Wikipedia:Notability (vehicles)

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The intent of this page is to give guidelines for consistent decisions in articles for deletion and merging discussions. It does not replace the WP:N requirement for significant coverage in secondary sources. This page should not be used to make decisions for WP:Criteria for speedy deletion.

These guidelines are an extension of Wikipedia:Notability, and reflect the following core Wikipedia policies:

Claims of notability must adhere to Wikipedia's policy on attribution; it is not enough to simply assert that an article meets a criterion without substantiating that claim with reliable sources.

Coverage notes[edit]

This page provides notability criteria for all types of machines and devices (other than models and toys[1]) that transport a payload, including but not limited to human beings. As such, it covers a broad array of devices, from bicycles to spacecraft.

The page addresses five types of articles:

This page does not provide criteria for imaginary, fictional,[3] or hypothetical vehicles, but does cover projects currently under development as well as abandoned projects and design studies where the resulting product would have been covered by these guidelines had it been completed.


Note that the line between "type", "subtype", and "unique" is not necessarily clear-cut; and has occasionally been deliberately blurred in one direction or the other for political and/or marketing reasons. In general, Wikipedia editors should be guided by distinctions provided in reliable sources. Primary sources such as identifiers assigned by the manufacturer may be helpful.

"Broad Groups"[edit]

Broad groups are almost always notable, even if there have been very few actual vehicles produced, such as Electric cars or Supersonic transports. They should, however, be merged whenever practical and should avoid WP:NEOLOGISMs, especially neologisms used solely for marketing purposes. Groups that have yet to produce any functional vehicles, such as Flying cars, are less likely to be notable and should be treated on a case by case basis.


A type of vehicle is generally notable if it is verifiably through reliable sources, a distinct "type" as demonstrated by any one or more of the following criteria:

  • The vehicle is or was offered for commercial sale under a distinct brand name or classification.
  • The vehicle is treated as a distinct type in reliable secondary sources; for example its own distinct entry in Jane's All the World's Aircraft or similar industry publications.
  • It has been legally recognized as a separate type[4] by a relevant national or international authority. (Example: the Taylor Coot has the ICAO aircraft type designator "COOT")
  • The vehicle has received a distinct designation from a national authority or the armed forces of any nation. (Example: the Focke-Wulf Ta 183 is notable as a type, because it received a distinct designation from the Reichsluftfahrtministerium even if it was never built, much less flown.)
  • The vehicle has received a distinct model number from an established builder or manufacturer. (eg: since Blériot built other notable types, the Blériot X is notable, even if this particular aircraft was not completed or flown.)

In those situations where the type does not fit the established criteria for notability, it may be better to feature material about it in an article about a closely-related design or (if none exist) about the manufacturer rather than creating a separate article for that aircraft.

"Subtypes" and variants[edit]

Articles should not be fragmented, with each split lowering the level of notability. While a type may be notable, it is not normally advisable to have a separate article for subtypes, and it is often the case that despite the parent type being manifestly notable, a derivative article may not be. Exceptions will routinely occur.

A vehicle subtype is not likely to be notable enough for a separate article if it is:

  1. An obvious subtype (Example: the P-51H Mustang, the Toyota Corolla E90)
  2. A licensed or unlicensed copy of another vehicle (Example: the Avia F.39, a licence-built Fokker F.IX, or the Atlas Kudu, an unlicensed copy of the Aermacchi AL.60)
  3. A modification or remanufacture of an existing vehicle (Example: the Conroy Turbo Three, a Douglas DC-3 remanufactured with turboprop engines)
  4. An alternative designation or name for the vehicle for sales or operations in different countries. (Example: the CT-33 Silver Star, the Canadian designation for the T-33 Shooting Star).

The creation of articles on subtypes is almost always for pragmatic reasons. In each of the above examples, a separate article may become practical if the parent article grows to the point where it may be split to a new article, and notability can be demonstrated using the criteria below. This should occur as a top down process - see {{splitsection}}, and common sense dictates that the most famous and/or numerically significant subtype(s) should be split off first. Rather than creating separate articles for each subtype of a vehicle, it is common to create a combined article on all variants, treating them in more detail than the summary "Variants" section in the major article about a type (eg. Supermarine Spitfire variants).

Some subtypes are clearly distinct from the immediate parent type and should have their own articles even if the main article does not have to be split. The most obvious case for a "clearly distinct" subtype is when the vehicle is used for a different role, such as the F-15 Eagle and the F-15E Strike Eagle. Other "clearly distinct" subtypes should be readily apparent from available sources that treat the vehicle as distinct, such as the Honda Civic Hybrid.

A subtype may be notable if its parent article requires splitting and it meets any one of the following criteria:

  • The vehicle has received a distinct model number from its builder or manufacturer. (eg: the Bell 47G is an eligible subtype of Bell 47)
  • The aircraft is reported as a distinct subtype in reliable secondary sources. or similar industry publications, or an encyclopedia of aircraft or similar reliable work.

The creation of an article on a sub-subtype should not occur unless a similar process has occurred. (eg. the Messerschmitt Me 262A-1a should not be considered for a separate article until and unless the article on the Messerschmitt Me 262A has grown to the point where a split becomes necessary.

"Individual vehicles"[edit]

Almost all individual vehicles are not notable, since in many cases a vehicle is treated in secondary sources as an example of a type. For a distinct article, an individual vehicle should be least one of the following:

  • Vehicles that are generally treated by secondary sources as distinct entities are generally notable in and of themselves. (Examples: Large ships such as the RMS Queen Mary II, historical subjects like the Enola Gay, and spacecraft such as the Space Shuttle Columbia)
  • The major subject of a reliable book or monograph
  • The major subject of a half hour or longer broadcast on a national radio or TV network.
  • The subject[5] of multiple, non-trivial[6] published works whose sources are independent of the vehicle's builder, manufacturer, owner, or operator[7], with at least some of these works serving a general audience.
  • When possible, a vehicle that is only notable for participation in a single event that was not specifically modified for the purpose of the event should be covered in the article about the event, not in a separate article.

"Unique vehicles"[edit]

Note that an individual vehicle may be notable as a unique example of a distinct "type" under the criteria set out above. In this case, it is the "type" that is significant, not its notability as an individual vehicle, and this will be considered in the naming of the article.

Other considerations[edit]

Special note: advertising and promotion[edit]

Advertising is prohibited as an official Wikipedia policy of long standing. Advertising should be removed by following these steps, in order of precedence:

  1. Clean up per Wikipedia:neutral point of view
  2. Delete remaining advertising content from the article
  3. Delete the article, by listing it at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion if no notable content remains. However, if an article contains only blatant advertising, with no other useful content, it may be tagged per Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion instead.

It should always weigh against an article's inclusion if the manufacturer or other interested party is the creator of the Wikipedia article. See Wikipedia:Conflict of interest for more information.

Future vehicles[edit]

Since Wikipedia is not a crystal ball articles about vehicles that have not yet been built are generally discouraged unless reliable sources provide strong evidence about the project's notability. Future vehicles, including those that exist as prototypes but have not entered serial production, may support an article if they have been the subject of academic study or significant industry research and development, and sufficient published reference material exists. (e.g. Atmospheric railway, Chevrolet Volt).


Sample encyclopedic works[edit]

  • Apostolo, Giorgio (1984). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters. New York: Bonanza.
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions.
  • Simpson, R. W. (1998). Airlife's Helicopters and Rotorcraft. Ramsbury: Airlife Publishing.
  • World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft. London: Orbis.
  • Simpson, R. W. (1995). Airlife's General Aviation. Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing.
  • Nowarra, Heinz (1983). Die deutsche Luftrüstung 1933-1945. Bonn: Bernard and Graefe.

Authoritative websites[edit]

  • [1] - the ICAO directory of types. Note that this directory generally covers only types where there is at least one example flying somewhere in the world; historic types are generally not listed.
  • [2] - the U.S. FAA database of Type Certificate Data Sheets. This covers all type certificates current in the United States and many expired and historic certificates.
  • [3] - the European Aviation Safety Agency database of Type Certificate Data Sheets for aircraft of the EU.
  • [4] - a searchable, online version of The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Directory of Airplanes: their Designers and Manufacturers - exhaustive list of types and subtypes from throughout the world and all eras, but excluding lighter-than-air and remotely-piloted aircraft.
  • [5] - The Royal Air Force Museum Aircraft Thesaurus - exhaustive list of types and subtypes from throughout the world and all eras, but excluding lighter-than-air aircraft and with limited coverage of remotely-piloted aircraft. Alternative names and designations noted.
  • [6] - An online version of V.B.Shavrov's History of Aircraft Construction in the Soviet Union - Russian language only but exhaustive coverage of Russian and Soviet-built types and subtypes. Heavier-than-air aircraft only.

Other useful websites[edit]

The following websites display evidence of meticulous research and may be considered generally reliable; however, they are still private websites and should therefore be used with caution and verified against other sources.

  • [7] - - extensive database of sailplane types from around the world. Emphasis is on modern/current designs.
  • [8] - Das Virtuelle Luftfahrtmuseum - extensive database of types from around the world and throughout time. Little coverage of lighter-than-air types. Site is mainly in German, but most is available in English as well.
  • [9] - - exhaustive list of every aircraft type and subtype produced in the United States, including many aircraft poorly documented (if documented at all) elsewhere.
  • [10] - Helicopters in Czechia - extensive listing of helicopters built and flown in Czechia and Czechoslovakia. Text in Czech only.
  • [11] - Уголок неба "Sky Corner" - detailed directory of military (and some civil) types and subtypes with the emphasis on Russian and Soviet aircraft. Main text in Russian, some pages available in English in abbreviated versions.
  • [12] - Russian Aviation Museum - exhaustive database of all aircraft built or operated in Russia and the Soviet Union. Based heavily on Shavrov's work.
  • [13] - Emanuel Gustin's Military Aircraft Database - exhaustive database of all heavier-than-air military aircraft from around the world throughout time.
  • [14] - Official Guide to Experimental Aircraft - directory of homebuilt aircraft, with emphasis on advertising by manufacturers currently in business.
  • [15] - exhaustive database of every aircraft type and subtype built in France.
  • [16] - - database section of popular aircraft photography site. Emphasis is on commercial aircraft from the US and Western Europe post-World War II
  • [17] - - database of aircraft specifications in German
  • [18] - exhaustive database of every aircraft type and subtype built in the Netherlands.
  • [19] - Enrico Pezzi memorial site - exhaustive database of every aircraft type and subtype built in Italy up to 1945.
  • [20] - exhaustive database of every flying boat to ever fly.
  • [21] - intended to be a complete directory of every aircraft type built in the UK.


  1. ^ Wikipedia:Notability (toys and games) may provide guidance for models and toys
  2. ^ In the aviation world, the word "type" has a specialised narrow meaning, namely, an aircraft design that has been issued with a type certificate from a relevant authority. This page follows the more casual usage since it applies to vehicles other than aircraft.
  3. ^ Wikipedia:Notability (fiction) is a more relevant guideline
  4. ^ "Search engine for issued aircraft type designators". International Civil Aviation Organization. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
  5. ^ "subject" means non-trivial treatment and excludes mere mention of the vehicle, but not necessarily the sole or major subject of the work.
  6. ^ "Non-trivial" excludes personal websites, blogs, bulletin boards, Usenet posts, wikis and other media that are not themselves reliable. An analysis of the manner of treatment is crucial as well; for example is reliable, but postings to that site by members of the public on a subject do not share the site's imprimatur.
  7. ^ Independent does not mean independent of the aviation industry, but only refers to those actually involved with the production, operation, or preservation of this particular vehicle.

See also[edit]

More specific notability essays