Inbound Flights From International Destinations


Any feedback on the timeframe or process that allows the ICAO flight plan data on a general aviation aircraft destined for a US airport to show up in the FAA’s database, and therefore in FlightAware? For instance, I know for a fact that an aircraft has departed a European airport for their point of entry into the US. However, no data for that aircraft or that airport is available on FlightAware.




I believe the FAQ’s clearly state the answer.

Also see this thread.
Please Read BEFORE Posting

Welcome to the forum.


What magnetoz said!


Many times you can pick up a flight over the Atlantic as a ’ blip ’ on FA before it is put into the system by FAA or NAV Canada. You will see a flight, its altitude, speed and Registration/ Tail number but when you type in the Flight Number, FA will say it arrived over " x " hours ago or just doesn’t exist.

But as stated above, this topic is well documented.


I was aware of the FAQ and the limitation that FA only receives data from the FAA when in US airspace. The aircraft in question was in US airspace for several hours, and did not even appear on FA until after it actually landed at the US destination. That is what prompted my question.



Dalbers, Maybe a specific example would help here. May stop the guessing and finger pointing.


The reason for the behavior that you’re seeing is that when the international flight is handed off to the FAA, the FAA doesn’t generate a departure message; they just start throwing positions at us and finish it off with an arrival message.


mduell - I understand this, but why don’t these reports generate a plot on the map? I often hear 747-100 (UPS?) coming in from ANC on my scanner and when I attempt to track them on FA, nothing shows up. Flights form Hawaii sometimes do the same thing. Why is there no track for the CONUS parts when the information is available? Tnx jan - N0AAA (CID)


We don’t plot position reports not associated with an IFR flight.

I just heard some good news from the flight tracking guys; they’ve worked out a way to pick up the international departure times, so this problem should be going away soon.


UPS freighters from ANC aren’t coming in IFR?? (Same thing happens with European-origin flights passing over this area). Glad to hear it may go away.


In that case (flights from Alaska), the answer is probably “blame Canada.”

Can you give me any airline/flight numbers to look at?


GEEEEZ ! How aboot dat ! We can’t do anything right e’h !?! :wink:


Canada is so open for criticism because everything there is so perfect. Honestly, how often do you hear about problems in Canada compared to the European countries and the rest of the world?


Another great thing about Canada is that we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

And not offended easily.

…but the minute you blame us for those Alaska flights… we’ll that’s it ! :laughing:

In all seriousness, the Alaska / Canada flight issues are a hand off issue between enroute controllers I think ??


Mduell - Try these:

AAL72 (compare with AAL73)
UAL 2 (track stops at the coast) vs. UAL1
ASA131 - track to and thru Canada, stops at AK/Canada border.
Some days tracks farther than others.
ASA 130 - Stops at Canadian border, never seen again).
(southbound more complete)
VIR 17
DLH440 (versus DLH441, US end okay). etc.

Thanks, Jan / N0AAA / CID


Those all appear to be the erroneous early arrival message that I’ve mentioned before. For reasons unknown to us, the FAA or NavCanada send us an arrival message when the aircraft crosses a border or the shorline sometimes.


Thanks. Note FDX1102 is plotting nicely from AK, thru Canada, and is now in SE Idaho, headed for Memphis or Rockford. I pick up these things flying oveer eastern Iowa on my scanner (Lufthansa Frankfurt-Dallas, say, or other things like Air China ATL-ANC on the way home. Wild stuff, but they are not often visible even though I know they’re in the vicinity.) Air Force One flew over this afternoon. I know it won’t show, but I meant to see if left a visible “bubble” in the regional patterns.

The anomalous arrival messages throws off the trip times, too. What about the ones between CONUS and Hawaii? The HF info is not seamless with domestic ATC? Thanks, Jan / CID


Yes, it seems that the overwater (HF) handoffs (in both directions) generate departure messages. Flights from the west coast generate arrival messages about a half hour from the islands, presumably when they’re handed over to a local controller. Flights from farther inland generate arrival message when they cross the shoreline.
But it seems to be an issue unique to domestic flights; flights from Texas to England don’t generate an arrival or cancellation until they’re halfway over the Atlantic.