New Online Database: Wall Street Journal Jet Tracker (Past Flights of Non-Commercial Aircraft)
Make sure to read all of the documentation before using the database.
The Wall Street Journal filed several Freedom of Information Act requests with the Federal Aviation Administration for the entire Enhanced Traffic Management System database, which contains flight records for aircraft that flew in the U.S. under instrument flight rules. The Journal analyzed the flight data for non-commercial jet aircraft traffic for a four-year period, 2007 through 2010.
The FAA flight records list each flight by the plane’s registration number, also known as a tail number, and do not contain the name of a plane’s owner or operator. The Journal filled in that information by matching each tail number to a January 2011 list of aircraft operators maintained by the FAA. Where an operator name was missing or unclear, the Journal used the owner’s name for that tail number in a separate FAA aircraft registry. A few owner or operator names were filled in through additional research.
Tail numbers often are retired because the plane has been sold or for other reasons, then reassigned to a different jet owned by somebody else. In some cases, that means flights recorded under a particular tail number over the four year period were flown under different owners. The Journal attempted to correct for that by obtaining, from a commercial vendor, dates for the most-recent change in the owner or operator of an aircraft. Readers who search the online database by owner or operator name will only see flights recorded since the most recently-listed change date; searching by tail number will yield a list of all flights.
The database includes historical flight records for aircraft tail numbers that are no longer active; in those cases the owner or operator name was left blank.
The FAA data contain three- or four-digit codes for departure and arrival airports. To match those to recognizable airports and cities, the Journal used data obtained from FlightAware.com, a commercial service that displays FAA-originated flight information on its website.
To generate cost estimates, the Journal obtained hourly operating-cost information for common corporate-jet models, or the closest available models, from Conklin & de Decker Aviation Information, a consulting firm. The paper multiplied those hourly estimates by the flight duration times shown in the FAA data.
1. Make sure to clear all search fields before running a new search
2. It will often take additional research to know what companies operate planes for a certain company or person. Of course, in some cases you can simply enter a name and see what happens.
3. If you need help finding a tail number, this database can help. If you have a tail number, you can also use the tail number to learn about the aircraft.
Here are flights listed to Larry Page and Sergey Brin*
* Possible Overlap
4. Click to Focus to Find Seven Flights From Various Airports to Washington Dulles,
5. We learn that March 17, 2010 the aircraft (we don’t know who was on the plane flew from Mt. View CA to Washington Dulles
The WSJ estimates the cost at about $18,300 dollars. A look at the tail number database and we find out the plane is a Gulfstream 700 that is co-owned.
Our guess is that this the aircraft Page and Brin use for personal travel.
See Also: Flightaware to see if the plane is in the air or was recently flying. However, many private aviation flights are blocked, unavailable.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.