Today is a very special day for me! Because it is my 15th anniversary of my first flight as an infant.
Yesterday I was looking around my house and found a certificate celebrating my first flight on an airplane.
Below is my certificate from Northwest Airlines.
After studying it for a while it sparked a question. What was the registration for this particular aircraft that I flew on?
I started with the info on the first flight certificate, which included the airline (Northwest Airlines), the origin (Appleton, WI), the date (July 5, 2005), and the type of aircraft (Bombardier CRJ). I know the flight landed in Minneapolis.
I went to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics:
and downloaded information about domestic flights in July 2005. From that data, I discovered a list of all airlines that departed Appleton, Wisconsin, in that month. The airline that made the most sense was Mesaba Airlines. I found more information about Mesaba here:
where I found the CRJs that were in service in 2005.
Then I was sitting on the couch looking at the list of airplanes and I checked the registrations. I remembered that some had different lettering at the end, which is the airline identifier code. So I put them into FlightRadar24 to see what would happen. I went through the list and looked at the history of each aircraft and I searched through and found which airplanes were part of Mesaba in 2005. So I used a process of elimination until I was down to two registrations: N601XJ and N602XJ. On the Wikipedia page for Mesaba Airlines, I saw their code is XJ. After researching each aircraft’s history, I found out that N601XJ was delivered on Jan 1, 2005 and that lined up with the date on my certificate. So Mesaba N601JX Northwest Airlink was the very first airplane I ever flew on!
Here is a picture of the airplane I flew on. This photo was taken only two months after I first flew on it