Blocked flights


#1

Would be nice to have “blocked” flights listed in all flight list areas as “BLOCKED” where the blocked information would appear. I deal with some aircraft that fly blocked & at least people involved with these aircraft can flight follow them based on the information he or she has, like type aircraft & wheels up/down airports & proposed times.


#2

It is precisely that sort of information that blocking is intended to conceal.


#3

Maybe so, but even more precise… the information I am requesting to be posted is ALREADY being posted as a matter of routine on other flight following sites. FBOWEB as an example. It blocks the tail number and instead substitutes “BLOCKED” in it’s place. It also lists the departing and arriving airport along with the estimated times and distances. Therefore, the information I would like to see is available to the general public… It would be a nice addition here on “FlightAware” and would really do nothing to compromise the flight.


#4

Every data provider has a different way of handling this situation. There is certainly additional information revealed about a flight by handling it as you describe. However, there are plenty of alternatives such as listening to clearance delivery or talking to an FBO about activity so the system is clearly not very solid as it is.

If you are the owner or operator of a blocked aircraft and want to track it on FlightAware, we offer a service to accomodate that need. Otherwise, we respect the privacy requests as much as we can.


#5

“Every data provider has a different way of handling this situation. There is certainly additional information revealed about a flight by handling it as you describe. However, there are plenty of alternatives such as listening to clearance delivery or talking to an FBO about activity so the system is clearly not very solid as it is.”

I understand your point about different data providers dealing with info in different ways. Unfortunately, the lack of this type of information will force me to continue to keep my subscription with fboweb.com in addition to flightaware.


#6

I disagree that such a system would do nothing to compromise the flight.

It’s not difficult to envision a scenario where merely obfuscating the tail number would not provide the privacy requested by the owner of a blocked tail number. For instance in the case of a blocked tail number departing or arriving at a private airfield where there would be little ambiguity as to the identity of the airplane.


#7

hi

As i am a spotter at a BIZ airfield in UK (eglf) i would like to add to this.
farnborough is daily visited by Stateside biz and many Regs are blocked but that is in no way a problem . Members of my group have ACARS and SBS2 running and fellow members watching the approach and Radio Freqs but that does not mean we compromise the flight identity . Members are really interested in the Aircraft not who what is on board . its a group rule we dont ask who\what or tell anyone and if anyone asks we tend to be suspicious or politly answer that we dont know. one reply from an owner
"yes we do have biz-Ga members as spotters" was that many only block Reg so that competiters dont know there movements whether any truth in this i dont know. But if other enthusiets want to get more biz jet info they should join one of the thousands of groups on Yahoogroups.com
I run a list for the local spotters here at EGLF and i know there are many
similer groups for USA airfields and Worldwide . but please remember like
us we are security conscious WHO WHAT on any Flight is a NO NO

                           Tony
                    eglf (farnborough) uk

2131 gmt Dec 03 2005


#8

Guess I’ll still consult the free portion of Red1Aviation.com "Daily Movements " to view blocked aircraft information.

Don’t understand why FlightAware can’t provide this same service… certainly doesn’t compromise the identity of the requested blocker.

Example. On my scanner this morning I listened to the arrival of N***AC, a G-IV based locally here in GRR arrive from SFO. FlightAware had no record of the movement. In reality, thanks to my scanner and my knowledge of GRR based aircraft, I didn’t need FlightAware.com or Red1Aviation to determine the identity of the aircraft. But Red1Aviation did have the following information which certainly by itself would not divulge the identity of this aircraft.

12-10 06:03 BLOCKED GLF4 Arrived from SFO

Then clicking on the details gives you this:

***Aircraft ID BLOCKED
Aircraft Type GLF4
Owner/Operator

Flight Plan Received 2005-12-10 04:15:06 from Oakland
Departure SFO SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL, SAN FRANCISCO CA
Destination GRR GERALD R. FORD INTERNATIONAL, GRAND RAPIDS MI
Status Landed
Planned Alt 41000 Feet
Planned Speed 467 kts.
Planned Dep 2005-12-10 07:15
Actual Dep 2005-12-10 07:18
Planned Arrival 2005-12-10 11:07
Estimated Arrival 2005-12-10 11:10
Actual Arrival 2005-12-10 11:03
Latest Speed 124 kts.
Latest Altitude 2800 Feet
Distance to Dest.
Last Update 2005-12-10 11:08
Route SFO.SFO8.SFO…LIN.J84.MVA.J84.EKR.J100.OBK…GRR/0352
Tracking ID 65415665***


#9

Sure, perhaps it’s true that with that particular Gulfstream departing from a busy airport like SFO it’s unlikely that anyone would be able to determine whose plane it is. However, not all blocked planes are that generic or operate out of such busy airfields as SFO.

Many planes with blocked tail numbers are more distinctive aircraft (type and class) or operate out of privately owned airfields. We do not feel that simply obscuring the tail number is sufficient privacy to uphold the spirit of the BARR program. There are simply too many scenarios where simply hiding the tail number would still allow a casual observer to deduce whose plane it is.

We take our obligations to NBAA and the FAA very seriously and we would not be comfortable with the “letter of the law” approach taken by some other flight tracking sites. Not to mention the fact that we respect the privacy of those owner/operators who have chosen to include their aircraft in the blocked aircraft listing.


#10

I’m confused, then. It sounds to me like you were able to use the information available from the other site to learn far more about that flight than you otherwise would have gotten just from listening to your scanner.

Now you not only know the tail number but also the origin and route and details of the flight. Isn’t this what you’re not supposed to know about blocked airplanes?

To me you’ve just made a compelling argument in favor of flight aware’s approach since you have been able to learn more about the flight than you should know by connecting two things.


#11

No.

The guy made it perfectly clear from the start that he’d heard the flight on his scanner didn’t he? No amount of flight tracker ID blocking is going to alter that fact.

From what I understand, the FAA rules only state that the flight ID be blocked to public view, which is exactly what the other sites are doing. By keeping the type and origin and destination points in place isn’t breaking any rules at all.

Whilst I understand F/A’s reasons to remove the whole flight from the system, I personally think that this is an ill-thought out and rather over-zealous move and are also doing the appeal of the site no good if members can’t get the info they want from here, but DO KNOW where to get it, foc.

If it’s good enough (to leave the origin/dest/type details) for the other trackers, then it’s good enough for F/A. Period.

I fear a reply along the lines of “this is how it is, like it or lump it” is in the pipelines though… :laughing:


#12

Yes, blocking the data prevents a user from determining the origin of the aircraft if you hear the arrival on a scanner.

You’ll have to re-read Nugget’s post about this.

You should also consider that a company with many people who have spent all day, every day working on FlightAware for almost a year, it’s likely that we’ve put a bit more thought into these decisions that you have, so the presumption that we haven’t given this situation significant consideration is flawed.

Additionally, you should recognize that as the largest and most popular flight tracking service, we’re the ones that set the precedent for what’s appropriate and a smaller service being more lax with privacy has no bearing or impact on our standards or policies.


#13

From his scanner he heard that a particular (blocked) tail number had arrived at the destination. It wasn’t until he’d connected that data with the information presented on the other flight tracking site that he was able to learn where that plane came from, when it left, and the route it took.

If that were my plane and I’d gone to the effort of having my tail number blocked, I’d be really unhappy that he was able to find out that information and I’d certainly consider that a breach the privacy I expected from having my tail number blocked.

If it weren’t for the information divulged on the other flight tracking site, tjwgrr wouldn’t know nearly as much about the flight as he does. Where that plane came from (and where it goes next, which is also “at risk” if it’s the only blocked tail number at the destination field) is exactly the sort of information that the BARR program is intended to keep private.

It’s precisely this sort of “leak” that leads us to treat blocked flight operations in the manner that we do. We’d hate to contribute in any way to a loss of privacy for owners who have chosen to be blocked.


#14

Fair enough, but with that kind of statement you’re just asking people to go elsewhere - and they will if they can’t get what they want here :confused: .

The fact still can’t be ignored that flight trackers have been around for years now - which DON’T block origin/dest/type ID’s (I hasten to add) - and the FAA hasn’t batted an eyelid in all this time despite there being a rather large spotlight focused on this kind of thing by the media recently, especially where (alleged) “Government torture flights” are concerned, so I think many of us are wondering why you’re running scared.

I don’t believe for one minute that you are really that concerned with “respecting the privacy of private operators”. I mean, what’s in it for you? You’ve got the potential to virtually bring in every person in the US and Canada (and beyond) that has even the tiniest interest in tracking flights, which I’m pretty damned sure will eventually lead to a subscription service, but yet you’re alienating yourself from a particular market because you don’t want to upset a few CEO’s with Learjet’s? Very strange.

Hope I don’t get a flaming for having my opinion on it; it is your show at the end of the day, but I think your original decision might be worth a rethink :bulb: .

Cheers.


#15

Fair enough, but with that kind of statement you’re just asking people to go elsewhere - and they will if they can’t get what they want here

FlightAware will keep people here because it offers the type of comprehensive features that other sites don’t. With the future zoom/filter map feature, this is an awesome service!

Further, no one is being prevented from accessing two tracking sites in tandem. Personally, I don’t like Red One’s maps and I don’t want to pay $15/month to subscribe.

In my opinion, people will get more of what they’re looking for HERE.


#16

You’re certainly welcome to your opinion, and I hope that you and everyone else would feel comfortable expressing their opinions on the discussion boards here. We value your feedback and discussions here do influence our development and plans. Your comments are reasonable and I understand your position. That said, perhaps saying that we’re “running scared” and calling our honesty into question isn’t the best way to convince us that you’re right. :slight_smile:

It really is that simple, though – we want to honor the spirit and intent of the BARR program and we do not believe that merely hiding the tail number accomplishes that. In fact, the comment from tjwgrr demonstrates quite well that this is not just an academic concern. Consequently, I’m not sure how you’d find our position to be strange or hard to believe.

If this decision causes us to lose the “market” of people who are only interested in tracking blocked flights, then we are willing to accept the loss of those people.


#17

No, you’re right :laughing: . Diplomacy was never my strong point I’m afraid. Where I come from (Yorkshire in England) we are known for ‘telling it how it is’ and calling a spade a spade, not a shovel! :smiley:

It really is that simple, though – we want to honor the spirit and intent of the BARR program and we do not believe that merely hiding the tail number accomplishes that. In fact, the comment from tjwgrr demonstrates quite well that this is not just an academic concern. Consequently, I’m not sure how you’d find our position to be strange or hard to believe.

If this decision causes us to lose the “market” of people who are only interested in tracking blocked flights, then we are willing to accept the loss of those people.

Fair enough! Discussions is all about sharing opinions and on this one I don’t agree with your decision so we shall have to agree to disagree if that makes sense :confused: . It was a good discussion and I’m sure this thread will be an excellent reference thread when this weeks “why can’t I see blocked ID info” question comes up later in the week - and let’s face it, it will at some point! :laughing:

Cheers.


#18

True, but remember only with a scanner used in conjunction with a flight tracker that shows blocked aircraft was I able to determine flight operational information. The other tracking sites, or this site if it provided such data by themselves would not technically divulge the data. I guess that’s how the other sites get around it.

That being said, I think FlightAware is the best thing out there, bar none. End of discussion from me. :wink:


#19

I certainly understand why some users want minimal information for blocked flights. Generally they could care less who is on a plane, their hobby is watching aviation activity, unusual types, etc.

But there are many reasons that an owner might want their activity blocked, some of which you aren’t considering, while F/A is.

The owner is perhaps a celebrity. We’ll most of us feel they are fair game, anyway…

The owner may be a corporation who is out doing no good. They ought to be fair game.

But also consider that the owner may be a corporation who is plagued by an agressive competitor who is watching their every move. It’s not fair for a “good guy” to have to worry about their evil arch-rival like that. We must assume the good guy’s intentions are legitimate. I don’t have my number blocked but, as the owner of a small startup business, if I were to fly regularly to promote that business I wouldn’t want my much bigger and better funded competitor knowing what I was up to. It’s predatory and illegal, but done every day.

And lastly in one case that I have personal knowledge of: a female pilot is being stalked by an ex. To reveal her aircraft type, origin, and destination, without revealing the N-number completely defeats the whole purpose, in this case. If it is the only C182 departing that day it would be simple to find out when and where she is going without knowing the tail number. No point in blocking, stalker already knows who it is! Yes, the stalker could get some information by listening to a scanner, but that would require being in range and listening at the right time, if the clearance is even obtained over the radio (you can do it by cell phone, as well). But we don’t need to help them by providing even more information in a publicly searchable, detailed, free (and fantastic) site.

So my opinion is that F/A is doing exactly right by blocking all of the data. Just because other systems may give more information doesn’t mean F/A would be right in doing so. Laws sometimes have loopholes that others find a way through, but it’s admirable that F/A would choose to honor the intent of the law, not the letter of it.

I hope everyone will understand that there are legitimate reasons that an owner might desire blocking. Even though you may want a reasonable bit of info for your hobby purposes without any evil intent, providing that info may infringe on others privacy, and hopefully all will respect their legitimate right to privacy. But if you want to get your private information somewhere else, the more power to you. I’m sure F/A would refund every cent you paid them. :slight_smile:


#20

I have an acquaintance who pilots a corporate jet. The last time I saw him, he mentioned that he had just flown in from Detroit. We were talking about some of the conditions around the airport that day and I casually asked him what his tail number is. Suddenly his eyes opened wide, his smile disappeared, and his voice lost all traces of friendliness. “I can’t talk to you about that,” was all he said. You’d think he suspected me of being a terrorist, but the truth is that he doesn’t know that I’m not.

This pilot flies all over the country. I know he’s made several overseas trips. His employer is a large corporation. I’m sure it has numerous government contracts, probably even military or classified contracts. I do understand their desire for secrecy. Undoubtedly they worry about terrorism overseas and most probably about kidnapping or assassination attempts in the U.S.

Tail blocking serves a legitimate purpose. It’s not done purely to frustrate hobbyists. I support FlightAware’s position on the matter.