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FAA Aircraft Registration API

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Of all the services we make available, the FAA aircraft registration API might be the oldest. It was set up as as part of an aircraft search engine at FlightPlanning.com in an era that predates the iPhone. At some point in forgotten history it was altered to return JSON rather than XML.. but this is about the only change the API ever saw since it was first built. Because of its age, it’s one service that doesn’t really deliver on features; it’s purpose is to simply provide up-to-date registration details… and not much more. We’ve got the FAA API on a list of services that require an update.

Having an always up-to-date search feature means we an quickly and easily incorporate reliable data into client websites (normally places like flying schools that are trying to build a magnet-style resource). The service often integrates into our NTSB Accident Database.

While there are numerous features of the API – including expired, reserved, and dealer records – this article will show you how to conduct the most basic requests and searches.

The Result

All requests are made to https://api.beliefmedia.com/platform/sources/aircraft/faa/faa.json. An API key is required.

Single Registration Result

To query a single aircraft, do so via faa.json?apikey=xxxxx&id=N110EM (where the id is the aircraft registration). The returned result for the current version of the service is as follows:

We record many fields regardless of whether there’s a value or not. In some cases, such as when querying kit aircraft, those details are only returned when available. The response will change significantly with whatever upgrade takes place.

Browsing Results

The endpoint to browse results is as follows: faa.json?apikey=xxxxx&type=browse.

The number of results returned is determined by number, and the page is altered with the parameter of pg. The order of results is determined by order=asc or order=desc.

Searching Results

Searching results at this stage is rather limited. To search, query faa.json?apikey=xxxxx&type=search&search=n110 (where n110 is a partial registration). There are about 20 fields you may search upon but with a significant API change we’ll refrain from sharing the details (searching won’t be backwards compatible).

We also provide basic statistical results but the output will also change in a major way when we rebuild the service.

Considerations

  • To include thumbnail images for various third-party websites, use thumbs=yes in the URL request.
  • To include resolved NTSB accident/incident reports into the resulting JSON, include the parameter ntsb=yes.
  • Since we’re rebuilding this feature, make contact with us if you would like to see any particular feature.
  • It’s likely we’ll rebuild our FlightPlanning website when we’ve ported over all the API features to the BM website. If you’re an aviation fan, we have a number of Facebook pages and Twitter account you may be interested in following, with FLIGHT being the one we’d initially recommend.
  • Data is usually updated daily at 2am AEST. There may be up to 30 seconds of outage during this period. When updating, any request will be met with a 423 error code, and it’s the only time this error is show.

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