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My goal for these pages is to identify every serial number ever assigned to a Canadian military aircraft, and to track the history of each aircraft in as much detail as I can. Since starting these pages I have been lucky enough to receive correspondence from serial number enthusiasts from around the world, and they have become a major source for the data presented here. I'm always in the process of adding this new information to my database and these web pages. Check out my change log each time you visit, to see the progress.
The links in the table below will take you to some purely arbitrary headings I have created. These are intended to make the data more manageable, and don't necessarily reflect any official groupings or divisions of serial numbers. Each topic main page includes some brief historical notes, to help explain changes in the numbering systems over the years, and to help put the serial numbers in perspective. Pages that contain links to photographs, or pages that refer to pages with photo links, are marked with
I've recently added a list of aircraft by type, to help you find all the serials of a single type, which may be spread over several of the pages listed below. I welcome any feedback you may have on this new feature.
If you have a minute to spare, please click on the "view my Guestmap" link on the left, below, and let me know where you are located.
|Awarded to quality aviation information websites|
updated 11 June 2008
early Canadian military organizations operated aircraft, or were
planned to. This includes the Canadian Air Corps, the RFC/RAF schools
in Canada, the Canadian Air Force in the UK, and the Royal Canadian
Naval Air Service (RCNAS).
|Aircraft with uniquely Canadian serial
numbers or registrations
updated 17 December 2006
Air Board years, 1919 to
1927. In this period, the newly formed Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
operated government owned,
civil registered aircraft, on a mix of military and civil tasks.
Some Air Board registered aircraft remained in use until the middle
updated 5 February 2010
1928, the RCAF was relieved
of most of its civil tasks, and began marking its aircraft with
numerical serial numbers. This group extends from this date to the
early part of World War II.
updated 19 February 2013
numbers reached 1000 in
the early days of WW II, when aircraft procurement exploded. 9999 was
reached in just another 3 years. Some reserved blocks in this range
not completely allocated until the 1950s and 60s.
updated 25 April 2013
10000 was reached, massive
procurement continued in support of the British Commonwealth Air
Training Plan and home defense. The
general series was continued after the war's end, and included the NATO
period, some RCN aircraft, and the brief lived Canadian Army air arm.
updated 12 January 2008
WW II, some wartime serial
numbers were reused for new procurement. I have listed these separately
to avoid confusion (especially my own).
|Canadian Armed Forces
updated 28 April 2013
the RCAF was merged into
the Canadian Armed Forces in February 1968, the in-service aircraft
(ex Air Force, Army, and Navy) carried a mix of their previous serial
number styles. To help sort out this mess, the existing
aircraft were given
new, "unified" serial numbers over the next few years. This
scheme continues in use today for
Note that the Canadian Forces have been allowed to start using the name "RCAF" for some of its air components again. These are still part of the integrated Canadian Forces, so for these web pages I will continue to use "Canadian Armed Forces" (CAF) or "Canadian Forces" (CF) for current aircraft, and restrict use of "RCAF" to prior to integration in 1968. I'm not trying to make any sort of a political statement with this, just trying to keep confusion to a minimum.
updated 15 January 2013
|Both the RCAF and the Canadian
Forces kept seperate registers for aircraft used as training aids at
various schools,and with operational units. Most, but not all, of
these Instructional Airframes had a previous Canadian military serial
number. This page identifies the previous identity (when one
existed), and provide details on those airframes with no previous
Canadian military serial.
|Canadian owned or controlled aircraft with other serial numbers or registrations|
|RNAS, RFC, and RAF serials
updated 10 February 2013
Air Board, The Canadian Air Force, and the Royal Canadian Air Force all
owned and operated aircraft with RFC and RAF serial numbers, from their
earliest days up to the end of the Second World War.
Some of these
aircraft continued to carry RAF style serial numbers after the war was
over, until they were retired or renumbered in the integrated Canadian
Those aircraft known to have been assigned to the RCNAS in 1918 are also included here.
updated 3 March 2013
American aircraft, received from the USAAF during and shortly after the
War, and from the
USAF during the Cold War, were operated by the RCAF with their original
American serial numbers. In addition, the Canadian Forces have
received at least 2 non-flying USN aircraft, that have kept their US
serials. The US helicopters leased for use in
Afghanistan were operated initially with US serials, see the Canadian Armed Forces page for
updated 8 April 2013
number of aircraft with
Canadian or other civil registrations were owned or leased by the
Canadian government, and used by several different military arms, from
the 1920s up until today.
This list also includes civil registered aircraft owned by the
Department of National Defense and used at civilian flying
clubs, and the aircraft of the Air Cadet League glider program.
Note that the civil registered
aircraft operated by the Canadian Air Board are listed seperately.
|The Royal Canadian Navy, 1945 to 1968
|Royal Canadian Navy
updated 5 February 2007
Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) used a wide range of serial number types
during the years that it operated aircraft. Starting with British
numbers, then US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics numbers, they also operated
ex RCAF aircraft with their original RCAF serial numbers, and finally
marked their own serial numbers. To add to the confusion, the RCN
often marked a three or two digit pennant number on their aircraft,
which may or may not have been based on the serial number. I try
to explain this in more detail on this page.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR RCN AIRCRAFT ENTHUSIASTS
The information on these pages was largely based on the thin published literature available to me up until January 2007. It is far from complete, and, I now realize, contains several errors. Fortunately, Patrick Martin has published an extremely detailed and well researched book on the aircraft of the RCN, that covers the topic in far more detail than I ever did. Rather than repeat Pat's efforts here, I will leave these pages as they are, in order to concentrate on the many other gaps in my web site. The interested reader should get a copy of Pat's book as soon as possible!
|Aircraft owned by others, and operated by
Canadian military units
|RAF Owned Aircraft
updated 20 May 2012
RCAF's major operational contribution to the Second World War was to
provide personnel to operate RAF owned aircraft, under RAF control, in
Europe, North Africa, and the Far East. This is a partial list of
the RAF owned aircraft operated by RCAF squadrons during, and
shortly after, the War. A few RAF owned aircraft operated by the
RCAF for test purposes in Canada, and for training in the NATO period,
are also listed.
|U.S. Owned Aircraft
updated 29 July 2005
|A number of American
transport and utility aircraft were loaned to the RCAF and the RCN
during the construction of the DEW Line in the 1950s. Also, small
numbers of US military aircraft were loaned to the RCAF for evaluation
purposes. This list is far from complete.
updated 12 September 2009
|A number of civil registered
aircraft were operated by several Canadian military arms, without being
owned by, or leased by, the Canadian government. Most of these
were operated for evaluation or training purposes, in anticipation of
later purchase of the aircraft. This list, too, is far from