FlightAware Discussions

PiAware with a touchscreen

Hello from FlightAware Headquarters in Houston, Texas!

Over the weekend we put together something we’ve been discussing around the office: A PiAware with a 7" touchscreen.

Parts List:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TC2BK1X/ref=twister_B07TN34PCN?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1 4GB

Assembly was pretty straightforward. This page was helpful when it came to connecting the touchscreen and the Pi: https://www.instructables.com/id/Raspberry-Pi-Touchscreen-Setup/

There’s a few reasons we decided to do this project. First, it’s cool to have sitting on the end of your desk. I’ve had a few people drop by and check it out.

Second, we’d like to make configuring your PiAware easier. The team is looking at putting together a Desktop image that comes with PiAware and pre-installed programs that makes editing config files a thing of the past.

Finally, we can only send out so many free FlightFeeders. We are often asked by applicants if they can buy one because they don’t have the technical skills or time to build a PiAware. Selling FlightFeeders presents its own problems, so we are considering making a pre-built PiAware with a touchscreen similar to the above available via Amazon.

We’d love to hear what you think about this idea. Would you be interested in anything I’ve outlined?


As I mentioned on your Facebook post - I love it!

I’d often thought about doing something similar (ie the Pi and the screen) and feeding it direct from my feeder Pi (site 8312). Only real downside for us Aussies is the $$ (blame the crappy exchange rate!) For example the case blows out from approx AU$38 off the Amazon US site to $52 on the Amazon AU site - and that’s not including shipping.

There is probably alternatives avialable cheaper, just would require some investigation.

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Amazon.com will ship to Australia for

Price: AUD 38.48 + AUD 10.09 shipping
You Save: AUD 7.70 (17%)

Only 4 left in stock - order soon.

This item ships to Malvern East, Australia. Get it by Friday, March 20 Choose this date at checkout. Learn more

Amazon in AU prices are just crazy.

I think it’s great. A couple of suggestions:

  1. For this touchscreen setup, include an onscreen toggle in the settings which lets someone put the unit into “carrying mode”. This would be for enthusiasts to take it out with them on a portable power source, to airports or airshows. The unit continues to display what it sees but it’s not sending that data to FlightAware because the location and elevation is obviously changing. When they get back they can put it back into “home mode” and feeding resumes.

  2. More generally, make the SkyAware screen more mobile / touchscreen / tablet friendly. At the moment the zooming and scrolling around the interface is a bit awkward; you have to find a bit of the display that’s not the map to grab onto, and it’s possible to lose it and become difficult to move between the aircraft details and the map view. Detecting the browser User-Agent or having a toggle for the touchscreen and a standard mobile-friendly interface would be a great plus.


@chrislfa those are some great ideas. Thank you!


I have this built and running but other than the ability to SSH into it to start things up i can’t take advantage of the on screen keyboard or start in a GUI environment in order to launch the on screen keyboard. raspi-config allows me to change the boot options to a desktop environment but entering user and password there just runs off and comes back to the logon screen.

Could you offer some pointers or a link or two to an old Windows guy so i can get the Skyaware screen running like in your example?

thanks, Paul


^ What Paul said, I’m trying to figure it out myself right now.


Sorry I didn’t respond earlier, I’m actually on vacation this week and currently off the coast of the Baja Peninsula.

I’ll be honest, I cheated a bit and use a wireless keyboard and mouse combo to do most of the initial config. I had to remove the SDR in order to use them.

Once everything was installed I set the home screen in Chromium to then on boot it’s easy to open the browser and go full screen.

I’ll be in Cabo tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be able to post photos of the prototype tomorrow in some place scenic!


Have a good vaca and maybe you’ll see whales :smiley:

I’ve been playing with this and trying to make it work, but I seem to be running into the same issue as two of the above posters regarding getting into the GUI. Not sure where I’m going wrong. Would you mind posting some more detailed instructions on how you installed and set up everything?



Sorry about the difficulties. I should have responded earlier, but things have been a bit busy!

Lets start with some specifics. I used the full desktop version of Raspbian. You can get that here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/

I used Etcher to put that on an SD card and then assembled everything.

I connected a keyboard and mouse to the device so I could do the scripted PiAware install here: https://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/install

How’s that? Helpful? Happy to answer any questions.

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Thanks! Yes, between your extra details and a little additional searching I was able to get it to work. Appreciate the clarification.

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