This article provides links to information and databases about an
aircraft n-number, how to register and reserve one, and other
information on tail numbers. For those that don't know, an "n number", or
tail number, is essentially a registration number assigned by the FAA
to identify an individual aircraft. Think of it like a license plate
for airplanes. The only difference is that it is nationally registered
through the FAA, not registered through a state entity.
To read more about what an aircraft registration number is you should see
the Wikipedia article by following this
Anyone can look up any tail number, from small private aircraft to
commercial airliners. The FAA usually provides information about the
aircraft and the owner (ie. name, address, etc.) To look up an aircraft
n number follow
and type in the tail number.
To reserve an N-Number simply go to this link
and follow the
directions. You can reserve an n-number or change a current number. The
fee is normally only $10.
For more information go straight to the source and follow
. You might also be interested in this link to the FAR/AIM section
regarding n-numbers and registration of aircraft.
The FAA normally frowns on tail numbers that appear to spell a word,
especially inappropriate ones. Though it is possible to use a
combination of letters and numbers to look like a certain word,
normally it requires some altering of the normal typeface or font of
those letters and numbers. Many pilots and plane owners have gotten
away with it, but it is not a good idea in practice.
If your building an aircraft, restoring, or just wanting to switch the
numbers on your aircraft I recommend you reserve your number and don't
be afraid to make it sentimental, but don't go overboard. Birthdays,
special dates or initials are perfectly fine. N524PW is my birthday and
initials. Ultimately, the flying is not in the numbers so don't sweat the numbers too much. Remember, fly the aircraft first!
The numbers and letters on an aircraft should be clear and legible for
the purposes of safety. Don't get me wrong, I love to see a fun or
unique n number, but I would never fly with one myself. First, it's
safer to ATC (air traffic control) to have a clear and easily readable
number. Whether in the air or on the ground, less confusion over the
numbers is always safer. Second, I take my pilot license privilege very
seriously. I would never do anything to provoke or give reason to the
FAA to ever take that away. Though it would be unlikely that they would
for something like a fun tail number...I'm not even willing to chance
it, nor am I willing to chance having to pay for a second paint-job.
Remember, there are bold pilots and old pilots, but no old-bold pilots. The
fun is in the flying, not in the numbers.