Flight Aware is an extensive free flight tracking service that tracks flights live. Talk about impressive! Right now as I’m writing this, FlightAware is tracking 2979 aircraft with 27,215,352 total flights in their database. Just in the last 24 hours alone, they have tracked over 49,000 arrivals. It tracks both commercial and private traffic.
FlightAware has only been around since March of 2005 and according to their site, they track aroud 600,000 flights per day or around 7 requests per second. Their website hosts arrival and depature “boards” for users who would like to participate in a discussion. Besides the convenient way of tracking flights, FlightAware also has a few additional features worth mentioning.
First, for pilots they provide helpful airport information like airport diagrams or airport procedures. When searching, you can either search by a flight number, airport code, or just browse flights. Another cool feature is that you can become a registered user (again, for free) but you get some extra benefits. These benefits include flight data history going back 4 months (7 days for non-registered users), and you can receive flight status alerts via email, AIM, or Jabber.
I clicked on a flight that had just departed Chicago’s O’Hare International headed for Los Angeles. FlightAware pulls up a map showing me the path it’s taken along with information like the duration of the flight (4 hours and 9 minutes), and the progress of the flight. At the time that I tracked the flight, it was only 12 minutes into the flight and had 1,718 miles left to travel. Additional information it provides is the departure time along with arrival time, speed, and altitude.
FlightAware is a great source to gather aviation data or just browse at the insane amount of aircraft that are up in the air at a time. They have a good visual analysis of a day in United States airspace. Clearly, between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm air traffic is without a doubt the busiest time to travel. If you have a few minutes this weekend, check it out.