Our Archives holds microfilm copies of aircraft records created by the United States Air Force and its predecessors and the United States Navy. These records are commonly called Aircraft History Cards. The Museum's holdings are partial duplicate sets of those held by the services. The Museum holdings do not include history cards for aircraft operated by Army Ground Forces/Army Aviation (post-WWII), non-activated Air National Guard units, or the United States Coast Guard.
What is an Aircraft History Card?
An Aircraft History Card (or the USAF "Individual Aircraft Record Card") is a compilation of the inventory history of a single aircraft, showing the location or controlling unit and status of that aircraft at a given time. Other information may also be included, such as airframe time, time since overhaul, and so forth. In most cases, this history covers the period from the acceptance of the aircraft by the controlling service until it is removed from that service's inventory.
Aircraft History Cards are not an operational history of the aircraft. They do not include any information on missions flown, crews assigned, or markings. They do not generally include specific maintenance or modification information. The records for Army Air Forces (AAF) aircraft transferred overseas during World War II stop upon arrival in theater and do not resume until the aircraft either returns to the continental United States or is removed from the inventory. Gaps exist for both Navy and AAF aircraft during 1943-1944, apparently due to changes in record-keeping policies and systems. Other gaps may exist on some cards and most cards contain a variety of data formats.
The Museum holds microfilm covering the following aircraft:
U.S. Air Force:
Aircraft retired from the Air Force inventory from the late-1920s through May 1953 except aircraft whose record cards had been removed from the master aircraft file prior to microfilming due to security or other concerns. For more information, see the US Air Force History Card Finding Aid. For information not held by the Museum, contact the United States Air Force:
United States Air Force
Air Force Historical Research Agency
600 Chennault Circle
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112-6424
Aircraft, 1911-1949 (all aircraft, all records); Stricken Aircraft, 1949-1962 (records for aircraft removed from USN inventory during time period); Stricken Aircraft, Dec 1962-Jun 1965 (records for aircraft removed from USN inventory during time period); Active Aircraft, Dec 1962-Jun 1965 (records for aircraft still on USN inventory in Jun 1965); and Active Aircraft, Jun 1965 through FY1986. For more information, see the US Navy History Card Finding Aid. For information not held by the Museum: Aircraft History Cards covering 1911 to 1987 have been transferred to the National Naval Aviation Museum. For information on aircraft from 1987 to the present, please contact Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
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