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snowyday

Numbering System

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OK - I need a little info. Can you tell when a C-130 was made by the number. I am a very old timer. I was stationed at Ardmore AFB in Oklahoma from 1955 till 1959. This C-130 in the commercial #56-0511. Does this mean it was made in 1956? I have assumed that it does for years. Does the -0511 have any significance, like maybe made in the month of May, or is it just a number? I was an Instrument Repairman and worked on 16 different planes in the 773 TCS. Towards the end of my hitch I worked on all the planes in the 773, 772, 774, and 775. This was during the time that Ardmore was being closed and the planes were being sent to Smyrna. I was discharged at Ardmore in 1959. I was just wondering if I might have worked on #56-0511.

snowyday

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56 does represent the year. For the U.S. Air Force the #511 represents the 511th procured airframe (in general) of that year. There may not have been 511 C-130's that year. There could have been C-141's or KC's in that years production.

An example; they built 50 C-5Bs. The first bird rolled out was 83-1285. Built 1983. 1285th numbered that year. Keep in mind the USAF was getting F-16s in quantity. Anyway, 83-1285 is the only C-5B produced in 83 thus only C-5 with that year number. In 1984 four more were produced. 84-0059, 84-0060, 84-0061, 840062. Then ten more in 85, 85-0001 (City of Dover) thru 85-0010. Then 86-0011 to 86-0025, to finally 87-0026 thru 87-0045.

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Marvin, The first two digits, in this case, 56, indicate the fiscal year money was appropriated the buy the airplane. The time lag from appropriation to a completed ship parked on the ramp usually meant the gaining unit would recieve the bird the following year, in this case, 1957. The last three numbers are usually consective, i.e., 511, 512 and so on. I don't know what drives the numbers in the middle. For example the 1 in serial number 54-1637. Or the 0 in sn 56-0534.

My observation of J tail numbers lead me to believe the numbering process is different now than in our day.

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I appreciate all yall getting back to me on the Numbering System. It's more complicated than I thought.

Anyway thanks to Casey, Larry & Doppletroop

I was not a crew chief or load master so I didn't need to remember a certain aircraft. I just went to which ever plane I was sent to.

I must have done a top notch job C-130's are still flying and have been for 55 years..

Thanks,

snowyday

Edited by snowyday
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A lot of the newer C-130's are numbered by the unit they were assigned to. I just pulled a random number out of Lars' book -- 92-3288 was originally assigned to the Reserve 328 AS at Niagara Falls. 92-3288 is now with the 96 AS in Minneapolis. Another one would be 91-1651 to the 165 AS of the Kentucky ANG, then to Idaho's 189 AS and now with 180 AS with the Missouri ANG.

That idea was all pretty neat until they started moving the airplanes around because of BRAC.

Don R.

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Guess to some degree,now, it is like "vanity" tail numbers on civilian aircraft???????? seems like, then, that the AF would know what squadron was getting the plane for give itsuch a designation. Course that only works for the first ten, right?? 92-XXX0-92-XXX9? Back in the olden times, the planes we had in the 316th were all over the place in tail numbers. Does the AF tail number, by the way, transfer if a plane goes civilian??????? Meaning does that become some opart of its "N" number??????

Giz

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Giz, When the 316th begain to aquire acft. in the summer of 1966 they came form different sources. Many came from the MAC wing at McGuire. I went to Moffett Field and picked up a MAC bird that was flown and maintained by the Navy.

When an exmilitary acft. is aquired by a private company the military serial number goes away. For example, C-130A 56-0511, owned and operated by Internatiional Air Response nows bears civil reg. number N121TG. I know the N indicates the acft. is US registered and that other countries have an assigned first letter. That pretty much exhausts my knowledge of the subject. Perhaps Don can add to this.

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Course that only works for the first ten, right?? 92-XXX0-92-XXX9?

Giz

Then they can use another number in the unit. Charlotte's first aircraft start with 145, 92-1451 through 93-1459, for the 145th AG. The next ones start with 156 (93-1560 through 93-1563) for the 156th AS. One series was numbered for the group, the next for the squadron.

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Answers all my questions completely. I know of some civilian aircraft that have been renumbered to the owner's preference, company initials,that sort of thing. and I have seen some warbirds that are still flyin' and have seen that they have, somewhat inconspicuously, an N number, as wll as their original markings. makes sense to me. Thanks guys..

Giz

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I'm jumping in a bit late here, but I'll make up for it with a visual aid! I know I have a few of these ID plate photos. (It made sense to take the photo at the time!)

74-1667 was paid for with 1974 money, accepted by Uncle Sugar the day after I turned 12 years old in 1976, and I flew her 31 to 35 years later! Wow.

Note the "Customer's Serial No." versus the "Accepted" date. (Different font.) They left the acceptance date blank when they put the rest of the numbers on it because, well, ya never know! Also note how it's been modernized with the scannable sticker. Most of the older ones are like this.

IMG_0434.jpg

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For example, C-130A 56-0511, owned and operated by Internatiional Air Response nows bears civil reg. number N121TG. I know the N indicates the acft. is US registered and that other countries have an assigned first letter. That pretty much exhausts my knowledge of the subject. Perhaps Don can add to this.

My guess is that the "TG" suffix is from when T&G Aviation owned and operated the airplane. Just like 56-0507 registered as N132HP with Hawkins & Powers. Like Giz said, vanity plates.

Don R.

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In 1956 all the way to 1959 (when I got out) if you were catght taking a picture of a

C-130 your camera was taken away and the film was destroyed. This is why I love to see

pictures of C-130's. I really appreciate you placing that picture on Herky Birds.

I worked on C-130's from 1956 when we got the first ones until 1959 when we closed

down Ardmore AFB and I don't even remember seeing a plate like that.

But there is a few other things that I don't remember either.

snowyday

Edited by snowyday
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