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What is Flightradar24?
Flightradar24 is a Swedish internet service that displays real-time flight information on a map. It contains flight paths, origins and destinations, flight numbers, types of aircraft, positions, heights, directions and speeds. It can also display time-lapse renderings of previous routes and historical flight data of the airline, airplane, airplane type, map, or airport.
Flightradar24 collects data from various sources. But outside the United States mainly from crowd-sourced informations from volunteers with a ADS-B receiver. The service was founded as a hobby in 2006 by two Swedish aviation enthusiasts. For Android and iOS there is a mobile app available in a free and in a paid version. The paid app has a lot of additional features and is ad-free. For mobile Windows devices there is currently no official app of Flightradar24 available.
Flightradar24 obtains its data from the following 3 sources:
- Automatic dependent monitoring transmission (ADS-B). The main source is a large number of ground-based ADS-B receivers that collect the data from each aircraft in its local area. They are equipped with an ADS-B transponder and submits this data in real-time to the Internet. The aircraft-based transponder use GPS and other flight data inputs to transmit signals including aircraft registration, position, altitude, speed and other flight data. Currently, approximately 65% of the aircraft in Europe are equipped with ADS-B but only 35% in the US.
- Multilateration (MLAT). The second main source of is multilateration with Flightradar24 (FR24) receivers. All types of aircraft are visible in areas covered by MLAT, even without ADS-B but covered by 99% of Europe, only a part of the aircraft is covered in the USA. At least four receivers are required to calculate the position of an aircraft.
- Federal flight administration. The deficit in the US is mainly determined by 5 minutes delayed data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but these may not contain the aircraft registration and other information.
For security and privacy reasons, informations from Flightradar24 are limited or even blocked on some aircraft. This includes most military aircraft and certain high-class aircraft, such as the Air Force One.
Flightradar24 was founded in 2006 by two Swedish aviation enthusiasts for Northern and Central Europe. They then opened the service in 2009 so that anyone with a suitable ADS-B receiver can contribute to the service. Flightradar24 received a lot of attention in 2010, when international media called on to report on the air disturbances over the North Atlantic and Europe through the volcanic eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull.