Wright Field Numbers
Research and compilation by Jos Heyman
(Additional information, corrections, etc, can be emailed to the author)
From 1918 to approximately 1930, aircraft tested at McCook and later Wright Fields in Dayton OH received so called P-serials.
Basis for the P-serials list is one published in the American Aviation History Society's Journal, Volume 1 (1956), pp 147-157, and provided to me by John Erickson in January 2002. The 1956 list was compiled by Warren Bodie, with help from Jennie Reeves, custodian of the Wright Field still-photo files, and checked with independent data supplied by Peter M Bowers, William T Larkins, and John Sloan.
It seems the 1956 list was compiled in two parts. One part apparently ends with the last available disposition date (March 24, 1927), with some aircraft still listed as "Active," whilst the second part takes us to probably sometime in 1930.
To this list additional and complementary information based on later reference sources has been added, in particular from R B Casari's US Army Aviation Serials Numbers and Orders 1908-1923 (Reconstructed),(1995). In very few cases where typing errors were obvious, corrections have been made to the 1956 list, and then only after careful consideration.
There are a number of Curtiss Jenny and the DH-4 aircraft for which the serials can be verified, but not the sub-typesthose aircraft had been much converted, and unless we can go back to their time at Wright, it will not be possible to determine what sub-type they were at that time.
A number of serials pose a problem, and they are mentioned in a note. The dilemma is whether to consider the details in the 1956 listing as newly discovered information or as "overtaken" by subsequent research.
Disposition data has essentially remained unchanged from the 1956 list except that, where possible, abbreviations have been transcribed. There are still a few mystery abbreviations, like I & I Report and ST, which remain unexplained.
The museum, mentioned several times as the disposition, apparently refers to the forerunner of the current USAF Museum that was established at McCook Field in 1923. Although it is suggested that the collection went in storage at the US entry into WWII, it does not appear that any of these aircraft found their way into the current USAF Museum's collection.
Finally, the 1956 list included P-numbers in the 900 series. We know now that these were Project numbers, used as a designation in combination with other designation letters, and not as serials. Some of those aircraft were later procured and given a proper designation, others were never procured.