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British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

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British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by slogen51 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:18 am

Does anybody on here know why some types are allocated out of sequence serial numbers?

For example Wildcats in the ZZ5** range
Voyager in the ZZ3** range
C-17 in the ZZ17* range

But F-35B seem to be in the 'correct' sequence of ZM14+

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by iain s » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:25 am

Sure it started when we bought the C17s, part from that I've no idea lol.

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by Arthur Tee » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:14 am

iain s wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:25 am
Sure it started when we bought the C17s, part from that I've no idea lol.
It did - and I believe it was because the original batch of C-17 were 'loans' and not owned outright by the MoD.


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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by kenskyhawk » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:43 am

I understand the original reason was to cover leased aircraft. Could be wrong,
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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by toom317 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:51 am

Because our enemies will see the serials, and think we have a shedload of planes, (and will be mightily impressed with the numbered Sqns we have). :lol:
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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by blackbox » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:52 am

The Voyager and C-17 serials "match" the a/c types A330 and C-17 so I guess that's reasonable. The F-35 serials "match" the early Lightning F1 batch, XM135 etc. Not sure about the Wildcats?

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by mustang5861 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:34 pm

Seem to remember reading on this site (Lossie section, I think) that the same will happen with the P-8s, which will be numbered in the 800 range? Happy to be corrected if I've got that wrong.

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by Mike » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:12 pm

mustang5861 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:34 pm
Seem to remember reading on this site (Lossie section, I think) that the same will happen with the P-8s, which will be numbered in the 800 range? Happy to be corrected if I've got that wrong.
ZP801 - ZP809

Basically, a lot of UK military serial allocations these days are nothing more than "personalised registrations".

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by Bluetail » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:27 pm

Mike wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:12 pm
mustang5861 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:34 pm
Seem to remember reading on this site (Lossie section, I think) that the same will happen with the P-8s, which will be numbered in the 800 range? Happy to be corrected if I've got that wrong.
ZP801 - ZP809

Basically, a lot of UK military serial allocations these days are nothing more than "personalised registrations".
Actually the P8A block reserved for the RAF is ZP801 to ZP815
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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by Mike » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:33 pm

Bluetail wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:27 pm
Mike wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:12 pm
mustang5861 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:34 pm
Seem to remember reading on this site (Lossie section, I think) that the same will happen with the P-8s, which will be numbered in the 800 range? Happy to be corrected if I've got that wrong.
ZP801 - ZP809

Basically, a lot of UK military serial allocations these days are nothing more than "personalised registrations".
Actually the P8A block reserved for the RAF is ZP801 to ZP815
Correct Jim, but they've only ordered 9 of them, the other 6 are allocations which will probably all be NTU (Not Taken Up)!

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by tommc » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:49 pm

Out of sequence registrations are NOT new, and are allocated as such for a variety of reasons.

One reason is a simple administrative error. The person responsible on the day may make a simple typographical error, and allocate incorrect sequences. For example:
The 3rd batch of Panavia Tornados (ZA365 to ZA494) were issued with serial numbers which actually precede the batch 2 allocation (ZA540 to ZA614). The batch 3 should have been ZB etc, but a clerical error resulted in the out of sequence allocation.
Another recent allocation was the Mi-17s ZB697 and ZB698, which mistakenly re-used previously allocated numbers.

Another reason is that an agency or department may request a specific batch of serial numbers, for numerous reasons. For example:
ZA101, ZG200, ZH200 and ZJ201 for various BAe demonstrators
ZJ951 for the 951 engined demonstrator
ZK531 to ZK535 were the ex Indonesian Mk.53 Hawks
Lynx 300 ZT800 was the testbed for the T800 engine
ZK450 onwards were for the King Airs for 45 Sqn
The older 32 Sqn A109s were allocated ZR321 etc
32 Sqn A109 was allocated GZ100 to reference their 100th anniversary, and their wartime squadron codes
The 51 Sqn RC-135s were allocated ZZ664/5/6, the same last threes as their earlier aircraft types
QinetiQ requested and were granted the use of QQ
AW101 was requested by Yeovil for one of their AW.101 demonstrators

A serial may be allocated to tie in with a previous identity.
F-4F ZK848 reflects the last 3 digits of the former German Air Force serial (38+48)

Recent allocations have sometimes reflected the type.
ZZ171 onwards for C-17
ZM400 onwards for A.400
ZZ330 onwards for A.330 Voyager
ZM135 onwards for the F-35 Lightning harks back to the XM135 allocation of the EE Lightning
One of the most apt recent allocations is ZP801 onwards for the P-8

Also check out TwinStar, ScanEagle and other UAVs.

As can be seen, there are numerous examples, and various reasons.

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by Mike » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:22 pm

Great post Tom and many thanks for taking the time to post it, the 3rd batch of Tornados always used to puzzle me.
The original Lightning F1 batch started at XM134, so I'm not sure why the F-35 allocations should start at ZM135 - any ideas?

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by rh226 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:24 pm

Clerical error, i.e. typo or someone did not look it up properly?
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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by Sparts99 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:32 pm

Didn't know any of that, nor did I know there was an F-4F with an RAF serial. Has it retained its GAF markings or has any British marking been applied? I assume its at Scampton?
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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by MRTT » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:39 pm

Yet to arrive at Scampton, awaiting final sign off. No idea when it's due.

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by Mike » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:40 pm

rh226 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:24 pm
Clerical error, i.e. typo or someone did not look it up properly?
Hi Bob, I've no idea but XM134 was delivered before XM135 and sadly it was written-off in 1964, but '135 still survives at Duxford. :S

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by Mike » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:49 pm

MRTT wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:39 pm
Yet to arrive at Scampton, awaiting final sign off. No idea when it's due.
Another F-4F (37+89) arrived at Scampton 3 years ago, it's apparently going to be used for spares for 38+48 when it eventually arrives.

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by MRTT » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:01 pm

Had forgotten about the second aircraft, cheers Mike!

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by Ghastly Whisper » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:07 am

Mike wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:40 pm
rh226 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:24 pm
Clerical error, i.e. typo or someone did not look it up properly?
Hi Bob, I've no idea but XM134 was delivered before XM135 and sadly it was written-off in 1964, but '135 still survives at Duxford. :S
There in is your answer i should think, could be bad juju starting with 134, but 135 can only be good juju, especialy considering what it went through!

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Re: British out of sequence serials - ZZ why?

Post by Agent K » Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:33 am

Thanks tommc for taking the time to post that, whilst some of it was familiar some was new to me and also was great to see and read in one place.

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