Projected Path Feature


It is known that, due to the nature of the system, it takes about five minutes for aircraft position data to be recieved, processed by FlightAware, and updated in the tracking system. This causes the user to see a slightly less than real time display of information with about a five minute lag between an aircraft’s displayed position and actual position. This applies to both individually tracked flights and the ATC style view of local traffic in the vicinity of an airport.

My suggestion is that FlightAware incorporates a feature, that can be toggled on or off by the user, which projects the path/position of an aircraft about five minutes ahead of the current data based on heading and groundspeed. While this is not a perfect solution, it may allow for a more accurate display of current aircraft position. This is especially true when aircraft are approaching an airport when a five minute delay can mean the difference between vectors on approach and short final.

I’d be interested to hear what other members and FlightAware staff think of this.

  • Chris


That would work for straight lines (most of the enroute flight) but be GROSSLY in accurate whenever the airplane makes a turn, which is what it does a lot of when it is approaching the airport for landing.

So for watching airport activity, which you say you wanted to do, it would be less than worthless and very confusing.


Yes, that’s a valid point. Other possible solutions may include a “path projection” of less than five minutes (perhaps one or two), or an option for the user to select how far into the future to “project a path.” Or, the approach phase of a flight may be easier to visualize if the map included a graphic overlay of the ILS Localizers for an airport. I suppose the truest solution to this problem would be to somehow minimize the lag in the system, however there will likely always be a limitiation in that regard.

(Edit) - And, I read in another post, assuming the information is accurate, that a five minute delay in data is required by the government for public flight tracking. So, I guess that means there will always be at least a five minute lag.


At least until the government get serious about security and stops doing stupid stuff that makes it LOOK like they are doing something, but without actually acomplishing anything. Yeah, that means pretty much forever…


Karl and the mapping team are working on plotting the filed flight route on the map, so that will give you some idea where the plane is headed, but we don’t plan on putting a “5 minutes out” marker on the path.