Airport tracker page not showing all vicinity aircraft


When looking at Santa Monica KSMO tracking page, there are no vicinity aircraft showing, except for a very few aircraft. I made sure the Vicinity check box was selected. SMO is near LAX, so there should be a large number of Arr/Dep at LAX. I viewed the LAX tracking page, and sure enough there were a large number of aircraft in/out of LAX. These same aircraft are not showing in the SMO page, when typically they would in the past.

I have zoomed in to 5 Mile range, and still not showing vicinity aircraft on the SMO page. This has also been the case at KSBP (showing only aircraft in/out, no vicinity) so I think is is more widespread than just specific airports.

Secondly, I have noticed that I can now pan across the entire US when viewing the Flight Tracker page of a west coast airport. Example, SMO, zoomed to 10 miles, I can pas across to view the Miami area. Again, very few aircraft showing around miami or between, which seems odd (see above). Typically there was a ‘bounding box’ that limited the distance away from the specific airport you could ‘stray’. Is this a feature or a bug now?

The above was not the case a week ago. I only noticed this the last few days.

Quick edit:
The above was experienced on my home computer. I can view the vicinity aircraft (ksbp, ksmo) when accessing the tracking page via my iPhone using the mobile version of the site accessed through the browser, not the app. I much prefer the mobile site vs the application because maps with vicinity aircraft, arr/dep/enroute/schec. dep all show in one page. Hope this helps.

Thanks for your time and FA,


There’s another thread about this too, and I’ll reply in both. I am having the similar issue, but it’s nationwide. No matter which airport I select I get no overhead traffic on my maps.
Once in a while I’ll see one, maybe two targets overhead on the maps, but basically they just show local traffic no matter which airport is selected.
There was some good stuff over the weekend I wanted to look up, but it’s just not there.
I’ve prowled the forums but can find no mention of a change or why this is happening?
EDIT: Also, if it helps, this is occurring on both my desktop and laptop while running the latest version of Firefox.


Are you attempting to show all the aircraft from a link in the discussions pages? You need to open a separate page from the Live Tracking link:

Even so, you’re correct that there appears to be a paucity of flights showing up on the maps. But the FAQs have addressed this in the past, perhaps there’s a server problem at present?

*"Why do some flights in a different color only sometimes appear on an airport map?

The airport maps focus on ensuring that you can see flights to/from the airport that you’re looking at. When space is available, nearby aircraft with track lines will be included. As you zoom and pan to a more a congested area, the track lines for nearby aircraft may be removed. At a certain point, nearby aircraft will not be displayed entirely."*


I guess what I’m trying to say is this, ever since FlightAware came out, I can go to my nearest airport (KCLE) and pull up the map. On the map, you can see CLE traffic (in blue) and overhead traffic (in green). I no longer have any overhead traffic visible, no matter the zoom level. And it’s not just CLE…it’s any airport. Simply no overhead traffic, and it’s not that there isn’t any!


Here is an example from this morning.

LAX, a lot of traffic, SMO, not showing any of the traffic in the ‘vicinity’

This was not the case last week.
Last week, SMO would have shown all of the aircraft in the vicinity to/from BUR,LAX, etc…

From LAX tracking page

From SMO tracking page


This got me thinking. Earlier I stated that there used to be a invisible bounding box that I could not pan outside of, effectively limiting my viewing area to the area around the airport. Makes sense, as I do not care about aircraft in NY when I am viewing SMO. At a point when zooming out, the vicinity aircraft go away, and only in/out aircraft appear in blue.

Today this ‘limiting box’ does not seem to be there anymore, so I can pan across the entire US at a very low (10 mile) zoom scale.

Purely hypothetical, but if FA limits the number of aircraft viewable in any ‘box’ to say 500 or whatever, then the box gets very large, or infinite in size, and FA is still only allowing you to see 500 aircraft across the huge are, effectively filtering viewable aircraft. That is why I cannot see the B737 inbound to LAX when viewing the SMO tracking page, but I can see a PA28 in Virginia having nothing to do with SMO/LAX
I could be totally off base with this simplified view. Something is amiss.

Hope this helps…


We’ve had a back end upgrade that has changed the display behavior. We think the new behavior is kind of confusing and we’re working on a better way to handle it.

The old behavior was: display all vicinity aircraft that fit in the current map area, unless it would be more than 200 aircraft (browser performance limits) in which case hide all vicinity aircraft

The current behavior is: display 200 random worldwide vicinity aircraft; due to “random” selection being not-so-random, they tend to be clumps around random hubs

The new intended behavior: display 200 random vicinity aircraft that fit within the current map area; this limit will also scale for newer/more capable browsers.


So, effectively, since Cleveland has such busy airspace, it will eliminate all but 200 targets? Honestly, I’m not sure that even that is happening. My maps look just like the ones spinner posted…nothing there but local traffic.

Are we not going to be able to see overhead traffic any longer?


The current behavior doesn’t help me as I want info on contrails over my house (Winnipeg,MB) & that disappeared I guess with the upgrade - haven’t had it since Friday or so. Often only shows 2 or 3 green planes in all of Canada!

The new intended behavior hopefully will be enough. Don’t think there is ever more than 200 aircraft around if I zoom in enough (ie 150 mile radius)

Thanks for the info


Will it ever go back? Or are we to settle for the new downgrade?


Thanks for the info


old behavior please come back!


For the new intended behavior; would that mean that if there is less than 200 aircraft within the current map area then they would all be shown?

If that’s the case then it would be just fine, similar to the original display. But if it’s only going to display random flights no matter what, as far as I’m concerned Flightaware would be broken. Because seeing all vicinity flights is why I love Flightaware. It’s the only website that does it properly.


The “new intended behavior” will go out on the site at 5pm Eastern tomorrow.

You will continue to be able to see overhead traffic. All flights to/from Cleveland, plus 200 vicinity aircraft that fit within your current map area.

Yes and no -
Yes, we’re going back to the behavior of only counting aircraft that you can see toward the 200 limit rather than the current 200 globally.
No, we’re not going back to the old behavior where all vicinity aircraft would disappear at a random zoom level.

Yes; if you select 200 random aircraft from less than 200 aircraft you get all of them.


This is not happening at ORD. It’s 735pm on a Monday and ORD shows 9 planes in the area.


I think more patience is needed if I’m understanding this post. From what I gathered at mduell’s post, the new intended behavior will be released to this FA site at 5pm ET on Tuesday, not today (Monday).


It sounds like this will be a good improvement.

Thanks mduell


Have no vicinity aircraft today or yesterday. Found this string. I did not mind prior behavior. I usually close down to 20/20 which is when vicinity aircraft appear on either map (big or small). I thought that was fine. Looking forward to what you have done. Thanks, Jan


I’m glad to hear you are going back to allowing traffic to be seen again. Without the overhead traffic, 95% of what I use FlightAware for is gone. FA has been a big part of my life for the last few years, and with the warm weather coming, I was looking forward to sitting on my deck with the laptop and watching the contrail parade overhead. In the meantime, I’ll just try to be patient until it comes back!