Re: Moto-Tug Serial Numbers (BNO 40 XXXX)

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Posted by Paladin (Bob In PA) on December 28, 2009 at 22:14:47 [URL] [DELETE] :

In Reply to: Re: Moto-Tug Serial Numbers (BNO 40 XXXX) posted by Tim Daley(MI) on December 28, 2009 at 17:48:43:


Here's what I know. Although I was a ground pounder, I spent most of my Navy time stationed at an air base.

The Air Force uses a slightly more complicated system to number their planes. It uses a prefix and suffix, although prefixes usually are not painted on the plane. For example (I have the USAF Museum handbook in front of me), a particular F-104 at the museum is 56-914 and a B-58A is 59-2458.

The Navy uses a very simple syatem. Basically, every plane that they have ever owned is sequentially numbered. Now, it really isn't quite that simple as blocks of numbers are assigned when a contract to supply planes is signed. But, there are no duplicate numbers as in the USAF system. By definition, there cannot be.

These numbers assigned by the Navy are called "Bureau Numbers" or BuNo. Going way back, the command responsible for aviation in the Navy was the "Bureau of Aeronautics". Nowadays it is called NavAir, or the Bureau of Naval Aviation.

To prove my point, the USAF museum has a Navy UH-34J helo. It is BuNo 148963

My best guess is the Ford found themselves dealing with some hidebound admirals who were scratching their heads trying to decide how to serialize these little tractors that they had been sent to purchase. Custody is very big in the military. They were all familiar with the Bureau Number (BuNo) system, so they suggested that Ford adopt it for the tractors. Somehow BuNo was shortened to BNO, maybe because there wasn't room for another letter on the block. Let's think - *9NXXXXXX* turns out to be 10 characters. BNO 40 XXXX - including the spaces turns out to be 11 characters.

Did the Ford stamp set supplied to dealers even have a stamp for "U"? Maybe there wasn't any. In the event of a block replacement perhaps the overhaul facility was supposed to reserialize the new block. They couldn't do it if they didn't have the stamp!

It's shame that the folks who could answer these questions are all passed on, leaving us to figure it out as best we can.


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