FlightAware Discussions

lack of accuracy of site.

Who runs this site?? Does anyone have these problems that I’m going to mention? I been using this site for about a year maybe a little more and been disappointed because lack of accuracy on flights (both arrivals and departures). I know its a few minutes off but when a flight doesn’t even arrive and/or depart (a Gulfstream G200 is supposed to come in at noon and I get there at 11:30 and time goes by and its 12:35 nothing yet or it says it landed and took off when i am there. It must be invisible???) or the time is way way off (30+ minutes off sometimes a little less) like a Gulfstream G2 was suppose to come in at eleven and get there at 10:30 and the plane is ready to take off and wasn’t supposed to take off for another hour and a half. Or have already departed. And quite often there’s a odd mixture of numbers and letters of an airport (I.E. 88888888888766.09 or qqqqqqqqqqqq7890.89) but doesn’t give a location. And a plane is taking off and there no record of it taking off until the next day or not at all. And last problem is a plane comes in and doesn’t say its coming in at all or says it 6 to 12 hours later. Why are times WAY OFF AND/OR MISLEADING ALL THE TIME? And I look quite a few times a day on here. All I’m saying make the arrivals and departures more accurate. Does anyone have these problems?

I don’t have answers to all of your problems so I will take a general stab at it. Yes, the site is off by a few minutes, that is mandated by the US government.
The string of numbers… 88888888888766.09 or qqqqqqqqqqqq7890.89 is a latitude/longitude position entered by the ATC computer for an already airborne airplane that is just now entering the ATC system. You see that instead of a VOR, airport or intersection because that is how the ATC computer thinks. As far as times go you mention several bizjets, the ETD is what the pilot filed his/her flight plan for based on what the boss said yesterday. Sometimes the boss is late, sometimes early but not enough to warrant a whole new flight plan. Other bad data has several reasons, sometimes the tower enters a departure message based on a takeoff clearance being issued but the aircraft aborts the takeoff and goes back to the FBO to retrieve a lost briefcase (or something similar). Sometimes a new departure message is sent, sometimes not. Sometimes the controller enters 1135 instead of 1153. Sometimes bizjets show up VFR which means they are not on a flight plan and therefore not here, or they are blocked per the owners request.
Finally flight aware uses data supplied by FAA, NAV Canada etc. so bad data in, bad data out.
I hope that helps, if not request your money back!!

Towers do not issue Departure Messages… A Departure Message is an automated process.

The IFR aircraft departs, the radar facility picks up the transponder code issued to the aircraft. When the aircraft data tag is displayed, that is when the 'Departure Message" is sent out. Pretty much everything associated with IFR departures and arrivals is an automated process.

Mr.Porterjet has it nailed. The National Airspace System is very complex. A couple of dozen Air Traffic Centers, even more approach controls, a few hundred control towers. There are military facilities and interfaces with international users. And all the different types of user: domestic and foreign air carrier, general aviation, military flights. I could go on.

The fact that Flight Aware works as well as it does is a real tribute to the developers. But, stuff happens in the flying world every day…a lot of it.

Newman: Because the mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming. There’s never a letup, It’s relentless. Every day it piles up more and more, but the more you get out, the more it keeps coming. And then the bar code reader breaks. And then it’s Publisher’s Clearinghouse day.

Careful. You’ll get labeled as a troublemaker for comments like that.

Lol, at least I learned something today. Now I know why the tower holds onto departures until they tag up.

Please report these type of discrepancies using the “Report inaccurate information” link that’s available on every flight page. We do read these and try to resolve issues when they are fixable.

That being said, some inaccuracy may be attributed to our coverage area. In some cases we estimate positions and departure/arrival times due to coverage limitations.