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Flight Radar and Useful Data Sources

If you regularly see aircraft above you, and wonder where they are flying to, this page is for you.

Using the Flight Radar Map

Drag the map to the location you want using your mouse or arrow keys. Use your mouse wheel, or the + or - keys to zoom in ond out. Hover your cursor over an aircraft to see it's callsign. Click on the aircraft to see the full information.

SSR Transponders
During the Second World War, in addition to standard radar (which uses the 'echo' from a rotating radio beam to indicate positions of aircraft, but not their identity), a system known as Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF) was also developed. Aircfraft were fitted with a transponder which enabled controllers to quickly see which aircraft were friendly.

In peacetime this evolved into what we now know as Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR), and most aircraft have a transponder which enables transmission of data including aircraft type, registration, heading, altitude and speed. In addition, the pilot has a dial wwith which he can select a four digit code, which is transmitted with this data.

The air traffic controller will ask the pilot to select a specific code, so that the control can see this as a label against the aircraft and he can be sure he can identify the aircaft he is controlling, from all the others on his screen.

This is known as squawking. If you listen to an airband radio, you may hear the controller say to a pilot 'Thomson 7 Bravo Hotel squawk 7713'. The pilot of the Thomson flight with the callsign Thomson 7BH will then set his code to 7713. A he does so, the controller will immediately see the aircraft on his screen with that label.

The are also numerous special purpose Sqwark Codes. Some of the more interesting you'll see on the map above are listed below.
7700Aircraft Emergency
0020Air Ambulance live medical evacuation Mission
0023Live Search and Rescue Mission
0036Helicopter Power Line Inspection Flight
7004Airobatics and Display

A comprehensive list of Squawk codes can be found at

Under the Bonnet of the Flight Radar Map

All over the would thousands of aircraft and radio enthusiasts have set up radio receivers which are turned to the aircraft transponder frequency. The information is decoded by their PC and used to create a feed which is fed into the flight radar server.

Premium access to the flight radar website can be obtained free if to feed data in.

All you need is a suitable ADS-B Dongle which you can buy here.

Online up to date Air Navigation charts can be found at Sky Vector.