Just tried to track a couple of choppers that fly to offshore drilling platforms from Galiano, LA but get no results on their tail nos. Are choppers not included in flight tracking?

Welcome psummer

Only if they are flying IFR **or with some luck **VFR flight following will they be tracked.


I thought there was just a topic about helos serving those oil platforms. Sometimes the controllers will put them in, usually in busy metro areas the TV and Medical birds get this handling.

Hopefully there will soon be more offshore drilling. Heck, they can come drill in my bathtub if it will help.

There are some helicopters operating IFR. C-FPSE was spinnin’ around for a little while today.

On a related note, I noticed an interesting flight of a helicopter on IFR. A few days back, I saw a lifeflight show up on flightaware that was filed from a regional hospital’s helipad to my local airport. At some point, they must have canceled IFR. Instead of landing at the KHIB airport, they continued on a few more miles, and landed at the Hibbing hospital’s helipad (I work close to the hospital, and heard them fly overhead).

Here’s the flight:

flightaware.com/live/flight/N911 … /MN33/KHIB

Always wondered how the medical helicopters handled flight plans, given that they’re probably not given the luxury of time to plan ahead, not going to well-defined locations, etc. Thought this was a cool example of how to get most of the way to their destination on IFR.

The oil support choppers may use callsigns (flight numbers) anyway so the tail number won’t help you.

This one looks like it was put in by the controller today.

ADS-B comes to the Gulf!

The oil support choppers may use callsigns (flight numbers) anyway so the tail number won’t help you.

If these are unscheduled flights or private flights would there still be call signs/flight numbers?

Could be. It depends whether the operator has registered a “handle” (call sign) with the FAA.

atcmonitor.com/callsigns.html (there’s also the official list somewhere on the FAA site, my bookmark now goes to a ‘not found’ though).

FAA publications are posted here..

For the call signs (“telephony” in official language), the publication you want is JO 7340.2.

I’ve noticed around here, we have 3 or 4 TV copters, a few sheriff & police, and a few ambulance…every one of them has a call sign while operating in this area, but when they go out of the area or file IFR, they use the N number.

Copterchick Blog Desiree Horton - ex KTLA helicopter pilot/reporter, excellent helicopter blog.

Here are a few from Cougar - flying to oil platforms on the Grand Banks.


WARNING: Photos of “Copter Chick” induce spontaneous and uncontrollable bodily functions! http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b8/CheckM8/Drool.gif

So, unless the flight is filed, Med-evac etc won’t show here on FlightAware, correct?

Is there a site that will show anything in the air (mechanical, that is… really don’t want to track ducks and geese etc ? :wink:

I’m a retired volunteer EMT for a rural community (Population: 9000+) and a new med-evac helo and fwa service is considering the local airport as a base. Hence, the interest in the ability to track these flights.

Being just a few minutes (100mi) from KMCI, it’s interesting to monitor radio traffic as flights pass over on approach or in shared airspace enroute to other destinations as well as see just where they are via FA.

Would appreciate help in finding the appropriate site to track short hop med flights.

Love this site and these discussions! Thanks to FA and all here!

If their helo is ADS-B equipped you could pick up an ADS-B receiver.

Its been over a year and half since I taught this stuff, so I’ll try my best:

Helicopters can get PINS (Point in space approaches) which is basically an instrument non-precison approach that ends at a GPS location. If at that point there and with minimum visibility req , which depending on airspace can equate to clear of clouds, they can procede visually to their landing spot, i.e. a hospital helipad visually or any helipad for that matter. They have a few of these in NYC area and certain metro places.
Hit edit on accident