If you have traveled by flight anytime, you know how unpredictable flight schedules are. It is even worse when you are trying to pick or drop someone at an airport. Sometimes it’s bad weather. Sometimes it’s bad luck. Sometimes it’s just plain incompetence on the airlines’ part. Now, you can be a little bit more prepared for such instances when planning to make a flight or trying to schedule picking up or dropping a loved one at an airport.
GMaps Flight Tracker
Gmaps Flight Tracker.com site tracks incoming flights for a few US airports (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, JFK NY, LA, Miami, SFO & Seattle at the time of writing) with data from fboweb.com. This data is shown on a Google Maps overlay based on position reports for each aircraft once per minute.
Once you pick a city of interest, a list of incoming aircrafts are shown. Click or mouse over a flight number to see altitude, height and heading for that flight.
The new beta preview shows way points for the flights showing the flight travel path as trails which is pretty cool.
If you are a Google Earth user, you could download the .kml file and view it in Google Earth to look at past flights and height profiles for aircrafts. Pretty cool if you ask me.
Flight Tracker at FlightStats.com
Flight Tracker is another Google Maps mashup from FlightStats. Apart from showing the flight path on Google Map, this service is much more useful to a traveler or someone receiving a friend or family at an airport.
A few features at FlightStats are:
- Shows Arrival and Departure times
- Shows flight status
- Shows estimated Gate Arrival time
- Weather at departure and arrival cities
- Email or SMS alerts about flight delays are very useful
- Free registration gives you access to extended info such as access to forums, historical flight data, etc.
- A US map shows airports with delays as red dots
FlightView Live! is another live flight tracker. A major difference between this and the other services is that you can view info about flights that are in-air as the data is from the flight itself. If the flight you want to look up is still in the ground, you won’t find it here.
Couple of features that sets this service apart are:
- You can pop open the map window, so you can surf or work while this data keeps loading real time.
- You can turn on weather to see a light fly around or through bad weather systems. Very cool.
- Hit Replay to view the flight path from the point of departure to its current position.
Although a little slow to load, the weather information is great to look at. You can see it’s raining in Florida but the sky is clear in the flight path.
FlightAware is yet another Flight and Airport activity tracker service. You plug in your flight number to get a map and other flight information.
Some features here are
- Flight stats like the other services
- Has a nifty feature of looking at other flights between the same airports as the flight you are looking at
- Great Airport information
- Tracks commercial as well as private aircrafts
- Watch Airport activity like Arrivals, Scheduled departures, etc.
- Looks like it is geared for pilots as well as travelers.
Hope you enjoyed these sites. Besides being a great way of wasting some time gawking at flights in real time on maps, they can really come in handy when you or someone you know are traveling.