Success Story: FAA Aircraft Registration System

October 1, 2021

The following story describes how using the FAA Aircraft Registration System led a Customs and Border Patrol Officer to inspect a suspicious aircraft for illegal drugs.


A Customs and Border Patrol officer is tasked with monitoring all incoming small aircraft from Mexico into Arizona. He observes a plane landing during nighttime hours that appears to turn off its lights immediately upon landing as if to conceal any features or identifying numbers of the plane. This raises his suspicion.

He can see the registration number on the tail of the aircraft and asks dispatch to run a GQ. The GR indicates the aircraft has been involved in numerous drug smuggling incidents in the past which gives him probable cause to approach the pilot and inspect the aircraft for illegal drugs.


Have you heard the updates that Nlets recently made to FAA Registration Queries? Check out our blog on the recent updates that we made to the way we access aircraft registration data from the FAA.

Do you or your agency have a success story to share with us about how Nlets helped you solve a case or track down a suspect? We’d love to hear it. Just send us an email at or give us a call at 623-308-3513.