308FS F-16D markings

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flyboy87

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Unread post07 Jan 2010, 01:54

I have a rather specific question about the markings on at least three F-16Ds from the 308th Fighter Sqn, 56 Fighter Wing at Luke AFB after doing some digging in the F-16.net aircraft database. I do a lot of repainting of flight simulator F-16 models, and I often use the database here to make sure I get all my facts straight with model, blocks and markings, etc. When I was going though the 308FS F-16Ds today I ran into something that confused me a little and I thought I would see if anyone could shed some light on the situation.

From looking at the 308FS birds, I understand that the last four digits of the aircraft's serial are displayed on both sides of the nose, below the Threat Warning Antennas.
Example #90-0789: http://www.f-16.net/gallery_item256068.html (also: http://www.airliners.net/photo/USA---Ai ... 1444880/L/ )

Then I ran into this image: http://www.f-16.net/gallery_item283544.html
It is listed as serial #89-2160, but the number "9160" appears on the nose. At first I thought it was perhaps a type-o but then I found some additional images of the same aircraft on Airliners.net that provided the same information (and a clearer view of the nose, here: http://www.airliners.net/photo/USA---Ai ... 1408990/L/).

I could not find an F-16 with serial #89-9160 in the this database so I was wondering if anyone knew the story behind this. At least from a practical standpoint, it must be confusing to have an aircraft flying around with (what appears to be) the wrong serial number painted on the side. That is unless there is a reason for doing so, of course.

I realize that it's a pretty specific question, but my curiosity compelled me to try and find some more information :).

EDIT: I have also found that this has been done with #88-0157, with "8157" displayed on the nose ( http://www.airliners.net/photo/USA---Ai ... 1140360/L/ ) and #88-0159, with "8159" displayed on the nose ( http://www.airliners.net/photo/USA---Ai ... 0601705/L/ ). Perhaps it is some kind of local serial or identifier instead of the aircraft's actual serial number.
The only explanation I can think of is that what is being shown on the nose are the last four numbers of the serial as it appears on the tail, which is already a truncated format since it normally only shows 5 of the aircraft's 6-digit serial.

-Marcus
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Henrik

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Unread post07 Jan 2010, 03:26

Hello Marcus,

It sounds very interesting with Your flight simulator modelling and i hope I can help You a bit!!

The thing is that there is a "160" in both the FY 88 and FY 89 production blocks and both are Block-42s - 88-0160 is, however, written off in a crash on Jun. 2nd 1992!!

Simply to distinguish them from each other they carry the "8" or "9" in front of their last three so crews can see if it´s the FY 88 or FY 89 plane in question.

The Viper community in Arizona - both at Luke AFB and in Tuscon - are notoriuos for displaying a four-digit serial on the tails and is not found at other US F-16s bases elsewhere.

The nose-version of the aircraft serial is found in many US F-16 units with both three or four digit numbers.

So the main reason is simply to distinguish the fiscal years ;-)

Hope it helps.

Cheers,

Henrik.
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flyboy87

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Unread post07 Jan 2010, 04:22

So there is a method to the madness, hehe. Thanks for the quick reply and the enlightening information. I can see how it could cause problems, especially with lost airframes like 88-0160.

Thanks,
Marcus
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Boman

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Unread post07 Jan 2010, 18:12

To add to what Henrik says, you also sometimes have 2 tailnumbers at the same base, where they choose to display 4 numbers on the tail as opposed to the normal 3 to distinguish the planes from eachother - even if one is a Viper and one is a Herc.

In the RNOAF, we have an P-3C with tail number 3299, while we also have a F-16A with tail number 299. Same story as Henrik related above.
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e6bill

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Unread post06 Jan 2013, 18:55

An old thread bumped.

I was at Luke from 2001-07. All the F-16's have the last number of the year and the last three of the serial on the nose just behind the radome and under the AOA probes. This includes the FMS squadrons (21st and 425th).

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