is consensus. I hope you don't mind the "mavipedia" rib too much; it would be a much worse project without you. Presuming that this "Talk" exercise has helped flesh out some sort of etiquette guide/rule in naming conventions, it might be useful to flesh it out more in meta and make its way to the naming conventions article. I don't think it's been given enough consideration there. I made an effort to watch some of the meta talk, but the emails are just too much. I already spend way too much time on the wiki as it is. So, I hope you take the lead in fleshing out the etiquette point more fully if you think it has merit. B 21:32 Feb 7, 2003 (UTC)


I think... I may... just use whatever looks good while providing the most info. ... May I go now?

Somthing like

  • Airbus Industrie
    • Airbus A320
  • Antonov
    • Antonov 72 'Coaler'


Cheers, The Qwitchibo.

Sounds good to me, Qwitchibo. Just beware of NATO reporting names: they are offensive and not in common use in any case. I'll be renaming those entries that use them in their titles over the next few days. Tannin
Don't use NATO code names in the titles. But it can be an article as itself ?

Ericd 02:19 Feb 9, 2003 (UTC)

If I follow your meaning, Eric, yes. I see no reason why there should not be an article on NATO reporting names, which could include a listing of them and (something I'd be interested to read myself) an explanation of where they came from, who made them up, and so on. And there is every reason to have MiG-21 Fishbed as a redirect to the entry on the MiG-21, which should be at Mikoyan MiG-21. Tannin
The NATO reporting names should be mentioned in the first paragraph of the article, since the first paragraph needs to confirm that the reader has arrived at the right article. Jamesday 06:47, 2 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Now MiG-21 resides at Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21. I wonder who invented this naming conventions for Russian planes. In my opinion they should be named perhaps like US military aircrafts: number and name. But which name? We all know what MiG-21 means, don't we? Why then the Mikoyan-Gurevich OKBs (bureaus). Are there any other MiG-21s around? Have you ever heard of Bell or NAA MiG-21? Perhaps. NATO code names (обозначение НАТО :-)) as we've read above are not suitable? As far as I know MiG-21 is originally named (and many others, or perhaps all (see also USSR military aircraft designation systems)) just МиГ-21 without any special name, so why complicating things. But what is on the other side true - this strange convention is equal for all. So, current name for this particular plane has too many data, but it is the best as it seems. And finally, there exists one rather old (of 1930s) Russian basic training biplane called U-2 (У-2) (U for Учебный, Uchebny trainer) - in fact (I'll stick now to currect NC) renamed in 1944 to Polikarpov Po-2 (nicknamed "Bitch"), after the death of Nikolai Nikolayevich Polikarpov. --XJamRastafire 13:13, 10 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The conventions look good to me. There could, perhaps, be an 'exceptions' section to mention things like the Concorde. --mav

Edited the part about NATO names of Soviet aircraft and US codenames of Japanese aircraft. Not to include them as redirects sounds like a nice, politically correct thing to do, but in practice just reduces the usefulness of the enceyclopedia. If we don't include them as redirects then they will just get recreated by someone who thinks we haven't got an article about them. DJ Clayworth 20:59, 10 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Agreed - we should mention all commonly used names, redirecting as necessary. It's completely unavoidable for the reason you gave - people use them. The proposed naming convention here doesn't seem to comply very well with the Wikipedia naming convention, which would put Mig-21 at Mig-21 and redirect the little-used Mikoyan Mig-21 to it. Jamesday 06:47, 2 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I agree, James. Indeed, that was the original convention, but someone (I forget who) was dead-set keen on changing it and I didn't want to start an edit war so I let it pass. Tannin 07:30, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

(aircraft) or (helicopter)?

What are the collective views on Mil (aircraft) and Mil (Helicopter)? I'm inclined to favor a merge into Mil (aircraft), since that's sufficient to disambiguate within this field and can be consistent across all types of flying equipment. Jamesday 06:47, 2 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Well, I put it at Mil (helicopter) (lowercasing, corresponding to Wikipedia naming conventions there) but I have no real preference -- that was simply the one that was better done. —Morven 07:18, 2 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Japanese long designations

Is there a standard practice here regarding the Japanese long designations, such as 零式艦上戦闘機 (" Type 0 Carrier-based Fighter")? I think they should be included in Japanese in the individual entries, though not in lists. I notice that they currently don't appear at all, and I know I've deleted at least one that did show up.

These designations, in shortened form, are the most common name used in Japan. Few Japanese air enthusiasts recognize 川西H8K (and certainly not "Emily"), but everyone knows it as 二式大艇 (a contraction of 二式大型飛行艇, Type 2 Large Flying Boat). Similary, the radial-engined version of the Ki-61 "Tony" is best known as 五式戦.

The Japanese Wikipedia uses these terms, so I think we should at least include them so it makes sense why the English "Nakajima Ki-43" is linked to the Japanese "一式戦闘機" -- Paul Richter 07:18, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I definitely agree - these should be included in the articles wherever possible, at the very least in English, and preferably side-by-side with the Japanese - I guess these should ideally go in the opening paragraph of an article, where alternative names are usually set out. Article titles and lists should of course continue to use the short designations more recognised in the English-speaking world. --Rlandmann 06:33, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I've tentatively changed Kawanishi H8K and Mitsubishi G4M, replacing the redundant maker(Kanji) + alphanumeric codes in the intros with the Japanese military designation. I think it will be useful this way since you can just copy-paste the kanji to search on the web.
I tried changing Nakajima Ki-43, but can't find a clean way to include both the Japanese military designation and the nickname, not to mention the allied codename. Maybe we'll just have to use tables. -- Paul Richter 03:12, 9 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I'd say include them. Want to make InterWiki links to the Japanese Wikipedia articles too? —Morven 04:57, 9 Apr 2004 (UTC)

De Havilland vs de Havilland

Should the 'De' in 'De Havilland' be capitalised or not? Both seem to be used on Wikipedia. Which is correct? Are both correct at different times? —Morven 22:22, 22 Apr 2004 (UTC)

At the beginning of a sentence or a title, it should be "De"; otherwise, "de". --Askari Mark | Talk 18:16, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

German/italian aircraft designation in WW2

German aircraft designation: manufacturer + manufacturer code + model number with a space between the names. Heinkel He 111 or He 111 is a correct form but He-111, maybe He111, are still acceptable. He.111 and Heinkel 111 are not acceptable, neither officially used nor by factory or combat units.
Italian aircraft designation: manufacturer + one or two capital letters (representing either manufactuere or usage of aircraft or combination of both) + model number with a point letter and model number. Fiat BR.20 or Macchi MC.205 are OK but Fiat B.R.20 not.
Aircrafts with nicknames should get a redirect from this Nickname - Ju 87 Stuka or Stuka to Junkers Ju 87

Inlcude spacecraft with aircraft conventions?

While looking through the List of rockets article I've noticed a complete lack of consistency in naming items. Some have "rocket" in the article name. Some have "space rocket" in the name. A few have "program" in the name. Some have nothing beyond the proper name itself. Other than in the talk area for WikiProject Rockets, I haven't seen a naming convention dealing specifically with space craft, could it be incorporated in with aircraft? --StuffOfInterest 18:03, 9 December 2005 (UTC)


I have a problem with some articles using the operator as part of the aircraft name like RAF Harrier II and RAF Chinook. Dont meet the criteria agreed above and are not normal usage. We dont have USAF Eagle or RAAF Hornet for example. Any comments ? MilborneOne 21:58, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

No, the operator should not be part of the name. It sounds ridiculous in any case ... "RAF Chinook" sounds like a base name ... where is that? Shropshire? ;-) Askari Mark | Talk 03:24, 25 October 2006 (UTC)
The regular articles for the RAF Harrier II and RAF Chinook are the AV-8B Harrier II and CH-47 Chinook respectively. So following the normal practice for British aircraft, company-name, would work (BAE Harrier II and Boeing Chinook). In the case of the Harrier, BAE is the prime contractor, vs. Boeing on the AV-8B, thus further differentiating the types. However, Boeing built the RAF's Chinooks directly (AFAIK), so it is a little ambiguous. I really don't see a viable alternative to using RAF in the names, though perhaps BAE Harrier II (RAF) and Boeing Chinook (RAF) would be better than the current names. -- BillCJ 18:35, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps BAE Harrier (UK variants) and Boeing Chinook (RAF variants) would be better (Note the british Harriers are also operated by the Royal Navy) also (Note that name Harrier II is not actually used by the RAF/RN). MilborneOne 21:58, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree ... but why not as section headers under the main article, which uses the normal naming conventions established for aircraft articles in Wikipedia? I have a hard time seeing where any variant which needs an operator's name as part of its title should be a separate article from its "parent." Askari Mark | Talk 22:35, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
BAE Harrier (UK variants) would work, but I'd prefer the name BAE Harrier II (UK variants). The British variant is a Harrier II, not the original, name choice notwithstanding. Else, we would not have had people removing the HS Harrier link from the RAF Harrier II page, stating it was not a variant. They are two separate, though very closely-related, aircraft. See here and here for discussions on this. We could use BAE Harrier GR5/GR7/GR9, but the T10/T12 are also included in the article. In addition, there may be a Harrier GR11 in the future, or FA11 if it's radar-equipped, especially if the F-35 is delayedany further. Also, while the RAF, up to this time, has not used II in its designation, it remains to be seen how they will handle the Lightning II, assuming they ever operate them. -- BillCJ 23:08, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
I was not a Wiki user when the decisions where made to split the RAF versions of the Harrier II and Chinook off. It does not seem there was much discussion on the by their talk pages. I have just been working n them as-is at this point; I'm been stirring up enough trouble adding aircraft-infoboxes. We could discuss merging them back into their parents on their respective pages. -- BillCJ 23:32, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Re American Aircraft in British Service (RAF, RAAF, RCAF, RNZAF, also SAAF (?): Especially WWII, American Aircraft had names in British Service, eg DC 3 = Dakota, Curtiss P40 = Kittyhawk, Tomahawk etc [also applies to Tanks eg Sherman, Lee in British service].

I don't think the style guideline should prevent an aircraft being referred to in the style used by the operating nation, in the context of that nation's use of the aircraft. Cyclopaedic 12:04, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Airline accident naming conventions

It has come to my attention that there is a long standing "tradition" for naming airline incidents and crashes, but that this practice has yet to be incorporated into the guidelines, so I'm proposing doing just that. Not sure, though, if the convention should be posted on this page, or on the Events page, or both. The convention is <<airline>> <<flight number>>. For aircraft incidents without flight numbers, the Disasters guideline would then be applied (which is <<year>><<location>><<event>>, such as 1999 South Dakota Learjet crash). Comments? Akradecki 19:02, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

We should clarify that the convention is <<operating airline>> <<flight number>>. This will codify the situation for situations when an airline is operated under another airline's brand (re express carriers). E.g. its Comair Flight 5191 not Delta Air Lines Flight 5191. Also how should airline accidents that involve multiple airline flights be named? —Cliffb 00:29, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Keep in mind that in some cases the flight number may not be easily available. See for example Bukken Bruse disaster and Hurum air disaster where I was forced to go with a non-conventional name. Also, some crashes are most commonly known by a name which does not match the convention, as we can see on Tenerife disaster and Linate disaster. Sjakkalle (Check!) 09:07, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Ah wait, sorry I didn't read your post completely. (I've been here almost two years, one would think that I would have learned not to comment without reading the posts fully, but apparently I haven't.) If you want to move the two crashes I have mentioned to a more conventional title, then I have no objections. Might as well add that the alternate naming convention is also for situations where the author does not know the flight number. Sjakkalle (Check!) 09:11, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

RAF museum thesaurus

The Royal Air Force museum thesaurus gives some guidelines how to name different aircraft. It is of great help in some situations, e.g. when there are dual designers. This link could well be mantioned on the text page. --MoRsE 12:10, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Capitalization of Unmanned aerial vehicle

The article was recently moved to Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with the note that it should be capitalized because it is the name of something. I say that everything has a name, but only proper names should be capitalized. This is a general term for an aerial vehicle that has no humans in it, unless I am missing something. I plan to move it back, but will hold off for a reasonable time to offer a chance for opposing opinions to be posted here. Chris the speller 22:47, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

You forgot to mention I added a citation confirming it is capitalized in common usage...Headphonos 23:04, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
I didn't chase down who had added the citation about capitalization. But in that document, almost all uses of the term are in titles (where all important words are always capitalized), except in Chapter 4, where it is uncapitalized. Chris the speller 00:35, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
With all due respect, the citation you added was from a gov't DoD document, which isn't noted for proper grammar. We don't capitalize "fighter", "bomber", "glider" or other generic types of aircraft, and this one shouldn't be capitalized, either. It is not a proper name. Just because the DoD makes a mistake, doesn't mean the world needs to follow suit! (Yeah, I know that's a loaded statement!) I support the move back. Akradecki 23:12, 7 February 2007 (UTC) example of USAF non-cap usage: [1]; Vector Site's usage: [2]; Defense Link (another DoD source): [3]; Army [4]. Then, you have the major media which also don't use caps: CNN: [5]; MSNBC:[6]; Fox News: [7]; ABC News: [8]. So is that enough to show that your "common usage" isn't so common? Akradecki 23:22, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
It's a term that need not be capitalized. When it is, it's more a presentiment of the acronym, "UAV". Askari Mark (Talk) 00:16, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Askari, you have put it eloquently. I have moved the article back to its lower-case incarnation, and fixed the few double redirects. Looking at "What links here" gave me even more confidence. Thanks to all who responded, and happy editing! Chris the speller 00:38, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Individual aircraft

This page discusses how to name many aircraft of a particular design, but how do you name individual aircraft, like the Spirit of Saint Louis. Is it the Sprit of Saint Louis, the Spirit of Saint Louis, the Spirit of St. Louis, or whatever? Maybe this is handled in some other section. If so, perhaps a link. . . . 03:08, 10 April 2007 (UTC)