XB registered aircraft


I have a good bit of traffic through my FBO from Mexico, but I can’t seem to see anything with an “XB” prefix. Is there any fix for this?


Mexico isn’t covered that’s why …


Foreign aircraft flying in the US, by default, aren’t covered in our data feed. If there is one particular you need, we can request it but it’s not an instantaneous process. I think this is just to keep from upsetting foreign aviation organizations.


Would it make a difference if the aircraft, for example, cleared customs in Brownsville, and then continued to their final destination on an FAA instrument flight plan? I don’t understand why they wouldn’t appear like any other IFR traffic simply due to the tail number. . .


I also would be curious to know why they dont show up regularly - have noted some xa- and xb- around the system but not common.

Have noted VP- and a few other non American a/c too- i thought a (any)plan input into the system would automatically produce flight plan data for you guys to work your magic with?
Didnt realise some stuff is not covered by default. How is this implemented?



Aircraft with XA tail numbers have been shown on FlightAware in the past, have followed several coming into McAllen, Laredo and Brownsville, Texas with flight plans filed. Followed when they left the Texas airport to their destination in the US. Exampel-XA-PCM.


Ah, you’re missing something important here. The system does not by default cover Mexican registered aircraft. The reason that XAPCM has come up is because XAP is Midway Charter, an American company, so it thinks the flight is one of theirs and ignored the last two letters. I’ll bey you any money you like that if XAP was, say, a Chinese based company with no regular flights to the US, that XAPCM would not show up.

A similar thing is found with Nigerian delivery flights (or delivery flights of any aircraft belonging to a country where the country prefix begins with a letter, ferrying to/from the US using reg as callsign). Because the FAA system can’t work with digits as prefixes, the system prefixes the identity with a letter - which is usually ‘N’, so because all normal ‘N’ prefixes are American, that’s how you can track their flights because they appear as N5NBIH (for example, and a real flight).



Dan, do you have to give a reason to the FAA why you wish to receive that data in your feed or are they not bothered and just add the airline/reg to your feed, no questions asked?


Guys, help me get my head around this tracking by default for foreign registered a/c.
Saw N9M-ABC G4 a day or so ago and understand the given reasons for the prefix. G-HRDS is fairly frequent across the pond, noted ZK-KFB another G4 into Luton out of Van Nuys and a quick check on Toluca reveals XA-RET and XA-KIM. Just some examples.
So, to quote DBaker:
“Foreign aircraft flying in the US, by default, aren’t covered in our data feed. If there is one particular you need, we can request it but it’s not an instantaneous process. I think this is just to keep from upsetting foreign aviation organizations”

So what is default? I wouldnt have thought those few examples have been requested and they are obviously not blocked. It seems random (even taking into account Robs explaination of XA type matches with companies) although the odds favour not showing up on tracking.
As I have said before I understood that any plan filed into the ATC system would generate data unless specifically blocked (i.e Nbarred)

Or have I missed something fundamental here??

Cheers IN(UK)


I agree, so why don’t TOM show up (new code for BAL as of 1 May) along with eg. CSH, CDG, CSZ, CXA, HVN, RAM, DAH - all of which leave KBFI/KPAE on their delivery flights. ? Why don’t these come through on the feed?

I tend to get the feeling that the FAA automatically included all the airlines/operators that have regular service to the US or through their airspace, along with any ARCID (aircraft ID) prefixed N, ie. all the US bizjets. All those that DON’T have regular service to the US were not included. I guess like Dan says, they can be requested, but I’ve absolutely no idea what’s involved in this process but would very much be interested to know what criteria - if any - has to be met with the FAA before the requested airline/operator ID can be added to the feed.

Perhaps TOM could be requested by flightaware on the basis that the previous identity of BAL was already in/on the feed, and let’s see what happens/what questions (if any) the FAA raise.

Could that be done do you think?

One which I was very surprised to see on the tracker were the new 737NGs for SkyEurope of Slovakia. They all tracked as ESK100F from KBFI to BIKF, but yet other than the delivery flight, they NEVER get any further west than the UK! Very strange!


Well ?


Rob - have sat and waited, even started a new thread to clarify the issue and…nothing! :frowning:


Just looked at Montery and XA-AST, XA-UUU, XA-PCM (!) and XA-NGS show but looked at Cancun and not one Mexican a/c shows up.

Still dont know how this process is working to define what non-US will be tracked, can any of the FA guru’s explain it and satisfy Robs question too…?

Am I getting a bit too compulsive obsessive with this issue??
Do i need to get out more…??



Have to say I was looking forward to an answer from Mark or Danny too, but alas no. :cry:

Maybe I should start ANOTHER new thread on when to expect wild card searches for flight numbers again :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: .


No, I think it’s the opposite to what you might think. The FAA allow certain 3 character airline codes…which might explain why some odd foreign GA turns up - but if it’s not on the list then it won’t show up. SO, when a new callsign comes out, and it’s not on the FAA list, it won’t automatically show up on FA until they (or another tracking vendor) requests it, and the FAA say it’s OK.



So, coming full circle, can we request some? Like TOM, ETD, PLM and a bunch of Chinese that fly BFI-HNL with 737 deliveries, like CSH, CXA, CDG etc?

:question: :question: :confused: :confused:


ahh, 007 we’ve been expecting your comments (sorry couldnt resist)

Thx for making things a little clearer but who on US tracking sites (that I cant mention but inc FA of course) would be requesting the addition of foreign GA a/c?
Thought blocking would be a more likely option for some of these "power flyers"
Still seems randomness (is that a word?) to it all.
And to aid RobK how does the process work to get what he and other trackers want re the airlines?

Such a pity that a filed flight plan does not auto generate a track here.



I think the FA guys just request it from the FAA.

The others guys requesting foreign GA aircraft, are of course the enthusiasts using the (whisper) other tracking websites. Also, numerous FBOs, especially in Florida, are keen to see Mexican, and Brazilian aircraft.