FlightAware Discussions

PlanePlotter to PiAware


I was just informed that FlightAware will be phasing out PlanePlotter support. I have spent a bit of time reading these threads, but no where does it tell me what Windows platform will Piaware run on.

Having been around since Win 3.1 running on 8086 machines, I thought I had enough awareness of things computers, but it seems this is not the case.

Any guidance would be appreciated.


I’m only a user so i can’t tell for sure but my guess: No Windows platform.
(I vaguely remember an answer that there were no plans to introduce feeding from Windows.)

I would recommend an Raspberry Pi.
You can install piaware on a PC (x86) running Linux, but it takes quite a bit more effort to set up.

I’m sure you have already looked at: https://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/build

If you already have a USB stick for receiving ADS-B and an antenna, it shouldn’t be too expensive.

You can still view the local map from your Windows PC (via network), but the receiving and feeding is on the Raspberry Pi.
Also Planeplotter can be set up to get its data from the Raspberry Pi.


So what you are saying is, I need to get some sort of new machine? And new software (Linux)?


I asked the question directly a while ago, “do you plan on a Windows based app?”, the answer was no. So unless you run a Raspberry Pi or fiddle about with Linux distros, there are no options.


The software is easily written on an sd-card and is provided by flightaware.
I would suggest you have a look at the link here: https://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/build

Hardware wise even this should be sufficient:

(If you want cabled networking, a Raspberry Pi 3B+ is more suited than the Zero using WiFi)

Oh and a sd-card reader to write to the sd-card from your windows PC.


I thank you, however in this building, WiFi is out of the question because of theft of service, no matter how complex I make passwords, and this modem does not allow me to restrict or block MAC addresses. So I hope there is a place on that device for an Ethernet card.

Anyway, I will start to assemble parts for that device, and find a space to set it up.

By the way, does that device come with Linux already built in? Or is that something I have to purchase as well?

I thank you for your time and attention.


I also have to ask, will this Piaware use a file such as Basestation.SQL to identify aircraft, or are the 100’s of hours I spent building that file be for naught?


The best option is just to get the Raspberry Pi 3B+ then:

(Include power supply and case)

Then a SD-Card:

A card reader to write the piaware image to the card (if you don’t already have a sd-card reader)

You don’t need to buy Linux, you just follow the instructions here:

You just download the software for free and write it to the sd-card.
Then while in Windows you can configure in a text file for example the IP address if you don’t want automatic IP assignment by the router. You can also set the gain for your dvb-t stick there.

Then you just stick it in the Raspberry Pi and power it on.
Nothing more to it.


You can still use your planeplotter like before. It just gets the data form the piaware running on the Raspberry Pi.
So if that database is a PlanePlotter feature you should be able to just configure this new data source and it should add to the existing database.


Thank you very much for your answers to my many questions. I will save this in order to get that system up and running.


you may want to consider building a Linux Virtual Machine under Windows,
Virtualbox is a good free choice, and install piaware via ADSB project and test it, before committing yourself to purchase new equipment. tutorials are available.


I’m trying to understand the problem.

If PlanePlotter has been supplying data to FlightAware, the users must already have an ADSB receiver and antenna. So they just continue as before viewing output on Planeplotter.

They will not be sending data to FlightAware but individuals will have to decide if that is important (what is the benefit?).

Or am I missing something?


I just assumed the thread starter wanted to know how to feed flightaware.

You are of course correct his software will continue to run just fine in regards to local viewing.


Thanks for that reply - some people may be overthinking the problem, assuming no data in future.

Of course there are some advantages in feeding via Piaware.


Planeplotter is running its own MLAT, yes?

Anyway feeding piaware for the thread starter will also give him MLAT results from flightaware which very well could be better for the USA.
(I’m not sure you can display the MLAT results from FA on a planeplotter though, the software would have to know not to feed the to planeplotter.)


I’m curious, is your receiver a USB dongle or a dedicated box?


PlanePlotter can show MLAT if connected to the PP server (requires approval and correct setup).

And yes, ensuring Piaware MLAT data is not sent to the PP server might be an issue. I think changes in Piaware ports by Oliver was done to fix that.

I use both: PP from a Windows machine with MLAT, and Piaware MLAT from an Orange Pi. Both have good points.


The issue at hand is, that come December 31, 2019, FlightAware will no longer support data from PlanePlotter. So if you wish to continue to feed data to FlightAware, you need a new software and platform other than PlanePlotter. Since PiAware does not work on Windows, you need a new machine with a different OS.

And yes, PlanePlotter does support MLAT, not just to PP, but the same data could be shared with FlightAware.

I just choose not to accept MLAT because it corrupted the databases I had, namely Basestation.sqb with inaccurate or outdated information.

For those unfamiliar, Basestation.sqb is an SQL database of aircraft which, when identified by mode-s address from your receiver, shows aircraft type, registration, and other information on the PlanePlotter screen. If you rely on information from sources like AirFrames.com, you could end up with a lot of outdated or inaccurate information (especially GA types) being fed into your Basestation.sqb.


And yes, I use a plane jane USB receiver with the stock antenna mounted outside at 110 feet agl. I get good range of up to 250 miles, only to the east account this complex was built to withstand thermonuclear attacks. Even the windows retard radio waves.


I have a USB dongle, a homebrew antenna and give data to most of the tracking sites from a dedicated Windoze 10 PC. Although a good thing, I never bothered trying to set-up MLAT.
I have never been a fan of PP, but I stayed with it because I like the FA tracking page I fly a lot).

After receiving the email about FA dropping PP, I decided it was time to try a Pi. :slight_smile:
WOW, amazing how after being assimilated using windoze, I’d forgotten so much command line.
I ordered just a Pi 3B, IMO ADSB doesn’t need the extra CPU speed.

None of this is a complaint, rather trying to help someone that is or considering moving to PiAware.
I’m a hardware guy, I remember just enough Linux to be dangerous, I only followed the online instructions for setting up the SW and PiAware.

I found the instructions for d/l’ing and setting up the SD card inaccurate (confusing?);
***Editing the config file, using a Windoze text editor after the Micro SD card had been formatted for the Pi ? ***Win10 didn’t recognize the MicroSD card, it kept wanting to format the card. I ignored all that and put the card in the Pi.
PiAware 3.6.3 booted and worked as-is, no config changes needed. :slight_smile: and I have MLAT.
All-in-All, I highly recommend moving to a Pi & PiAware and now I have a small PC to dedicate to my 3D Printer.
***UPDATE: Assuming all the instructions were correct, I kept trying to read the micro SD card and after the 4th or 5th insert - pull - reinsert, Windows recognized it. ???Shoulder shrug


In Windows your card will show now 2 partitions.

  1. The boot one - that is formatted with FAT32 and is recognized by Windows. There you can edit the config file manually.
  2. The system one, formatted for Linux usage, not recognized by Windows. Windows it will offer to format it (to “fix” the problem), don’t accept.