United Kingdom aircraft test serials

United Kingdom aircraft test serials are used to externally identify aircraft flown within the United Kingdom without a full Certificate of Airworthiness.[1] They can be used for testing experimental and prototype aircraft or modifications, pre-delivery flights for foreign customers and are sometimes referred to as "B" class markings.[1]


An initial set of markings was introduced in 1929, each company was allocated a letter to which would follow a number, sometimes with a hyphen or a gap between.[1] For example, A was allocated to the Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft and A 1 was used in March 1930 on an Armstrong Whitworth Starling.[1] Sometimes Hawker and Vickers would also add the letters PV to the markings to indicate a private venture (that is a type in development not paid for by the Air Ministry).[1]


The presentation was changed to look like a military serial for security reasons during the Second World War.[1] For example, the prototype de Havilland Mosquito was allocated test markings E-0234.


Following a change back to the original system in 1946 a new system was introduced on 1 January 1948.[1] Each company was allocated a number which followed the British nationality marking G and then followed by an individual identity number.[1] For example, Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company were allocated G-2 and the first allocation G-2-1 was used on a Miles Messenger used as an engine testbed for the Cirrus Bombardier.[1] Companies could allocate and re-use the identities as they liked, some ran in sequence from 1 and others used the aircraft manufacturers serial number as part of the marking, for example G-51-200 was a Britten Norman Islander with a manufacturers serial number of 200.[1] Allocations of codes from defunct companies have been reallocated.

Letter sequence 1929–1947


Allocation Company Notes
A Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Replaced by G-1 in 1948
B Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company Replaced by G-2 in 1948
C Boulton Paul Replaced by G-3 in 1948
D Portsmouth Aviation Replaced by G-4 in 1948
E de Havilland Replaced by G-5 in 1948
F Fairey Aviation Replaced by G-6 in 1948
G Gloster Aircraft Replaced by G-7 in 1948
H Handley Page Replaced by G-8 in 1948
I Hawker Aircraft Replaced by G-9 in 1948
J Parnall Aircraft Out of use by 1946
J Reid & Sigrist From 1947, replaced by G-10 in 1948
K Avro Replaced by G-11 in 1948
L Saunders-Roe Replaced by G-12 in 1948
M Short Brothers Replaced by G-14 in 1948
N Supermarine Replaced by G-15 in 1948
O Vickers Armstrongs Replaced by G-16 in 1948
P Westland Aircraft Replaced by G-17 in 1948
R Bristol Aeroplane Replaced by G-18 in 1948
S Spartan Aircraft Out of use by 1936
S Heston Aircraft Replaced by G-19 in 1948
T General Aircraft Replaced by G-20 in 1948
U Phillips & Powis later Miles Aircraft Replaced by G-21 in 1948
V Airspeed Replaced by G-22 in 1948
W G & J Weir 1933–1946
X Percival Aircraft Replaced by G-23 in 1948
Y British Aircraft Manufacturing Out of use by 1938
Y Cunliffe-Owen 1940–1947, replaced by G-24 in 1948
Z Auster Aircraft Replaced by G-25 in 1948
AB Slingsby Sailplanes Replaced by G-26 in 1948

Numeric sequence since 1948


Allocation Company Notes
G-1 Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft later Hawker Siddeley Aviation 1948–1967
G-1 Rolls-Royce Since 1969
G-2 Blackburn Aircraft later Hawker Siddeley Aviation Used at Brough
G-3 Boulton Paul
G-4 Portsmouth Aviation 1948–1949
G-4 Miles Aviation Since 1969
G-5 de Havilland later Hawker Siddeley Aviation Used at Hatfield then Chester
G-6 Fairey Aviation later Westland Helicopters
G-7 Gloster Aircraft 1948–1961
G-7 Slingsby Sailplanes Since 1971
G-8 Handley Page 1948-1970
G-9 Hawker Aircraft later Hawker Siddeley Aviation Mainly used on Hawker Hunters and Hawker Sea Fury's
G-10 Reid & Sigrist 1948–1953
G-11 Avro later Hawker Siddeley Aviation Used at Woodford
G-12 Saunders-Roe later Westland Aircraft then British Hovercraft Corporation G-12-1 was used on the first practical hovercraft, the SR-N1; G-12-1 had been used previously on the Saro SR/A1
G-13 Not used
G-14 Short Brothers
G-15 Supermarine 1948–1968
G-16 Vickers-Armstrongs later British Aircraft Corporation
G-17 Westland Aircraft later Westland Helicopters
G-18 Bristol Aeroplane later British Aircraft Corporation Used at Filton (Bristol) and Oldmixon (Weston-super-Mare)
G-19 Heston Aircraft 1948–1960
G-20 General Aircraft 1948–1949
G-21 Miles Aircraft later Handley Page Reading 1948–1963
G-22 Airspeed 1948–1952
G-23 Percival Aircraft later British Aircraft Corporation 1948–1966
G-24 Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft 1948–1949
G-25 Auster Aircraft 1948–1962
G-26 Slingsby Sailplanes 1948–1949
G-27 English Electric later British Aircraft Corporation
G-28 British European Airways later British Airways Helicopters
G-29 D. Napier & Son 1948–1962
G-30 Pest Control Limited 1952–1957
G-31 Scottish Aviation
G-32 Cierva Autogiro Company 1948–1951
G-33 Flight Refuelling Limited 1948–1972
G-34 Chrislea Aircraft 1948–1952
G-35 F.G Miles then Beagle Aircraft 1951–1970
G-36 College of Aeronautics then Cranfield Institute of Technology Since 1954
G-37 Rolls-Royce Used at Hucknall 1954–1971
G-38 de Havilland Propellers later Hawker Siddeley Dynamics 1954–1975
G-39 Folland Aircraft 1954–1965; G-39-1 was used on the prototype Folland Midge
G-40 Wiltshire School of Flying
G-41 Aviation Traders 1956–1976
G-42 Armstrong Siddeley Motors 1956–1959
G-43 Edgar Percival Aircraft 1956–1959
G-44 Agricultural Aviation Limited 1959
G-45 Bristol Siddeley Engines 1959–1969
G-46 Saunders-Roe later Westland Aircraft 1959–1962
G-47 Lancashire Aircraft
G-48 Westland Aircraft later Westland Helicopters 1960–1969
G-49 F G Miles Engineering 1965–1969
G-50 Alvis
G-51 Britten Norman Since 1967
G-52 Marshall of Cambridge
G-53 NDN Aircraft
G-54 Cameron Balloons[2]
G-55 W Vinten[2]
G-56 Edgley Aircraft[2]
G-57 Airship Industries[2]
G-65 Solar Wings[2]
G-76 Police Aviation Services Limited
G-77 Thruster Air Services Ltd
G-78 Bristow Helicopters Limited
G-79 Eurocopter Oxford[2]
G-80 British Microlight Aircraft Association Ltd
G-89 Cosmik Aviation Limited

See also


  1. Revell 1978, pp. 4–103
  2. Austen 1999, p. 910


  • Revell, D.S. (1978). P.H. Butler (ed.). Under B Conditions. Liverpool, England: Merseyside Aviation Society. ISBN 0-902420-24-0.
  • Michael Austen, ed. (1999). The British Civil Aircraft Register 1919-1999. Tonbridge, Kent, England: Air-Britain. ISBN 0-85130-281-5.
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