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Tradecraft update on N44982 (was N8068V, N379P) and N4476S (was N313P)


Consider this a tradecraft update to Gulfstream N379P becomes N8068V: the price of carelessness with flight logs, or notoriety, or just business practice. Others, such as BlueOregon and the Chicago Tribune have noticed that tail number N8068V, the G-V serial number 581, is now N44982 under new management, and that tail number N313P, the Boeing 737, is now N4476S under a different new management. (In an otherwise good analysis on the G-V, Global Security makes a rare error in stating that N8068V "was sold [by Premier] to two Limited Liabilities companies: Bayard Foreign Marketing, and Keeler and Tate Management.")

Another check beyond the airframe serial number is to go to the FAA Registry Document Index Inquiry, and enter 'Premier Executive Transport' into Party Name. That turns up the two original aircraft. Click on the old tail number and you have the new owner. A cursory look at this FAA registry for the state of Massachusetts, County of Norfolk (which contains the city of Dedham, the registry address of Premier Executive Transport Services, the prior owner of both aircraft), would indicate that PETS is not now in possession of any aircraft.

In a case of casual "security by obscurity," the issue of rendition gave rise to public 'discovery' of what any competent intel agency has known for some time. I would agree with Stygius that the more interesting news was in the bevy of front identities exposed in the 2004 Washington Post.

More likely an issue of site update lag, I note that neither Bayard Foreign Marketing or Keeler and Tate show up in the CALPs (Civil Aircraft Landing Permits) of the US Army Aeronautical Services Agency. The worldwide landing permit for Premier Executive Transport Services Inc., the former owner of both aircraft, remains in effect until 6 March, 2005. I leave it to the eager student to examine the other worldwide access holders.

Researchers miss a trove in not obtaining copies of the registration and airworthiness certificates on aircraft of interest. (Too many forget that not everything is immediately available on the web.) The Civil Aviation Registry has a Request for Copies of Aircraft Records page that will deliver a CD-ROM or paper copy for $6.25.  (For the unfamiliar, the registration and airworthiness documentation are comprised of many paper documents which for this modest sum are copied front and back and then sent on to the inquirer.) One discovers many interesting items, e.g., the airframe and electronics mods to the 737, tail number N313P now N4476S, classify it as an experimental aircraft (worth the read if you like detail) and the (former?) operator of the G-V, tail number N8068V now N44982, is as interesting as the owner. One can start to look at the airfields from which it flies, which military assets are in the vicinity, etc. Worth the trouble.

Another source is the FAA and ICAO aviation networks that drag around substantial information on the comings and goings of airline and General Aviation flights, much of it available in real-time or near real-time. There are all manner of PC-based real-time flight tracking and monitoring programs suitable for a private enthusiast, operator, or Fleet Base Operator (FBO) to track all airline and General Aviation flights over the US, Canada, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Data can be had 24/7 in both fully graphics-based presentation or XML feeds. One version for executive jet operations specifically notes "monitor your competition" as one of its benefits in addition to knowing the precise location of one's corporate aircraft, departure and arrival times, and other data to improve scheduling and aircraft utilization.

Readers can gain a cursory education by looking at the index of ARINC, formerly Aeronautical Radio, but some of the major sources are:

  • ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System)
  • SELCAL (Selective Calling) that allows ground radio alert to an air crew that the operator wants to talk with that aircraft. (Because of HF background noise levels, air crews often turn down HF audio levels until alerted by SELCAL of a message specifically intended for them.)
  • ACARS, HF and VHF real-time tracking and monitoring
  • WACARS (Windows ACARS) databases and flight data from many European and Asian users - another of those 'committed collector' class of folks
  • Photos of tracked aircraft
  • Real-time weather and sunrise/sunset if that were of interest

Substantial remote flight records can be obtained in this manner. Failing that, there is always physical access to filed flight plans, pilot and aircraft flight logs. Joint access airfields allow many opportunities.

Gordon Housworth

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