What Methods Are Used to Track Airplane Tail Numbers?


Quick Answer

The Federal Aviation Administration has a registry that allows checking the tail number for any aircraft registered in the United States. For aircraft registered elsewhere, Landings.com allows you to search the official databases from several foreign countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia. Landings.com also provides links to other official and unofficial databases of aircraft tail numbers around the world.

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Full Answer

The FAA's official registry displays the make and model of the registered aircraft, as well as its registered owner and other details. It also displays details about any aircraft that were previously registered under the same tail number. The FAA's database also permits tail-number searches using aircraft serial number, make and model, and location.

Tail numbers have a different prefix in each country that is common to alI aircraft registered in that country. For instance, in the United State, aircraft tail numbers begin with an "N"; they are commonly referred to as "N-numbers." Similarly, British tail numbers begin with a "G," hence "G-numbers."

Landings.com has an index of prefixes used in aircraft tail numbers across the world, including historical tail-number data. Some countries have more than one prefix for aircraft registrations. It is common for countries to use different tail-number prefixes to distinguish between civilian and military aircraft.

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