The World Wide Web has recently proven itself to be a gold mine of data on aircraft. Links to most of the sites I consulted can be found in the info archives and image archives sections of my aviation links.
And now, here are some of the publications I have consulted. I'd like to annotate more of them, but haven't had the time. Please let me know if you know of anything that might be of help to me in my seemingly endless pursuit! :-)
Andrade, John M. U.S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials 1909 to 1979. Earl Shilton, UK: Midland Counties Publications, 1997.
The authoritative source for U.S. military aircraft designation information! If I had found this work while doing my own research, I may have given up, since is so all-encompassing. Not only are the designations covered, but serial numbers for the relevant aircaft are presented. This work should belong to any aircraft designation or serial number enthusiast. Angelucci, Enzo and Matricardi, Paolo. World Aircraft: Combat Aircraft 1945-1960. Maidenhead, UK: Sampson Low, 1980.
Apostolo, Giorgio. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters. New York: Bonanza Books, 1984.
Beaver, Paul. Modern Military Helicopters. Wellingborough, UK: Patrick Stephens Limited, 1987.
The Boeing Company. Pedigree of Champions: Boeing Since 1916: 6th edition, 1985.
Bright, Charles D., ed. Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Air Force. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.
Very complete source that covers aircraft, specific missions, historical figures, campaigns, locations, contractos, and much more. Not many pictures, but I in particular found some unusual nicknames and descriptions of aircraft here.
Carey, Keith. The Helicopter. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: TAB Books Inc., 1986.
Chant, Chris, series ed. Boeing 707: Super Profile. Newbury Park, California: Haynes Publishers, Inc., 1983.
Drendel, Lou. C-130 Hercules in Action. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1984.
Fahey, James C. US Army Aircraft 1908-1946. New York, NY: Ships and Aircraft, 1946. Fahey, James C. USAF Aircraft 1947-1956. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio: Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., 1978 Gethig, Michael and Gunston, Bill and Richardson, Doug and Spick, Mike and Sweetman, Bill. The Great Book of Modern Warplanes. New York: Portland House, 1987.
Gunston, Bill. Air Superiority. Osceola, Wisconsin: Motorbooks International Publishers and Wholesalers Inc., 1985.
Gunston, Bill. American Warplanes. New York: Crescent Books, 1986.
Gunston, Bill, consultant ed. The Encyclopedia of World Air Power. New York: Crescent Books, 1986.
Gunston, Bill. The Illustrated Directory of Fighting Aircraft of World War II. New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1988.
Gunston, Bill. Militar-Flugzeuge der Gegenwart. Cologne, West Germany: Buch und Zeit Verlaggeschellschaft mbH, 1985.
Gunston, Bill. Osprey Combat Aircraft Series Number 13: Stealth Warplanes. London: Osprey Publishing Limited, 1988.
Gunston, Bill. Warplanes of the Future. New York: Crescent Books, 1985.
Gunston, Bill and Spick, Mike. Modern Fighting Helicopters. New York: Crescent Books, 1986.
Hallion, Richard P. Designers and Test Pilots. Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1983.
Harding, Stephen. U.S. Army Aircraft Since 1947. Stillwater, MN: Specialty Press, 1990.
Hardy, M.J. Sea, Sky and Stars: An Illustrated History of Grumman Aircraft. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1987.
Hooks, M.J. Douglas DC-3: Super Profile. Newbury Park, California:Haynes Publishers Inc., 1985.
Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II. New York: Military Press, 1989.
Jones, Lloyd S. U.S. Fighters Army Air-Force 1925 to 1980s. Fallbrook, CA: Aero Publishers, Inc., 1975.
Larkins, William T. U.S. Navy Aircraft 1921-1941, U.S. Marine Corps Aircraft 1914-1959. New York: Orion Books, 1988.
Maloney, Edward T. Northrop Flying Wings. Corona del Mar, California: WWII Publishers, 1975.
Marshall, Chris, production editor. The Defenders: A Comprehensive Guide to the Warplanes of the USA. New York: Gallery Books, 1988.
Matricardi, Paolo. The Concise History of Aviation. New York: Crescent Books, 1985.
Mondey, David, general ed. The International Encyclopedia of Aviation. New York: Crown Publishers, 1986.
Mondey, David. The Pictorial History of the USAF. New York: Arco Publishing Company, Inc., 1971.
The Official World War II Guide to the Army Air Forces. New York: Bonanza Books, 1988.
O'Leary, Michael. U.S. Sky Spies Since World War 1. New York: Blandford Press, 1986.
Pearcy, Arthur. A History of U.S. Coast Guard Aviation. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989.
Redding, Robert and Yenne, Bill. Boeing: Planemaker to the World. New York: Crescent Books, 1983.
Swanborough, Gordon and Bowers, Peter M. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1989.
Swanborough, Gordon and Bowers, Peter M. United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1990.
These last two volumes in particular are very comprehensive and completed almost all of the blank spots I had encountered up until I found them. They also provided the most complete and accurate renditions of the designation systems used by all of the services. In many cases, I am quoting verbatim from their text in my "Systems of Designation" text, although I have updated the information and corrected some errors and oversights.
Sweetman, Bill. Advanced Fighter Technology. Osceola, Wisconsin: Motorbooks International Publishers and Wholesalers Inc., 1987.
Sweetman, Bill. Aircraft 2000. New York: Military Press, 1984.
Sweetman, Bill. Stealth Aircraft: Secrets of Future Airpower. Osceola, Wisconsin: Motorbooks International Publishers and Wholesalers Inc., 1986.
Taylor, John W.R., ed. Jane's Pocket Book of Helicopters. New York: Collier Books, 1978.
Taylor, Michael. The Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft. New York: Gallery Books, 1987.
Taylor, Michael J.H. Warbirds Illustrated Number 18: Military Prototypes of the 1950's. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Arms and Armour Press, 1983.
Wagner, Ray. American Combat Planes: 3rd enlarged edition. Garden City, New Jersey: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1982.
Wood, Derek. Jane's World Aircraft Recognition Handbook. London: Jane's Publishing Company Limited, 1987.
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