FlightAware Discussions

QFA2904 YSSY to Antarctica

There is a flight currently flying YSSY to 7752S16707E and then back to YSSY.

Tracked for about 39 minutes after takeoff and now sat on an “estimated” position that is slowly drifting back to the airport.

In reality, it is still heading towards Antarctica and is not expected back in tracking range for eleven or more hours.

Flight duration is estimated to be 13 hours 58 minutes (soon after take off an erroneous duration of around 4 hours 5 minutes was reported for some time).

Estimated flight duration reduced to 13 hours 57 minutes and then to 13 hours 45 minutes.

The tracking map has a thick green line showing the tracking via ADS-B for the first 39 minutes and then a thin black line supposedly for the rest of the journey made so far.

However, this thin black line is in the form of a very long, thin, V. The point of the V perhaps appears to be traversing the filed flight plan? However, the aircraft icon is shown at the top left of the V. This point is adjacent to the end of the green line where it turns into a thin black line forming the right hand side of the V.

The tracking log reports the aircraft position as “estimated” and drifting slowly back to the airport.

The point of the V forming the black line remains stationary to the East of Tasmania and the aircraft icon (top left of V) has drifted back to the airport, even though the landing is 11 hours away.

The tracklog says it departed at 0821 was tracked twice around 0939 by someone at Sandfly (Sandfly, Tasmania) (YSFY) (78 Minutes into the flight)

These two trackpoints were at approximately the bottom of the V but I cannot see any green track indicating this.

Flightaware provides the Flightplan or Route on this page and copying it into Skyvector plots it thus

It would be nice if the Flightaware plot put the plane somewhere on the flightplan when they had no up-to-date location information. It would be better than putting it in a significantly wrong location as mentioned above.


Yeah, the software that estimates the position seems to fall over when the flight begins and ends at the same airport. Roll on the time when the space-based ADS-B data is publicly available.

I don’t think that is the root of the problem.

I asked a similar question last year Why does Estimated track not follow the lodged Flight Plan route

One day I’ll work out why Skyvector can decode the Flightplan coming in to Australia but Flightaware cannot.

It seem Flightaware can decode all the waypoints on US flights but have no knowledge of waypoints in other, non-US, FIR (Flight Information Region)


An hour ago, the flight duration was reported as 12 hours 50 minutes and the flight should, on that basis, be back in ground-based tracking range within another hour or so.

The flight duration is now reported as 10 hours 41 minutes with an estimated arrival time of half an hour ago. The tracklog has an entry that says “Arrival” (but fails to say it is an estimate) but continues with further entries of estimated position (which are, as previously mentioned, the airport location).

We await the flight coming back into tracking range and the real arrival.

In the recent past a green dot has appeared to the East of Tasmania and the aircraft estimated position is plotted as half way between there and the destination airport.

Shortly after, aircraft is back in full tracking range and proceeding normally. The flight details page continues to report a landing time that is in the past.

Aircraft finally landed. Flight details page now reports the correct landing time and 12 hours 54 minutes duration.

The tracklog page also has the correct landing details and the earlier entry for estimated time of arrival has been removed from view.