Incorrect Data


Flight data for SWA Flight 1540 for 10 July was extremely incorrect. The flight was scheduled to fly from MHT to BWI, but diverted to AID due to weather. The main flight data screen showed the flight going to BWI, and showed an “actual arrival” time of 1:16. The Flight Activity Log at the bottom, however, showed a scheduled flight from AID to BWI to leave at 2:00 (it did not leave until after 2:30), and this was not part of its flight plan at all. As of this writing (2:35), it has not taken off from AID much less landed at BWI.

How did the main data page show all of the specific BWI arrival data, but it never landed there at that time? Shouldn’t non-matching Lat/Long data force the arrival time data to not show up as being at BWI, and how did the flight track show arrival and landing at BWI when it did not do so? I understand that these two airports are in reasonably close proximity, but close is only good in horseshoes and hand grenades.


The “arrival” time shown at BWI is the time that the new flight was opened. Because it probably never entered the national system (do some searching in this forum), no departure time from BWI (actually, the airspace around BWI) was shown (again, do some searching in the forum for keywords like “short flight times”).

I enjoy consistency and you were consistent. The airport code is IAD, not AID.

Oh, and welcome aboard. If you haven’t done so already, read the Q/A (link at the top of the page) so you can get more enjoyment out of the best flight tracker around.


Here’s the flight

It appears this is the diverted flight, landing at IAD following a hold near BWI. It doesn’t show a flight from IAD to BWI but that doesn’t mean it didn’t go under a different flight number. As Dami said the flight was probably handled by approach and not center controllers from the original approach to BWI.


Thanks for the correction of Dulles Airport – I realized it afterwards, but could not figure out how to fix it.

As for the flight. My question remains how it showed a virtually on time arrival at Baltimore and the flight track showed it landing in Baltimore when that never happened (though it has happened since). I appreciate that it is nice to know that it landed, but it didn’t land at Baltimore! It would seem that the data source is a bit screwed up to say the least.

Not having to be the one to program these things, I can suggest it without having to do it, but as I mentioned earlier, if the flight activity detail shows a Lat/Long that doesn’t match, something should prevent showing an arrival at a different location. Not that I am complaining because the data is usually great, BUT if we have this sort of error, it does call all of the data for all flights into question.

We all know that some of the airlines (I hate to point at US Airways specifically, but I do!) lie in their arrival data, but that means I don’t trust their data at all any longer. We don’t want Flightaware’s data to become suspect.


To edit your original post push the button that says edit (has an image of scissors on it). ===================////\

The flight map shows where the flight went.

FA does not track a flight from gate to gate or runway to runway. It tracks radar data received from the FAA. The radar data doesn’t start flowing until that flight checks in with a radar controller, usually as they are handed off from tower to departure or departure to center. The same is true on the arrival sequence. The data usually stops when the flight is handed off to the tower controller.

Again, the last segment of this flight was probably handled by approach control so the diversion doesn’t show up, except on the map.


In summary, don’t suspect FA’s info, talk to the FAA…


Here, Here… The FAA, and I suspect the Lockheed Martin FSS folks, have hacked up tracking of my aircraft lately…


The FAA never sent us a diversion message (which, unfortunately, is not terribly uncommon), so we never changed the destination. It looks like the controller marked the flight as canceling IFR when it was just northeast of Baltimore, probably about the time they decided to divert to IAD.

SWA filed a flight plan for flight 1540 from IAD to BWI with an estimated takeoff time of 1400, so we displayed that until they took off at 1541.

As I said, the FAA never sent us a message saying the flight had diverted to IAD. They only sent us a cancellation message to end the flight.

Arrival messages often come when the aircraft is still a few minutes away from the airport (around the time they’re handed off to the tower), so matching lat/long would very rarely work.

LMT has nothing to do with the system we access… yet.


I was just refering to errors made by LMT during flight plan input. On several occasions of late they have incorrectly input the a/c type and equip suffix, which is why I use DUATS or as much as possible. Today someone hijacked my tail # for a C152. Sunday, there was a disconnect between the FAA and FA as FA showed a diversion and a result unknown on two of my flight legs when what was reported didn’t occur…


Those are both likely due to a sloppy controller. 3 digit tail numbers get quite a few flights from other aircraft ending in the same 3 digits, and sometimes longer tail numbers are just mistyped.


mduell…what are your thoughts regarding the sunday tracking?



Heh, that does look strange. Did you notify ATC of your intentions to go back to PHX then on to JWN while in the air?
The FAA sent us a diversion message to JWN, but then never sent an arrival message for that flight. I have no idea why that happened that way.


Nope…Departed PHX, landed, departed 45 min later back to PHX. Then departed an hour later for JWN. I did cancel IFR prior to landing on the first leg… suppose that had something to do with it?


I thank you very much for the detailed reply. Now I understand how a flight showed one thing on its track and another in reality and why checking Lat/Long won’t work (though I suspect that if that data were in the right format, it could be used to pick up these situations. At any rate, I now understand what happened and how the system works. Thanks very much for your detailed reply.


That certainly increases the chance of something funny happening, but I can’t see how that would cause what actually happened.


Yeah…it just doesn’t make sense… I know what I actually flew…ya know?.. Thanks for looking into it just the same…