Pilot cancelled IFR Tracking why?

Im very new to this process, but on Sat May 16th I tracked flight COA1558 from San Diego to IAH Houston. Suddenly, the plane appeared to change course and a message appeared to say the Pilot had terminated IFRFlight tracking.
Why did that happen?

Hi, Julie.

Are you sure about your specifics? COA1558 doesn’t serve San Diego, rather it serves Orange Count (SNA). Also, it doesn’t operate that route on Saturdays.

Either way, that’s not an error message that FlightAware generates. It sounds like you may have been using a less accurate service.



This is the only flight I see for the 16th. The other flights for this number go between SNA and IAH and then to MSP. SNA = John Wayne/Orange County.

no thats not it. I will try to find it for you and post again. My son was on it. Back in a mo

Hi again

I cant see it now, I have all the print outs from the flight, right here in my hand and flight aware is sending me alerts each day the flight makes that journey.
heres the link, typed from the print out

flightaware.com/live/flight/COA1 … /KIAH/tr….

oh hang on did I say 1558? if so sorry.
Anyway, thats the flight, I linked the track with google earth and watched the flight change direction, then got the message about the termination, then panicked…and turned off in fear there had been a crash!!, later when my son txt to say hed landed I went back on and saw the plane had taken a crazy course…need to know why?

The (inaccurate/misleading) error message you’re describing and Google Earth implementation you’re talking about isn’t FlightAware – it’s another web site.

I don’t see anything too unusual about the flight path. It appears that there was some weather in the area and the flight got a couple of holds due to weather or spacing.

Where did the cancellation message come from?

Oh yes, you are correct…I really found it scary

but still, can I ask, since I am new to this, when you look at the route that flight took and the way it seemed to circle, is that normal. Ihad tracked it a few times and never known that happen.

Can you help me make sense of it at all.
Oh and I shant trust the other one in future


Hi 'Julie,

Looking at the track for that flight on the 16th I’d hazard a guess that they performed some holds enroute in order to wait for some bad weather to clear out of the area before landing at IAH. No need for concern.

Yes, the circling can be completely normal and is usually the result of waiting for either weather or traffic to clear out of an area. The circling can be even more pronounced at times, taking the shape of an elongated circle reminiscent of a racetrack and referred to as race-tracking by pilots and controllers. This is very common and very normal, nothing to worry about.

Well I feel so much better…
If only I had known that at the time.
It doesnt feel right to advertise another site on here, but I found it really alarming to watch the flight change course and then have a message on big red text…
You have helped me so much.
Perhaps I wont be so anxious in future.
What does IFR stand for.
Oh and by the way, my son said the flight was a bit bumpy, but otherwise ok. Can I presume that these holds are not circular flight routes? I mean why does it show as a circle.
Sorry to be so naive

oh sorry- you have already answered most of my query

thanks so much, Ive learnt a lot

If you are talking about the flight on the 16th, here’s the correct URL:
flightaware.com/live/flight/COA1 … /KSAN/KIAH

IFR: Instrument Flight Rules
The holds are circular (usually). With great weather, no traffic, etc., the aircraft would fly straight there. But if there’s any bad weather, etc., then the plane needs to circle in the sky - sort of like circling a parking lot until you find a place to park you car.

No need to be sorry - we learn by asking questions.

Thanks to you all

bye for now


DOH! Tell us what you really mean!