Thursday, April 04, 2013

Follow that plane

A number of you asked about the web site I used to track Ken's flight on Tuesday. There are a bunch of tracking sites out there, but the one I use most was recommended by a friend a few years ago. And it's been improved lately to include coverage of the US, which it didn't do very well at first.

A screen shot of Ken's Tuesday flight over upstate New York. His is the red plane. Click to aeronate.

The site is called and it's chock full of cool, nerdy features. You can enter the airline and flight number of the plane you want to follow and it will highlight that flight, or you can just click on a random plane to follow it. You can also filter to see only the flights of a particular airline, or see only the flights that use a particular aircraft. And on and on. It's a live view and the planes move across the screen in real time.

In the screenshot above, you can see Ken's flight (US Airways #787) highlighted in red, with the path (that traces the route all the way back to Paris) behind it in purple. The sidebar on the left gives some details about the flight along with a sample photo of the aircraft. You can clearly see how Ken's plane is fourth in a line of international flights over New York's Finger Lakes. Each plane is identified by call sign and origin/destination codes (settings that I selected). The plane just in front of Ken's is a Delta flight from Rome to Atlanta. It's following a United Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Washington Dulles, and the big plane in front is an Air France flight from Paris to Washington Dulles (it's a big double-deck Airbus A-380).

The site offers an option to download Google Earth to work with what they call the "cockpit view" that simulates the view from the plane using Google's map and satellite imagery. That's a lot of fun. You can zoom in and out around the world and watch the planes go by. I've even used the site to identify the jets I see going over our house. is a great site and I highly recommend it!


  1. Walt, very cool! A often watches my flights, and he usually knows where my baggage will be before we do on the plane!

    Hope you are enjoying your solitude/chores/cal-walking....

    I know it is sometimes nice to be "home alone"

    Christine from CA

  2. What a fun idea, I could use it to keep tabs on Nick when he's travelling to far flung places.
    Mind you, I'm always a nervous wreck until I get that text that says "landed!". I'm not sure if this would help.......

    1. jean, I sent you an email. Did you get it?

  3. Thanks Walt, I will use this flight tracker from now has a lot more features than the others I've used previously.
    Hope you and Callie and Bertie are enjoying your "home alone" bonding time.

  4. Thank you Walt! I downloaded Google Earth yesterday to get the cockpit view. Very interesting!

  5. We always use it is great fun keeping track of flights. There are also sites to keep track of ships as well. Have a good day. Diane

  6. Thanks for the Airline tracker. I've used one (the name of which I can't recall) to track flights to Paris.

  7. Thanks Walt. I'm a retired air traffic controller and I've used traffic display sites at work, back in the day, and privately. This one's pretty good.


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