FlightAware Discussions

Flights or Aircraft?

Why are in the stats in one chart “Aircraft” counted and below under nearby sites “Flights”?
This number can be different as an Aircraft can have more than one flight over a day.

An aircraft is only counted once per UTC/GMT day. It keeps things very simple.

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Normally, for others those two numbers are not the same.

Is this just a coincidence?


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The number reported under Nearby sites is the median of the last 7 days (including today). That makes it the 4th largest number of the last seven days incl today.

In the FAQ it is stated that the count is actually aircraft per UTC day:

Technically that means ‘Flights’ is the same as the reported number of ‘Aircraft’

If a flight is defined as a flight number (E.g UAL59) then there is only per day. There are however plenty GA aircraft that don’t have a number. Presumably they are counted once also. Aircraft passing the radar one time and returning later in the UTC day over the same radar are also only counted once then. I suppose that would explain why the count goes relatively quick in the first few hours of the UTC day (here in CA) and then slows down considerably towards the end of the UTC day.

Note that there have been various threads with other ways to count for the purpose of ranking. Bottom line is that there is no one ‘best’ way (whatever that means).

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Which certainly works in this case.



That is my understanding as well.
But just looking right now on my profile the number is still the same.
1434 aircraft yesterday, 1434 aircraft shown in the list of “nearby sites”

In my area there are plenty of aircraft showing up more than once over a day doing different flights. So just for that reason, the number must be different.

I am talking about counting, not ranking

Why? A flight is a flight, an aircraft is an aircraft. If i am in the middle of two airports and there is a route between them, an aircraft can show up several times on a day doing that route, but the flight will be always different.

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Maybe a visualization with an example helps.

I took the aircraft D-AINO and searched for the flights as the aircraft appeared more than once last friday on my receiver.
All these flights are having different numbers, but were taken with the same aircraft and all four passed my receiver:

So the number of aircraft for that day should be “1” while the number of flights should be “4”.
Or am i thinking wrong?

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If it’s the same number … well it’s likely the same thing, someone just called it flights instead of aircraft.

No one disagrees, i’ll highlight a previous post:

How are the statistics calculated for the list of “Nearby Sites” on the “My ADS-B” page?

The nearby sites table shows the median number of positions per day and the median number of aircraft per day received by each site over the last 7 days (using UTC time).

So … write a mail or highlight @obj, maybe a ticket can be opened for the webteam to rename it.


Will do, thanks.
No one questioned this so far, maybe i am the only one beeing too sensitive about it.

I seem to recall reading this discussion in the last year or so. It was in the context of rankings i believe. Hence my reference to it. Not 100 % certain

I know, some people are keen to go up in the ranking.
But for me i more like to have precise documentation :slight_smile:


I had similar issues with the semantics of Aircraft / Flights / Idents
See thread Same Ident on same day

So not only can the same airframe fly multiple flights on the same UTC day with different flight numbers, it can potentially also have the same Ident on each flight!

So it actually a lot more subtle when one starts digging into the detail.
Totally agree on the desire to have precise documentation.

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