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Aviation Archaeology Resources

Aircraft Inspection Stamps
Aircraft Inspection Stamps, also known as Quality Assurance Stamps, are stamps that the manufactures stamp into a part once a Quality Insurance Inspector has inspected the part and deemed it acceptable to go on a production aircraft. To the aviation archaeologist they are extremely useful in helping to identify an aircraft at a crash site. Even if a few fragments remain, but the stamp is found the aircraft manufacture is know known. Special thanks to Walt Witherspoon who took this project and ran with it, spending many hours of his own time going to museums, getting permission, and crawling through aircraft looking for stamps. He also created all of the drawings of the stamps. We are in the process of taking digital images of these stamps and will be adding them to this web page soon.

Part Number Prefix By Manufacturer
Part number prefix will identify the specific type of aircraft, but you still should determine aircraft manufacture first from Inspection Stamps as some numbers overlap between manufactures. Boeing being one example as all of their aircraft use all numbers so they overlap all other manufactures numbers. Thus this list is listed by aircraft manufacture.

Part Number Prefix By Aircraft Type
Same list as above, but listed by aircraft type. This list is useful if one is looking for a specific crash and wants to know what prefix numbers to expect. Or if no inspection stamps are found you can look up a suspected type. If it often possible to have a best guess as to fighter or bomber, prop or jet, USAF or USN, by the crash site. For specifics on how to do this I would suggest taking one of our weekend aviation archaeology courses. For the reasons listed in the paragraph above, a list just in numeric order would be too unwieldy as every Boeing product would be listed for every number etc.

Aero Part Identify Board an International Board to identify unknown aircraft parts from crash sites. You have a part from a crash you need to identify? Try here.

Aviation Archaeology Contact List
This is a listing of people interested in aviation archaeology and their contact information. The idea behind the list is to help find other people in your area that you can team up with on searches, research, etc.
To add your name to the list please e-mail your information to

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