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Where’s that plane heading?

Where’s that plane heading?

Have you ever gazed up at the sky above, spotted a plane and wondered where it was heading? And more: Where did it depart from, what kind of plane is it, what airline, how high is it flying? Well, there’s an app for that!

Flightradar24 is a free plane tracker app available for iOS and Android devices as well as on their website.

The features include:

  • Watch aircraft move around the world in real-time
  • Identify flights overhead & see flight information—including a photo of the actual aircraft—by simply pointing your device at the sky 
  • See what the pilot of an aircraft sees in 3D 
  • Tap on a plane for flight details such as route, estimated time of arrival, actual time of departure, aircraft type, speed, altitude, high-resolution photos of the actual aircraft & more
  • See historical data & watch playback of past flights
  • Tap on an airport icon for arrival & departure boards, flight status, aircraft on the ground, current delay stats, & detailed weather conditions
  • Search for individual flights using flight number, airport, or airline
  • Filter flights by airline, aircraft, altitude, speed, & more

The app is free but there are two upgrade options for more features.


This is how it works: “Most aircraft today are equipped with ADS-B transponders that transmit positional data. Flightradar24 has a rapidly growing network of over 17,000 ground stations around the world to receive this data that then shows up as aircraft moving on a map in the app. In an expanding number of regions, with the help of multilateration, we’re able to calculate the positions of aircraft that don’t have ADS-B transponders. Coverage in North America is also supplemented by real-time radar data. Coverage is variable and subject to change at any time.”

In addition the apps and website has links to photos of each identifiable plane, taken by individual plane spotters around the world. According to Wikipedia “Aircraft spotting or plane spotting is a hobby of tracking the movement of aircraft, which is often accomplished by photography. Besides monitoring aircraft, aircraft spotting enthusiasts (whom are usually called plane spotters) also record information regarding airports air traffic control communications and airline routes.”

I’m not one but I do find it fascinating once in a while to visit Flightradar24 for an update of what is going on above me.


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