Adding Aircraft Lookup to FlightMemory


NOTE: The instructions here are now outdated. New details available at Adding Aircraft Lookup to FlightMemory: Redeux

Original post below:

A little while back I introduced a BTS lookup tool which allows for tracking which aircraft was used on a domestic US flight based on data recorded by the US Department Of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. It is a cool set of data though my initial implementation left a bit to be desired. I’ve finally cleaned up the duplicate entries in the data and put in place a system which should prevent that from happening again going forward which should help a lot. I’ve also created a shortcut to query the system from Flight Memory.

To make the Flight Memory integration work you must install the Browser Extension (Chrome Store; Direct Download). It should work with both the English version of FlightMemory.com and also the German Version of FlugStatistik.de. Once it is installed any time you are on a flight edit page you will see an extra icon near the Aircraft Registration field (I have no idea why I picked that image, but there it is):

image

Click on that icon and you’ll get a new window which will use the origin, destination, date and flight number details from the entry in question to give you flight time and aircraft number information.

BTS-FM-screenshot

If you do not have the flight number entered in the Flight Memory page the results will include all flights on that date. If you’re missing either airport or the date the results will be blank as there’s not enough data for me to know what you’re looking for. Also, because the data is from the US Government it only includes domestic US flights. If you pick an international itinerary you’ll get a blank results set.

You have to copy the tail number from the new window back to the Flight Memory page as, due to cross-site scripting security issues the browsers won’t let me put the data there. At least that’s what I read online; if someone knows a way around that with javascript coding feel free to share and I’ll update the code.

Also worth noting that you can now click on the aircraft registration number in the search results and get linked over to FlightAware.com to see where that plane is now.

And, of course, there’s no requirement that you use FlightMemory to get at the data. You can always just head directly to wandr.me/bts and run queries on whatever you’re looking for.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

13 Comments

  1. This is brilliant. I suspect there are pretty few people who this will work for, but I’m one of them and I love it. It is a little slow, but it works and helps fill in those gaps I have. I did get one error, below.

    http://wandr.me/bts?o=ATL&d=TRI&n=1279&da=09-05-2014

    Your tool says DL did not have a flight 1279 on that date, but I flew it.

    Thanks for making this, I love it.

  2. Here’s another one showing incomplete data:

    http://wandr.me/bts?o=SJC&d=DFW&da=05-31-2014

    Your tool (from the WATT webpage, not from the browser addon) only shows one hit, but there are several more listed on the BTS website for AA.

    Additionally, and this is not your fault admittedly, the BTS website shows all AA flights in the format N???AA, but in reality the N-numbers are distributed amongst N???AN and N???AM and N???TW and maybe a few others. (How much do you like creating lookup tables?)

    1. I already do translate the AA numbers from BTS format to actual N-Numbers. That’s taken care of before I push the data into my database. In fact, the example link you provide has a N***AM tail number in it.

      As for the missing flights, that’s a bit surprising to me but not completely out of the realm of possibility. I’ll see if I can find a pattern to what’s missing.

      1. Now the missing flights are showing with correct N-numbers. Earlier when I tried, the query took a long time to return (maybe it timed out?), so I didn’t see that you were listing the correct N-numbers.

  3. It’s actually pretty easy to have the chrome extension fill in the details back on flight memory. You just need to add a content script to the flight memory page and send a message from the other page back to the background page which forwards it to flight memory.

    If that’s not clear email me and I’ll be happy to help.

  4. Great for filling in lots of blanks in my flights before I started tracking specific planes. One thing I’ve noticed in the data is that the mainline carriers info is all there. But down at the regional carrier level I can find things like American Eagle, Comair, Skywest, but most others seem to be missing (Mesa, Air Wisconsin, others).

    No dig on you Seth, like you stated it seems like some carriers weren’t reporting information to DoT. Thanks for putting this together and sharing.

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