FlightAware Discussions

Tail Number Format

I was trying to run the InFlightInfo and GetLastTrack commands for Tail Number: N411UA but got ‘no data available’ errors. However, entering the Flight Number: UAL678 worked. Is there a certain format for the Tail Number?

Any help would be appreciated.

InFlightInfo will only return an aircraft searched by current identifier. For commercial flights this is the callsign, while general aviation this is often the tail.

The Search endpoint offers greater flexibility with the -identOrReg option and returns the same data fields. The ident returned here will be the same one that will work in GetLastTrack. Otherwise, the returned faFlightID can be used in GetHistoricalTrack to guarantee the track for that specific flight is returned. GetHistoricalTrack is usable if the flight is still in air and will return the track up to that point.

My concern is that the FlightXML2 documentation is misleading (see below). It has no distinction between commercial and general aviation and can be interpreted as using either the tail number or ICAO flight number interchangeably… but from your response, that’s not the case, right?

" InFlightInfo looks up a specific tail number (e.g., N12345 ) or ICAO airline and flight number (e.g., SWA2558 ) and returns current position/direction/speed information. It is only useful for currently airborne flights within approximately the last 24 hours. Codeshares and alternate idents are automatically searched. "