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Author Topic: FlightAware & Flightradar24 - ADS-B Flight Tracking  (Read 1723 times)
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Jeff D. Welker
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« on: February 24, 2015, 07:30:06 PM »

My Fine Associates:

Like many of our ranks, I enjoy tracking commercial flights via FlightAware & Flightradar24. Besides being helpful in anticipating photo-ops at KPHX, KWIA, etc; it is a fun way for me to keep informed of the daily comings/goings in the skies over the Welker homestead. Just the other day, the wire filament between my ears began to glow and I realized I could identify the types of aircraft that were "chem-trailing" my home from high altitude flight paths over Mesa. Yes, I'm slow to the uptake on some of these things  Grin

I've recently become aware of an option/opportunity to "feed" data to FlightAware and Flightradar24 via ADS-B tracking hardware. Something about this speaks to my inner nerd and appears (on the surface) as something that might be an enjoyable enhancement to my personal flight tracking fun. According to the sales pitch, any idiot (me) can install the hardware/software without much problem.

Accordingly, I'm looking to see if any of our members have experiences or information they would be willing to share. I'm particularly interested in:

1. How much does the hardware/software really cost?
2. Will it work with my iMac?
3. What benefits or enhancements would I gain over what I have now?

I know that both FlightAware and Flightradar24 appear to answer my questions via their FAQ's; however, I don't always trust the sales pitch to be entirely forthright. Therefore, I'm hoping to get some solid feedback from people I trust before I make my better half unhappy with the purchase of technology that does not perform as advertised. Any comments, suggestions and/or experiences you can share is sincerely appreciated.

Thanks;

Jeff

PS - If Chris Kennedy reads this, he should get a giggle remembering my similar head scratching when I was trying to make a decision about purchasing a handheld scanner. In the end, Chris was spot-on with his help.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 07:33:58 PM by Jeff D. Welker » Logged

Jeff D. Welker
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Jeff D. Welker
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2018, 02:43:08 PM »

My Friends:

Not that it created any crisis, but I never got any responses to my 2015 post.  I have a related inquiry and request for help.

While I'm not photographing airplanes with the same frequency as before, I still enjoy tracking flights on my iPhone, Macbook Pro, or iMac.  I've generally been using the basic Flightradar24 lately, but noticed many of you are tracking flights, especially military, that I'm not able to find.  This may simply be a case of you folks are waaaaaay smarter than I - a likely scenario.  However, I'm wondering if Flightaware or some other software would be more useful?  Is there a subscription version?  Any help you can give this old man would be sincerely appreciated.  In fact, I'd be happy to buy someone or a group of someones lunch if you'd be willing to lead me out of the darkness on this issue.

Regards;

Jeff
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 02:45:12 PM by Jeff D. Welker » Logged

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Dave S.
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 04:46:05 PM »

Jeff,

Those are my two primary sources of flight information.  Only on the rare occasion, at least for me, do I ever see anything that happens to be a government/military related flight.  I too only use the non-subscribed, free version of both services.  The FlightAware subscription is too rich for my blood.  Id be overjoyed if they offered some intermediate package that was somewhere between the 5 flights/free and the the unlimited flight tracking (and going purely off of my recollection at the moment) in the neighborhood of $20/month.

Sorry that I do not have better information for you.

-Dave
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Jay Beckman
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2018, 05:41:13 PM »

I have the lowest paid level on FlightRadar24 and only rarely have I seen military called out.

It only seems to pop up with mass movements (like the C17 rodeos they have at March ARB from time to time) and they only seem to show up once they are established in that airspace.  Don't know if there's some kind of transponder requirement for large formations close to population centers or...?

I usually only pick up on these things if someone on Facebook calls them out.
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Jay Beckman
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Jonathan Navarro
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2018, 05:57:08 PM »

There is a website I use called ADSB Exchange (www.adsbexchange.com) that has unfiltered data. Its my favorite source for tracking most military aircraft. However it picks up mostly heavies (C-17's, C-130's, Etc.) and smaller aircraft (T-6's, T-38's, Etc.) but I have occasionally seen the Netherlands 16's and A-10's in the Tucson area pop on there. It's pretty fun to watch whats flying around different parts of AZ and the country. I like that it can be used for mobile as well but sometimes it can be a little glitchy as well as the aircraft if says are "there." It's also nice that it can often provide you with a callsign, tail No., and exact aircraft variant. All you got to do it go to Menu, Options, Filters and then open the drop down menu for filter types and select military. Then you just have to make sure that the boxes for both "enable filters" and "military" are checked and you're good to go.

P.S. I happened to notice an AFSOC U-28A Spectre coming into KSDL while I was typing all this Tongue
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Joe Copalman
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2018, 06:27:11 PM »

I'll go back and forth between Flightradar & ADSBExchange to 'browse' the skies for anything interesting.  D-M EC/HC-130s routinely show up, as do National Guard and Army intel C-12s.  All the airliner derivative and cargo stuff shows up, as do most Air Force training aircraft.  Like Jonathan says, you'll sometimes see some gray-and-dangerous stuff show up, but it's far less common than the Herks and Hurons.
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Joe Copalman
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Jeff D. Welker
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2018, 05:35:18 AM »

Dave, Jay, Johathan, & Joe:

Thank you for the feedback.  That ADSBExchange site looks interesting.  On my initial visit, they had a Lakota and 3 C212's in the air south of Casa Grande.  Sure adds an interesting variety to the normal FedEx and UPS early morning traffic.

I new you guys would come through.

Regards;

Jeff
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Jeff D. Welker
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