FlightAware Discussions

US Registered Piper

Just perusing a quiet Sunday on Skymap saw a US registered light aircraft showing.

Checked on FR24 and shows the following;
Aircraft type (PA31) Piper PA-31-310
Registration N95TA
Country of reg. US
Serial number (msn) 31-7300971
Age (Jan 1973) 47 years

Just wondering, surely it can’t fly the Atlantic, guess it could maybe go Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Canada etc but puzzled as to reason a private US registered light aircraft would be in UK.


In my area i have a certain amount of non-commercial flights/aircraft here especially over the weekend with lots of recreation flights.

Some of these aircraft are shown also as registered in the US from time to time

I see a lot of US registered light aircraft where I am on the south coast of the UK.
The reason seems to be more relaxed maintenance requirements for US aircraft thus cheaper to run.
It does need to be owned by a US national to be registered in the US but this is often done via a trust.
Some information I found about it (may be a bit out of date now):

I see a lot of N tail numbers here as well and I’ve often wondered how and why they get here. This prompted me to have a look.

In addition to the information that @LawrenceHill gave, I found this: https://forums.flyer.co.uk/viewtopic.php?p=938847 and, while it is an old thread which may or may not be relevant any more, it certainly answer a lot of questions.

I joking said to my wife over lunch ‘maybe they take the wings off and put them on a ship?’ but it seems I wasn’t that far off the mark. I guess all the other savings would pay for the shipping over the life of ownership?

The last time I shipped a 40’ FCL from Savannah to the UK the cost was about $4k.

Interesting, I am not a pilot but found the replies fascinating.

No doubt the US registered light aircraft always there but as it is currently very quiet now gets noticed.

I have just an indoor antenna supplied with my ADS-B tuner so during normal times was getting around 1500-2000 aircraft daily, now down to around 200+ but slowly increasing.

Geoff Lane

It is very feasible for small planes to get from North America to Europe using the North Atlantic route. They will fly up to Iqaluit, Nunavut usually through Quebec or Labrador. From there they hop over to Greenland, then Iceland, then Scotland, then wherever. I used to work out of Iqaluit and you’d see lots of different small planes making the crossing. Cirrus, Cessnas, various helicopters. With the proper preparation it can be done. Some pilots make their living ferrying planes to and from Europe. The distances aren’t as great as you might think. Flat map projections really distort near the poles. Some small planes might need an extra ferry tank but many wouldn’t.

1 Like

Wow, would never have dreamed a helicopter could make that journey.

Guess the early aviators had to do numerous hops to avoid large expanses of ocean.


Ya it depends on the size to be sure, but I used to see it fairly often. The use of ferry tanks was common. They are often a bladder style tank that’s installed inside the cabin and filled with fuel. That tank is then plumbed into the regular fuel system and sometimes has a small electric pump as well. You can often get a ferry permit to fly planes way over their certified weight limit in situations like that. I remember reading about a guy flying around the world in something like a Cherokee 6. His longest leg was Hawaii to California. He installed a ferry tank and got a ferry permit. Had to use one if the very long runways in Honolulu just to get airborne and then did the majority of that leg at low altitude. 200-300 feet. The plane just wouldn’t climb any higher due to the weight it was carrying.

There’s a Canadian company that’s been flying Twin Otters in Antarctica for a long time, and that’s how they get planes to and from as well. They fly to Chile, put in a large ferry tank, and hop to Antarctica that way. Way over their normal max weight at the start.


Very interesting, thanks for that input.