Explanation of available fields

The Online Personal Aircraft Database is designed to make it easy to keep a full spotters log of all logged planes. A log which is easy to search, easy to filter while at the same time allowing the data to remain personal. There are few restrictions to the entered data. Most of the fields are free format and registrations, type designations, units or operators and locations can be entered any way wanted. Also what kind of information entered is free, the only mandatory field is the registration field.

Check the help/insert page for more information regarding the useful insert assistants. This also includes the option of deselecting fields that are not of interest. Deselected fields will not show up in the insert form (though will remain available and can still be used in the update form).

A full list of all available fields, with extra information, is provided below. This will explain all fields, any possible restrictions and guidelines to make the best use of the field. A total of 14 defined fields are available, as well as three custom fields.

Field Explanation Possible values Restrictions
Registration The registration or serial of the plane being logged. This is the main field of the log and is mandatory. Entry is free format though and replacement values like a questionmark (?) are allowed. Free format Must be entered
Code Code worn by the plane being logged. This may be a tailcode, buzz number, unit code or fleet number. This field is free format and may be left empty. In trip reports the registration and code will be combined to one value in the form "registration/code" (e.g.: 79-0015/CR, MM7231/53-11, etc). Free format None
Construction Number The Construction Number (or Manufacturer Serial Number - MSN) is the number given to the plane by the manufacturer. This number is in most cases the ultimate identifier for a plane as it will remain the same if a plane is reregistered and/or exported. Free format None
Plane Type The type of plane that is being logged. This field is meant to contain the exact plane type (e.g. B737-406, F/A-18C, AS.350B-2). How exactly is free format. There are many different conventions and perceptions on how certain types are designated and this application does not enforce any of them.
The value in this field is completely free format.
Free format None
Main Type The Main Type field is an extra field specifically meant to make it easier to filter and sort planes in the database. Since the Plane Type field contains the exact type, sorting on that field can give unexpected results. For example a list of F-4 Phantoms will end up under the F (F-4), G (GF-4), P (RAF Phantom designation), Q (QF-4), R (RF-4) and probably even more places. Giving all Phantoms the same value in the Main Type field can solve that issue. Sorting on Main Type will then see all Phantoms under F-4. It will also enable an easy filter, by selecting on Main Type, instead of on all possible Plane Type values.
This field is free format, there is however a picklist with example values. It is advised to use the values from this picklist to enable the smart sorting options (see: help/sorting).
Picklist from example values, free format personal values None
Category The Category field allows grouping on an even higher level than the Main Type field. For example all biz jets could be given a "Biz jet" category, or all helicopters a "helicopter" category. This makes it easy to select and sort a group of planes from a log, instead of selecting each Main Type.
This is a free format field without restrictions.
Free format, selection from already used entries in a picklist None
Status Field with the status of the plane. This field is restricted to predefined values, but it is not mandatory to use this field. Operational, Stored, Preserved, Derelict, Dumped, Wfu, Production line, Maintenance, Instructional airframe Predefined values only
Main Unit Field to enter the main unit or operator of the plane. See also the Sub Unit field. These two fields denote for what owner, operator or unit the plane is operated. For military planes the Main Unit can be a wing, while the Sub Unit can be a squadron (or similar). For civilian planes a distinction can be made for owner (lease company) and operator (airline). Both fields can be used free format and unrestricted. However, do note that a selection is always made on one of the fields, not on both. So if the Main Unit is used for the owner (say a lease company) and the Sub Unit field for the operator (say the airline), then planes directly owned by the airline should also still have the airline name as the Sub Unit, otherwise a selection on the airline will only produce either the leased planes, or the owned planes. Free format, selection from already used entries in a picklist None
Sub Unit See Main Unit description. Free format, selection from already used entries in a picklist None
Country Field with the country in which the plane is registered. The countries that can be used are restricted to a predefined set of countries, which also includes countries that no longer exist (like the Soviet Union, East Germany and Czechoslovakia).
Country will be automatically selected if a civil registration is entered with a known prefix (see: help/insert).
Selection from predefined countries only Predefined countries only
Service The Service for which the plane is operating. This is a restricted field with only values available from a predefined list.
The use of this field is optional, but a correct Service value is needed to enable the smart sorting option (see: help/sorting).
Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Government, Government Agency, Coast Guard, Police, Forrestry, Fire Department, Border Protection, Civil Predefined values only
Location The location where the plane was seen. In most cases this will be an airfield, but any location can be entered. A world wide list with some 45.000 airfields is available to select from. The picklist with entries will become available while typing. Locations in that list will be selected based on name of the airfield, or code (IATA, ICAO, FAA and TC). Free format names are allowed as well, whether the location is a non airfield location, or an alternative name for an existing airfield. Free format, picklist with known airfields and selection from already used entries None
Log Date The date the plane was seen. A date is optional and may be left empty, if a date is entered it must be a valid date. Date selection is done through a date picker window which will become visible upon selection of the input field. Date formats in views are customizable (see: help/settings). Select through a datepicker, may be left empty Valid dates only
Remarks Free format field to enter any custom remarks. This can be anything, there is no restriction whatsoever. Free format None

Custom fields

Three extra fields, besides the fields mentioned above, are available to each user. These fields can be defined by entering a field name on the settings page (see:help/settings). The only restriction on these fields are the length of the input, a maximum of 255 characters for each entry. Use of the custom fields is entirely up to the user. Examples of use are: line number, colour scheme information, plane name, etc. As soon as a field name is defined for a custom field, the field will appear in all insert and update forms, views, select box, import and export pages. A picklist will also be available, to allow selecting previously entered values from the database.

Viewable fields

A number of extra fields are also available for the views. These fields are eiter combined fields, or fields with data linked to inserted data. An overview of these extra viewable fields in given in the table below.

Field Explanation
Line number Some manufacturers assign line numbers to planes besides the Construction Number (c/n) or Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN). This is especially the case when the c/n is not assigned in order of the build. Line numbers are stored in the Spottingmode database, linked to the c/n and will automatically be linked to your sightings as well. It is therefore not needed to enter the line number with a sighting. Linked data
Registration / code A combined field of the registration and code fields. This field will display both registration and code in one column, separated with a slash. If data is available in both fields, the display will be "C.15-86/46-14", if only a registration is given, the display will be just the registration. Combined field
Construction number / line number A combined field of the construction number field (c/n) and the linked line number field (l/n). This field will display both the c/n and the l/n seperated with a slash: "26916/7". Note that the c/n should be inserted with the sighting, but the l/n is linked from within the Spottingmode database (see line number field above). Combined field
Fleet linked A special indicator field, displaying a green cell if the sighting is for a plane that is published in the Spottingmode database. This field is especially helpful to check for missing or incorrect data. Linked field
Country 2 letter ISO code Linked field displaying not the full country name (as inserted with the sighting), but the ISO two letter code for that country. US for the United States for example, or PT for Portugal. Linked field
Airport code ICAO Linked field displaying the four letter ICAO code for the airport where the sighting was recorded. Note that codes are available for airports selected from the predefined list. In case a custom name is used this field will not display anything. Linked field
Airport code IATA Linked field displaying the three letter IATA code for the airport where the sighting was recorded. Note that codes are available for airports selected from the predefined list. In case a custom name is used this field will not display anything. Linked field
Airport code FAA Linked field displaying the three letter FAA code for the airport where the sighting was recorded. Note that codes are available for airports selected from the predefined list which are located in the United States and have an assigned FAA code. In all other cases this field will not display anything. Linked field
Airport code Transport Canada Linked field displaying the three letter Transport Canada code for the airport where the sighting was recorded. Note that codes are available for airports selected from the predefined list which are located in Canada and have an assigned Transport Canada code. In all other cases this field will not display anything. Linked field

Case sensitivity

All fields in the database are case insensitive by default. This means that in filters the use of "F-16A" is equal to "f-16a". This is by design, so there is no need to specify all possible upper and lower case versions when entering a search term.

The database is also normalized to a high degree, which means most values are stored only once and linked to when used again. Combined with the case insensitivity this means that when inserting new sightings, most values can be inserted without paying respect to the correct case of each letter. A new sighting for a "f-16a" will link to the previously inserted "F-16A" value and will show up in views as such. This is also by design, it helps to reduce the number of different version of the same value.

However, a drawback of the approach is that once a value has been inserted, it can not be changed to a lower case or upper case version through the normal editing options. The database will find the same earlier stored version and will not create a new value, nor update the already existing value. In order to make this update, the database needs to be forced to consider the case when selecting the value. This can be done by turning on the "Allow case sensitive inserts and updates" on the settings page. When turned on, the database will only select values with the exact same case for each letter and create a new value if needed.

This case sensitivity enforcement is only needed for the following fields:
plane type, main type, main unit, sub unit, category and location