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Handbooks and manuals published by the Federal Aviation Administration usually have a designation attached to them. For example, the current Instrument Flying Handbook is designated FAA-H-8083-15B at the time I am writing this.

One apparent purpose of this system is to keep track of what particular version of is current.

What is this designator's proper name? What is the history of this scheme and can anyone shed light on any other purposes it may have?

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    $\begingroup$ You should check out FAA-STD-069, which is has the FAA standard practices on preparation of handbooks. $\endgroup$ – aeroalias Nov 26 '16 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ @aeroalias Wait - there's a handbook on handbooks? $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Nov 26 '16 at 23:57
  • $\begingroup$ One reason for traceability is the legal liability of compliance. Pilots and aircraft manufactures are only required to observe the rules and regulations at the time of manufacture or date of flight. This has implications of hundreds of $millions of dollars particularly when it comes to accidents. $\endgroup$ – jwzumwalt Dec 6 '18 at 10:40
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I must have too much time on my hands, because I actually looked this up in the handbook on handbooks that aeroalias referenced.

5.1.2.3 Document identifiers

The identifier for handbooks shall be placed in the upper right corner of the first page. The identifier as assigned by ATO-W Enterprise CM shall include the letters “FAA” followed by a hyphen, then any combination of numbers, letters, or dashes. It shall not include any other symbols.

5.1.2.7 Handbook numbering.

FAA handbooks are assigned traceability numbers by Enterprise Configuration Management organization following endorsement by the Systems Engineering organization. This alphanumeric designator will utilize the following format: FAA- HDBK-(XXX), where "XXX" equals a three digit number. The handbook number is placed in the uppermost right corner of the cover page.

Section 5.1.2.5.1 Superseding revisions doesn’t appear to be followed in any of the FAA handbooks I have.

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