A Wee Air Travel Widget

August 30, 2008 § 2 Comments

Some of you are aware that I fly airplanes and helicopters. It occurred to me — while I was commenting in a post at Apologia — that there is a web site some of y’all might find useful called Flightaware.

If you’ve ever tried to track the arrival of someone using the airline web sites, you are no doubt aware that the airline web sites lie. (Well, I don’t know if the web sites are culpable or invincibly ignorant, but in any case they give incomplete and sometimes false or misleading information).

Flightaware uses public domain data straight from the FAA. It will show you the flight plans that the airlines have actually filed with air traffic control, it will show you when the plane actually takes off, it will show you where on a map – along with weather radar – the plane actually is right now, and when it is expected – and I mean actually expected by air traffic controllers – to arrive. It will even show you if the plane was diverted to another airport.

Anyway, if you sometimes wish you had a reliable way to tell where an airplane in the air traffic system is, whether it has even taken off yet, and when it is expected to arrive, you might find Flightaware useful. Enjoy.

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§ 2 Responses to A Wee Air Travel Widget

  • brandon field says:

    Earlier this summer I heard about this from a friend of my mother, who has a son that is a pilot. My wife was on a flight Chicago-Phoenix, and they had to dodge some storms above New Mexico (I know, rain in New Mexico?) and the little line curved exactly around the green spots on the radar. Technology is really cool.

  • Anonymous says:

    The stuff on the airlines websites isn’t based on falsehood, and invincibly ignorant may not really be appropriate either. It’s taken from the airlines flight ops center. If flight ops is wrong, then the website will be wrong. There are a few things that have been fully computerized. Departure times are based on when the brake is released in the cockpit (so the pilot can sit on the brakes and the flight magically departs on time). Lift and land times are based on wheels-up, wheels-down. Arrival is based on engine shut-down. Everything else, ETA, ETD, reason for delay, etc, are all based on human intervention (flight ops entries).Mark Windsor

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