List of contents

The Index Screen

The Details Screen

The Index Screen.

For the individual registration (or range of registrations) requested, the Index attempts to list every Canadian registration that has been allotted to, or painted on, an aircraft (sometimes erroneously), plus errors of identification in the Library & Archives Canada catalog et al.

Each line is a snapshot of when each registration was allotted, and when it was deleted.  It is not intended to be a complete history of the aircraft; where available the history will be shown on the Details screen.

Seq (Sequence number)

  • The normal value is numeric, starting chronologically at “1” for each unique Registration/Aircraft Type/ msn combination.
  • “M” indicates that this is a Manufacturer’s Production Mark (MPM).  Transport Canada has allotted specific registrations for the exclusive use of certain Canadian manufacturers.  These manufacturers have been given permission to allot these registrations to newly manufactured aircraft during production flight testing, without having to go through the full registration process each time the registration is re-allotted to another new aircraft.  The major condition is that a given registration may not be applied to two aircraft at the same time.  In the past some manufacturers were caught in just that situation and had their MPM privilege withdrawn.
  • “E” indicates that there are records in the public domain (e.g. the catalog of Library & Archives Canada, et al) which contain incorrect information.  The use of this code and the information on the screen will hopefully help the inquirer avoid red herrings.
  • As new allotments (often "not taken up" [ntu]) are discovered and slotted into their correct chronological position, subsequent Sequence numbers will change.
  • A single Sequence number will also cover the following two situations:
  •   (a) If an aircraft is deleted (e.g. after a write-off) and the registration then re-allotted (e.g. after a rebuild), there will be a single Sequence (line) which will show the original date of allotment and the final deletion date (if not current); and
  •   (b) If an aircraft is deleted, goes to a foreign register and then back to the Canadian Register (e.g. for seasonal airliner leases) then there will be one line for each such registration, and all such lines will have the same Sequence number.  [This will make more sense when we implement the details function.]

Marks Carried

  • Normally each line will have a single registration. However, the CF-/C-F series is unique in that an aircraft can change from CF-AAA to C-FAAA, back to CF-AAA and so on, depending upon specific circumstances spelled out in Transport Canada regulations.
  • A registration in quotes (e.g. “CF-ZZZ”) indicates that these marks, although not officially allotted, were carried on this aircraft.  There are several reasons why this might have occurred:
  • (a) When an aircraft was ordered, there was a misunderstanding at the manufacturer’s end and the incorrect marks were applied before delivery; in very rare cases these incorrect marks were accepted by Transport Canada;
  • (b) Spurious marks were painted on the aircraft for movies, illegal activities, etc; or
  • (c) These marks are carried on certain museum aircraft for historical accuracy.
  • Airlines and aircraft dealers will often ask for a range of marks to be allotted to them, and this will be agreed to.  Originally, such companies were free to allot the next available mark from their assigned range to the next aircraft acquired, though they were expected to inform the authorities of all such allotments.  In the mid 1960’s things got a little out-of-hand and the rules were changed.  If requested, Transport Canada still “reserves” a range of marks, but the allotment of each mark is made by Transport Canada which then informs the airline, et al, of which mark to paint on their new aircraft.
  • Until recently, re-registration of an aircraft from one set of Canadian marks to another was not allowed.  If a company operated an aircraft but then decided to upgrade to a newer model, but wished to retain the same marks, the only way for this to happen was to sell the original aircraft abroad, so the registration could be deleted and then re-allotted to the newer aircraft.  And if they wished to continue operating the original aircraft, then, having sold it abroad, it had to be re-imported and allotted a fresh set of marks.  Nowadays, Transport Canada is much more relaxed about changing registration marks from one aircraft to another.

Aircraft Type

  • The Aircraft Type (generally specified by the "make" and "model") is the type when it was first allotted Canadian marks.  Later changes in Aircraft Type, etc, will appear in the detailed histories.
  • This field can contain other kinds of information, such as:
  • (a) [not allotted; reason] where, for example, reason can include “language issues” including the use of such internationally well-known combinations as “SOS” or unacceptable words;
  • (b) [allotted; name] where name identifies a company or person to which a registration has been allotted but the aircraft type has not been recorded; and
  • (c) “[unknown]” where there is evidence of an allotment but neither the aircraft type nor the company/person appear to have been recorded.
  • The “X” suffix that Transport Canada uses to indicate an “owner maintained” aircraft does not appear on the Index screen; that information will appear on the Details screen.
  • Although at one time Transport Canada would designate a kit-built aircraft (for example, a VP-1 Volksplane built by a Mr Smith) as the “Smith VP-1 Volksplane”, we have decided to use the designer's name instead, adding the builder’s surname in squared brackets, e.g. “Evans VP-1 Volksplane [Smith]”.

msn (manufacturers serial number)

  • If the msn of an aircraft changes, either through re-allotment on the production line or because the fuselage has been changed (not strictly allowed, but occasionally granted), each such change will have its own line, but with the same Sequence number.
  • As with the Aircraft Type, the application of the “X” suffix that Transport Canada uses to indicate an “owner maintained” aircraft, does not appear on the Index screen.

Previous Immediate ID

  • The Previous Immediate Identification (PID) is the marking (either Canadian or foreign registration, military serial, etc) carried by an aircraft immediately before entering the CCAR.  For aircraft sold by a manufacturer to a Canadian customer, this will show as “[new aircraft]”.
  • A blank PID indicates that we are unsure as to whether it is a new aircraft or not.

Date of Allotment/Date of Registration

  • In the Canadian system, these dates represent two separate actions.  We prefer the Date of Allotment date, if it is available.  Sometimes no file exists, or if it does this date has not been recorded, in which case we show the date of the first Certificate of Registration in italics.  Even then the full date may not be available, in which case the missing data will show as “xx”. As we enter the 1950s there is a new complication where the solution shows up in the form “1956.04.30*” [see the 10 June 2019 entry under System Update for an explanation].

Date of Deletion

  • If an aircraft is still current on the CCAR, this field will show “Current”.
  • If the full date is not available, then the missing data will show as “xx”.
  • There is a difference between “cancelled” and “deleted”.  “cancelled” is what happens to the formal Certificates; “deleted” is when the aircraft marks are removed from the CCAR.  In the early days the DoT, probably due to the small number of aircraft in operation, were less concerned with deletions than they were with cancellations.  However, with the post-war boom in aviation in the 1940’s the DoT, starting in 1950, began to clean out (delete) much of the deadwood.  In simple terms, Certificates are cancelled when the owner loses legal control of the aircraft, either through sale or death.

Subsequent Fate

  • If an aircraft was sold abroad this field will show its new registration (where known), or the name of the country to which it was sold.
  • For most other situations there will be a series of abbreviations indicating whether it was “w/o” (written-off, e.g. crashed), “wfu” (withdrawn from use), “ntu” (not taken up), “dup” (a duplicate registration), et al.
  • Transport Canada, while recording the date that an aircraft was deleted from the CCAR, no longer records its fate other than for those which were exported to a named country.  Where no reason is known for the deletion of a registration, the term “del” is displayed in this field.  If users of HistoricCCAR know of a more particular fate (wfu, w/o, etc), we would be pleased to hear from you.
  • Of course, there are as many definitions of "ntu" as there are enthusiasts!  Our definition is that an aircraft is ntu if it was never issued formal flight authority (Certificate of Airworthiness or Flight Permit).  This will include aircraft which were allotted a registration but only flew with a temporary flight authority. 

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The Details Screen

The heading line sets the initial data (as per the Index Screen), plus the initial engine installed.

The body of the data contains highlights of the aircraft’s history. A blank line indicates that there is a period when the aircraft was inactive for a year or more; this feature is dispensed with as the aircraft’s history draws to a close. Data in italics indicates that it is unconfirmed.

The explanations below are based (alphabetically) on the Action codes rather than on the heading descriptions. However, a short discussion of dates in necessary.

Date of Action 

  • Dates, like cats, often appear to have a mind of their own. There are two actions in which dates can be a problem: Bills of Sale and CofR’s.
  • As long as a Bill of Sale was properly witnessed the Department was never concerned about the dates (if any) that they bore.
  • The CofR, from November 1936 to around the mid 1950’s was a long form which contained two different dates: (a) “[T]he said aircraft has been duly entered on the register of Canada on the [date]” and (b) “Given at Ottawa the [date]”. (a) is the date that the Department quoted as the date of registration, and (b) is the date that the CofR was created. BUT (a) was always back-dated to a previous event, usually the date that a temporary flight authority was issued, whereas (b) was the date that the formal CofR was issued, which may have been months after the temporary authority was issued (usually due to problems with paperwork of one description or another).
  • The problem is whether to list the data in chronological order, or to list it in a “logical” order. We have decided to use the “logical” order: a Bill of Sale before the US CofAforE, Bills of Sale in legal order, and CofR at the time they were issued (but showing the Date of Registration under Date of Action, and the date of issue in squared brackets at the end of the CofR details).

Now on to the different Actions:


  • If it was a reportable accident (or incident) then the report number is shown under Action-ID.
  • From 1920 till late 1936, when civil aviation reported to the Department of National Defence, reports were numbered from 1021-4-1 to around 1021-4-360. Reports were usually only issued for accidents involving death or serious injury.
  • Civil aviation was transferred to the new Department of Transport in November 1936. At this time a new series, starting at 1, was issued for accident reports. Numbers had reached around 4700 by the end of 1969. Over the years more and more types of accident were covered by these numbered reports.
  • In 1970 a new system of numbers was introduced, in the format rynnnn, where r represented the responsible Regional Office (A=Atlantic, Q=Quebec, O=Ontario, C=Central, W=West and P=Pacific), y represented the year (1=1971 through to 9=1979), and nnnn a sequential number starting from 1 within each Regional Office. Starting in 1972 the first number of nnnn was modified to differentiate between accidents (0) and incidents (4) (e.g. P74023 which was the 23rd incident in 1977 in the Pacific Region). For the rest of that decade there was some rationalization and flexibility with this numbering system.
  • Starting in 1980 the system was changed once more, this time adding the last two digits of the year to the front, e.g. 82-W20071 (note that even though the year now formed part of the number, the meaning of the 2 in W2... was retained. Two additional “region” codes were added: H for HQ, Ottawa, and F for accidents to Canadian registered aircraft outside Canada (previous to this time F had been used for accident to foreign registered aircraft within Canada!). Also, by this time, the first two numbers of nnnn had a uniform significance (00=accidents, 08=mid-air collision, 09=foreign, 40=incidents, 48=near collisions, 49=foreign, 50=hang gliders and ultralights).
  • Damage reported as an accident, but later determined to have been an incident, had the original report number cancelled and was re-issued with a new report number. The original accident number was returned to the pool, to be re-used for a later accident. Similarly, when damage originally determined to have been an incident proved to have been an accident, the incident report number was cancelled and an accident number issued.


  • This form and its forerunners (all titled “Aeroplane Inspection Release Certificate”) have been used to identify such major items as conversion from military to civil, conversion to water bomber, change in engine type et al.


  • If the registration was part of a range allotted, then the full range is shown.

Appl for CofR (Application for Certificate of Registration)

  • Indicates that an Application was submitted, although it did not result in the issue of a CofR.

Bill of Sale/Sale

  • Bill of Sale if present, or Sale if not.
  • For sales from War Assets Corporation or Crown Assets Disposal Corporation, the Sales Order identification (where known) is shown under Action-ID.

CofA (Certificate of Airworthiness)

  • CofA’s, separate from the CofR [see CofR below] started to be issued when the Department of Transport came into existence in November 1936. The numbering system started at “1” and had reached around “11000” by the late 1960’s when the numbering system was discontinued. Initially a CofA was only issued for Commercial operation (e.g. the carrying of passengers for hire). This continued until after the Second World War when CofA’s were issued for all civil aircraft.
  • Originally CofA numbers were issued from HQ in Ottawa. However, by the mid 1950’s, with the large increase in the number of civil aircraft, this function was decentralized to the Regional Offices, though HQ still retained control by allotting a range of numbers to the Regional Office as they ran out of numbers.

CofAforE (Certificate of Airworthiness for Export)

  • In general, aircraft coming into Canada to be registered on the CCAR had two major routes. They could be issued a CofA based on the issue of a foreign CofAforE (and a subsequent Canadian inspection), or undergo the IRAN process (Inspection and Repair As Necessary).
  • Where known the Certificate number and country of origin are shown under Action-ID.

CofR (Certificate of Registration)

  • When civil aviation in Canada was regularized in 1919, a document combining both a CofR and a CofA was issued (CofRandA). CofR’s are issued for three Purposes: Commercial, Private and State (though to be honest we don’t know what advantage the State CofR gives!).
  • The combined document was numbered, starting at 1. CofR’s, separate from the combined CofRandA, began to be issued when the Department of Transport came into existence in November 1936. The CofR numbering system continued from where the combined document left off and had reached around “45000” by the late 1960’s when the numbering system was discontinued.
  • Originally CofR numbers were issued from HQ in Ottawa. However, by the mid 1950’s, with the large increase in the number of civil aircraft, this function was decentralized to the Regional Offices, though HQ still retained control by allotting a range of numbers to the Regional Office as they ran out of numbers. It will be noted that for a given aircraft the CofR numbers may not be not consecutive. This can result when an aircraft based in an active region (e.g. Ontario, where new ranges of numbers were allotted frequently) is sold to a less active one (e.g. the Maritimes, where numbers are still being allotted from an earlier range).
  • The names on the original CofR's have been reproduced as accurately as possible (except as noted below). The major exceptions are the contraction of "Limited" to "Ltd", "Company" to "Co" et al.
  • Most names on a CofR are either individuals and/or incorporated companies, and the latter had to have a set proportion of Canadian “content” among the directors.
  • Then there are a smaller number of names which end with “Reg’d” (or “Enrg.” for Quebec) e.g. “Bradley Air Services Reg’d”. These are usually partnerships registered at the provincial level.
  • Finally there is another sub-category with the format “H.M. Hope (The Superior Sash Co)” where the name in brackets is the operating name. This is my shorthand for a longer version on the CofR; some variation of “operating under the firm name and style of ...”.
  • A legal change of name through Supplementary Letters Patent only resulted in an amended CofR and retained the original CofR number, if one had been allotted.
  • Many primary files no longer exist, in which case secondary sources must be used, and even these have gaps. The final fallback for the CofR date is the published CCAR’s (Canadian Civil Aircraft Registers). If this source has been used then this date will be in the format “[1972.03]” indicating that this CofR first appeared in the CCAR for the period ending March 1972.
  • The CofR number (if allotted) and its Purpose (C=Commercial, P=Private, S=State) are shown under Action-ID.

FP (Flight Permit)

  • Flight Permits were introduced in 1957 to encompass the growing home-built movement. These aircraft were ineligible for a CofA which required an aircraft to have been built to a recognized Type Certificate.
  • Numbering started at 1 but at a later date the format was changed to indicate the Regional Office e.g. UL-62 (Montreal).
  • Flight Permits were also issued for experimental, test or development flying. One early stipulation was that the aircraft had to have “-X” appended to its registration.
  • The FP number (if allotted) is shown under Action-ID. For the experimental FP’s, where the reason is known, a brief description of that reason is shown under Details.


  • Prior to 1990 a flight authority (CofA or FP) had to be renewed on a regular basis, usually annually, and, again usually, for a further year. However a flight authority could be issued for periods of less than a year, usually because of some concern about the airworthiness of an aircraft.
  • After 1990 the flight authority became permanent and was either “in force” or “out of force”, depending on the airworthiness status of the aircraft, and the responsibility for maintaining airworthiness was vested in the owner. However, the owner must still submit an annual report to the Department giving, amongst other data, the total time since new; this data is only used for statistical purposes.
  • Over the years the annual application for the renewal of the flight authority has taken a number of different formats. Before the mid 1950’s the recording of the total time since new (TT=) was rather haphazard; western District Offices usually did record this data but eastern Offices did not.
  • The majority of entries have been transcribed and are in the format TT=1,234:55. Obvious arithmetical errors, where they have been noticed, have been corrected without comment. There are a number of variations in the data:
  • (a) There are a few instances where the total time since new is unknown and where only the time since acquisition of the aircraft is known. These are in the format TT=-(133:55).
  • (b) And then there are all the problems. Sometimes the TT figure for a particular year has not been filled out. In others, the figures for TT switch from TSN to TSOH and back, et al. Besides airframe hours, these forms often include engine hours (and the engine serial number) and the same for propellers. Between all this information it is sometimes possible to calculate the aircraft hours (TT) with a fair degree of confidence. These are in the format TT=[1234:55]: note that the hours are in italics and should be used with caution.
  • (c) If there is any doubt as to the accuracy of a calculated figure the TT= part has been omitted.
  • Some companies, such as airlines whose maintenance procedures met certain standards set by the Department, were issued a “permanent” CofA which was in effect while they owned that aircraft. During that time they did not have to submit the annual request for a CofA renewal.


  • Leases have always been part and parcel of aircraft operations. In the early days leases were all but ignored, presumably on the basis that such leases were the business of the registered owner/operator, not the Department. This situation appears to start to change with the setting up of the Air Transport Board in 1938. An aircraft registered as Private which was leased to an operator proposing to operate a Commercial service had the Purpose of the lessor’s CofR changed to Commercial; this Purpose was changed back to Private on return from the lease. It was not until around 1968 that, on a lease, a new CofR was issued in the name of the lessee (even if there was no change in Purpose). The lessor’s CofR was retained by the District Office and returned and re-instated at the end of the lease.


  • For a CofR this is normally the community in the mailing address plus the Provincial code; often this community is where the aircraft is based. Where the base is different from the mailing address then the base is added in brackets. Where there are co-owners and they live in different communities then each owner’s community is listed, separated by a slash (/), followed by the base in brackets.


  • Used when either an item needs clarification or a part of the history does not lend itself to the general format, e.g. only vague dates are available.

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