In English, it's customary to italicize the names of vessels, aircraft, and spacecraft, e.g. USS Oklahoma, B-17 Ye Olde Pub, and space shuttle Discovery. Does that also apply to specific aircraft known only by their serial numbers or registration, like Cessna 172 N344RB vs N344RB or F-15 90-0240 vs 90-0240?
The FAA writing guide doesn't cover this but refers you to the U.S. Government Publishing Office Style Manual, which says not to italicize hull numbers; it appears likely the same applies to aircraft registration numbers or serial numbers.
In the 2016 GPO Style Manual it says "The names of aircraft, vessels, and manned spacecraft are italicized unless otherwise indicated." It then gives a list of examples. Those italicized include
- USS Wisconsin
- Apollo 13, Atlantis (U.S. spaceships)
- Enola Gay
Those not italicized include
- Air Force One (President’s plane)
- B–50 (type of plane)
- MiG, MiG–35
Of those, DD–882 and LST–1155 are US Navy hull classification numbers. In view of how the same principles hold across ships, aircraft, and spacecraft, the same rules can be applied to aircraft. (The idea that italicization would depend on whether the plane has another name is a little bizarre.)
This is supported by the majority of websites, e.g. the style guide of 1000 Aircraft Photos.
I can't cite a definitive rule on this, but as someone who's read a lot about aircraft, I would say no.
Wikipedia does not italicize serial numbers.