At dusk, several unmarked white buses unload a few hundred people and children who board these white unmarked jets. They leave and return empty within 24 hours. This is a daily occurrence. Harlingen (HRL) is located 20 miles from the Los Tomates bridge in Los Indios, Texas on the Rio Grande river. These jets do not have tail numbers or any other ID marks on them. How can these jets operate legally in the US?enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! Just for information, the minimum size for registration markings is 12 inches, which isn't very big at all. On a large aircraft and/or in a fuzzy photo, they may be difficult to see. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Feb 11, 2022 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ On the photo you posted, the registration number is clearly visible below the last few windows. It is not legible because of the resolution of the photo, but it is clearly there. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2022 at 6:42
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    $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because it asks how something that isn't actually happening (flying without a tail #) can happen. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Feb 16, 2022 at 2:11

2 Answers 2


The airline is “iAero Airways” previously known as “Swift Air”. It is also a major contractor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, operating many of the agency's deportation flights as well as flights transporting detainees between immigration detention facilities within the United States.

In this photo, the tail number is clearly visible.

iAero Airways

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Lol so the OP pic posted was just too pixelated to tell it was an N number. I thought it was a skin patch. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Feb 11, 2022 at 18:34

No US-registered civilian aircraft can operate legally in the USA without an N-number. A better picture will reveal it.

The questions of who these people are, where they are going, and whether or not this whole process is legal is best referred to another forum than this one.

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    $\begingroup$ Government aircraft do not need to follow FAA regulations, and I'm guessing that means they don't need tail numbers. aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/88239/… $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2022 at 18:55
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    $\begingroup$ @DJClayworth Partly; there's an exemption to the registration requirements for military aircraft only (14 CFR 47.3(b)). It's not a general exemption for all government aircraft. But there are plenty of other regulations that government aircraft are indeed exempt from. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Feb 11, 2022 at 19:27
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    $\begingroup$ "A better picture will reveal it." – It's actually visible in the OP's as well. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2022 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenS, will edit. -NN $\endgroup$ Feb 15, 2022 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ @randomhead, will edit or delete. -NN $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2022 at 3:07

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