CASA announced today that it would change Australia's civil aircraft registrations to an alpha-numeric system that would include numbers as well as letters.
The move is being made to create more registrations than were possible under the simple VH-ABC system.
"We use the VH Australian Nationality Mark followed by 3 alpha characters," CASA CEO Pip Spence said in the June CASA Briefing newsletter. "Soon we will be introducing a 3-character alphanumeric combintion such as VH-2AB, VH-A9B, VH-A22.
"Introducing a 3-character alphanumeric system will mean the availability of more than 20,000 additional marks.
This will give us enough marks for at least another 30 years.
"This supply maintains the current look of the registration mark and allows for sequential reservations and selective individual marks."
Australia began using the VH- system in January 1929, which was adopted from the arbitrary designation given to Australian civil aircraft by the International Radiotelegraph Convention held in the USA two years earlier. Prior to that, Australian aircraft used the British G- systems of registration.
According to the Airways Museum, the first aircraft to carry a VH- registration was a Gipsy Moth, owned by Mr TP Manifold which bore the marking VH-UKF.