Fastest and slowest of a plane type currently in the air

I find myself looking for the fastest and slowest of type xxx currently in the air…wouldn’t it be cool if the user could either (a) sort the airborne aircraft of a particular type from fastest to slowest or (b) somehow identify (maybe using color) which aircraft if currently the flying the fastest and the slowest?


Why? Because the speeds listed on FlightAware are groundspeeds, and groundspeeds are constantly changing. Every time an airplane makes a turn, changes altitudes, or the winds change, the groundspeed will change, regardless of the true airspeed or the power setting.

Not cool. There’s more important features to implement than who’s flying fastest and slowest.

Besides, the slowest would always be 0 - there’s bound to be a helicopter somewhere during the day that is on an IFR flight plan and is currently hovering.

Well, reasonable minds can differ on this.

Just to be clear though, my interest in examining speeds is exactly because the speeds on FlightAware are groundspeeds. That is, it’s not terribly interesting to know that all King Airs are traveling at, say, 260kts true, but to me it is interesting to see the guy headed east with a terrific tailwind enjoying ground speeds of 350+. Conversely, I feel the pain of the Bonanza driver headed west into a headwind with a groundspeed less than 100kts.

Also, since the feature I proposed would allow users to sort the aircraft of a particular type currently in flight, that would eliminate the helicopter outlier that was mentioned.

In any event, there probably are more important features to some. But, the developers now have my 2 cents.

I kinda posted in haste earlier. I am sometimes interested in looking at exactly what you mentioned. I like to look up eastbound C750s to see what kind of ground speeds they’re getting.
This is not an easy thing to implement, the current sort by a/c type doesn’t list any current “live” information about the flights, and it’s not streaming. Updating an entire list of airplanes every minute when a new position report comes in is very bandwidth-heavy.

Knowing the faster aircraft types out flying around would help (i.e. C750, B744, GLF5, etc.)

BTW: What was Concorde’s code? “CONC”?

I guess I could see some benefit in this:

When finding the altitude I plan to file, I check winds aloft including direction, speed and altitude… This would serve as a close to real time result that people are experiencing at those levels/ directions… Works like a PIREP of sorts- if a flight was not getting good ground speed or it’s too rough at an altitude, they’ll usually request a change.

This leads to another filter maybe… Search by altitude???

While we are on this topic, let me introduce a new new feature that I would love to see FA staff implement. The new feature would interpolate winds aloft to estimate an aircraft’s TAS. I know it would be limited but it would be kind of cool.

Or even a better idea, make a new place on the tracking page that shows the interpolation of the winds aloft for the aircrafts position and altitude.

So, what do you all think?

Unless I misunderstand this suggestion, there would be no way to accurately estimate this.

I may want to cruise at a lower then POH value which would skew the number.

In other words, to extend my range, I may want to cruise at 100 knots with stronger tailwinds, then run at 110 knots and burn more fuel in my Sundowner.



You didn’t say this, but I’ll point out that hovering in IMC is nearly impossible without outside reference or an autopilot. It’s a commonly held believe that if a helicopter gets last in the clouds it just stops and can hover. It’s not that easy.

I think this could as an overlay with winds aloft info that is available all over the internet already, Like here. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Bear with me as I have never been in a helicopter, but if the pilot is IFR rated for the helicopter and the helicopter is IFR equipped, the pilot flies soley by instruments, why couldn’t he hover in IMC?

I’d be inclined to believe he has all the instrumentation to show altitude, attitude, airspeed / groundspeed and heading?

In my head, zero ground speed would mean he is stationary, magnetic heading would show he is not turning, altimeter woud show him not climbing, and attititude / turn coordinator would show him upright and level.

Other then zero ground speed, I would think the effects of IMC would be the same as an airplane and the pilot would have to ignore all sensory feelings and rely on instrumentation for hovering.

Any IFR rated helicopter drivers out there that can chime in?



Simply hovering requires continuous, active corrections from the pilot. When a hovering helicopter is nudged in one direction by a gust of wind, it will tend to continue in that direction, **(and show no change in the flight instruments)**and the pilot must adjust the cyclic to correct the motion. Hovering a helicopter has been compared to balancing yourself while standing on a large beach ball. Hovering is mainly a visual manuever.

Try standing on one foot for a little while. Your ankle muscles must make small, quick corrections to maintain balance.
Now try it with your eyes closed (no visual reference). It’s much more difficult.

Not Exactly-- This would have nothing to do with your POH or the power setting you choose… It’s simply your ground speed + or - the winds aloft for the altitude you are flying… 230 Kts Ground speed on FA, With 30 Kt tailwind at same FL = 200 Kts TAS… Same math we do to correct KIAS to KTAS (sort of— w/ GPS)… If you want to cruise your Lear at 100Kts into a 50 Kt headwind, Fine. It would be interesting to see the reason the Lear is only showing 50kts on FA.

This could be an interesting feature perhaps- Showing winds or giving air/ground speed would give a better idea of whats happening up there. Is that plane going slow by choice or because the jetstream is 200 Kts today?

Thanks dfijames and leardvr. Good references to compare by for a non rotorhead!

Though in my simple based mind, I would have thought GPS ground speed and tracking may help the chopper driver correct for winds (though gusts do add a whole new dimension even in fix wings) for hovering without visual references.

Kinda like sliding down the ILS without visual using GPS for tracking and correcting for winds without seeing the runway, though hovering would take much more sensitive touch to the controls to hold the ground speed to zero where as an ILS, there is usually 150 foot wide runway in front of you.