Historical FAA Aircraft Registration Database

I am trying to find old versions of the FAA registration database, dating back to around 2004. While the FAA puts the current version on their webpage (http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/aircraft_certification/aircraft_registry/releasable_aircraft_download/), I just got off the phone with them and they said that they do not archive old versions of this.

Does anyone know whether someone archives this?

Thanks in advance for any help on this!

PS My apologies if this is a bit off-topic here, but I figure the answer might be of interest to others who are doing historical work with FA data.

Try the Wayback Machine at The Internet Archive..

This is a great site for all sorts of stuff. Lots of old time radio shows, videos (search for aviation videos, including one of Arthur Godfrey flying a scheduled Eastern Constellation), and “back issues” of web pages.

The Internet Archvie’s purpose:

The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.

To what end? Meaning, why? A registered aircraft in the 2004 database will remain in the 2009 database. Are you trying to find the registrations for aircraft that have been stricken from the current FAA roster?

There are any number of library resources available that archive old registries and government databases but you probably won’t find them online. Try your local library.

If you could tell us specifically what information you’re trying to find, we might be able to help you

Any of you remember this?

Wow thanks everyone for the speedy replies. great stuff.

I knew about the Internet Archive (sorry should have mentioned that) but they do not seem to cache the actual database: e.g. “registry.faa.gov/database” has not been cached (maybe they have a no robots policy, not sure). If someone can correct me on this I would be glad to hear about it.

My goal is to match a large database of flight logs, like from FA, which extends back several years to the registration database. I am interested in determining the owner of a plane at the time of each flight, so the older databases are what I need.

Hi everyone:

I hate to resurrect an old thread, but I was wondering if anyone had other thoughts regarding my question about the old FAA registration databases. Hopefully my last note lays out a bit more of the specifics of what I am looking for.

I can tell you didn’t take my advice, else you’d already have the information you seek.

(Hint: Library of Congress!)

hmm: I went to catalog.loc.gov/ and could not find it, not could I find it at any library I went to. Also I am mainly interested in an electronic copy since as I mentioned I have a very large database of planes.

Upon reading my post again I apologize if it appears patronizing, that wasn’t my intent. The data you’re seeking was available on CD from several sources, I’ll dig out one of the old CDs I have from one of the publishers and post their contact info later today.

Thanks JHEM: any further leads would be most appreciated!

The outfit I used to get the data from is now defunct and has been absorbed by NICAR, part of http://www.ire.org

Have any of these leads been useful for you?


Thanks for the tips. I had called the IRE folks and they have the data but will only sell it to reporters (which I am not). grr.

I will try those other links: thanks again for them.

I know this topic is REALLY old but does anybody know where to get historic copies of the FAA Registration Database? I’ve checked all the suggestions listed above with no luck.

I have a few if anyone needs them…
13-JUL-2012, 03-AUG-2012, 03-AUG-2015, 22-JAN-2016, 05-MAY-2016, 29-JUL-2016, 01-OCT-2016, 05-NOV-2016, 09-JAN-2017 & 12-MAY-2017.

I’m looking for some from 2005-2011.


*** UPDATE ***

Ok, so I just figured it out! DUH! Some of you may have already known this, but for those who don’t…

The zip file you download from the FAA contains multiple files. The “MASTER.txt” file contains all current/active aircraft, no duplicate N-Numbers. The “DEREG.txt” file contains historical data for all N-Numbers, N-Numbers could be in there multiple times.

Hey OP here.

I cannot believe I never looked at the DEREG.txt file: thanks TrickyDick great catch. What I am trying to figure out is whether it truly contains all changes in the registry (ownership of a plane, tail number being reassigned, etc) or whether it is a listing of only decommissions. Does anyone know about this?

One additional question and a note.

Question: I am looking at the DEREG file now (from faa.gov/licenses_certificat … _download/) and as TrickyDick reports there are multiple rows for several tail numbers (great!). But I am trying to see how to determine the date at which it shifts from one row to the next for a given tail number. The only date variable which is present in almost all rows and seems like a candidate for this is “CANCEL-DATE” but I am not completely sure what that is (and many values appear to be from the 1930s!).

Note: DEREG has fewer rows than MASTER and is missing many of the tail numbers listed in the latter. This makes me concerned that DEREG is listing deregistered planes only, not all planes which were ever in the registry.