FlightAware Discussions

Saying Hello, Asking Questions About Flight Tracking

My first post was here: http://discussions.flightaware.com/airlines/asiana-boeing-777-crash-lands-at-sfo-airport-closed-t17075.html

I wanted to formally say hello to all of you and do a quick intro. I’ve always loved flight, specifically commercial passenger aviation stuff. I worked on the ground at ORD for quite a long time as a Special Service Agent (entails everything from wheelchairs to baggage to VIP escorts, and anything else you can think of), Gate Agent, Checkpoint and Airfield / Cargo / Hangar Security, and Customer Service. The only thing I haven’t done is to work as a flight crew member or work ATC.

I’ve had some ground school training, but nothing past that. It has been my experience that my fellow aviation workers both active and retired, are wonderful people who I have always enjoyed being around.

I have some questions about how to read the Flight Aware live flight tracking radar:

DAL217 B753
320 446

I know DAL217 is the airline and flight number, and I know the following: B753 is the aircraft, and KDTW KLAS is the originating airport with the destination airport. What is the 320 446 reading? Is that the flight level and knot speed?

My next questions are how to read weather and flight waypoints. What is the best way t learn how to read the following examples and then remember how to read them? I know these are likely some big questions, but ask that you hang in there with me.

KORD 231444Z 03009G18KT 10SM BKN024 BKN029 BKN045 23/17 A2979 RMK AO2 $

2013/07/24 22:54
KORD 242152Z 2422/2524 04009G15KT P6SM SCT045 SCT250
FM251500 16005KT P6SM SCT250


Thanks to all of you for your patience, and know that I look forward to interacting with all of you here.

FlightID Aircraft
Altitude Speed (ground?)
From To

For almost all you want to know about FlightAware see flightaware.com/about/faq

Try this for the METARS, there’s probably a section for the TAF’s too.
As for the waypoints in that route, they wouldn’t mean much to you or me unless you had an en-route chart to find them. That example has too many waypoints in it with no departure SID or arrival STAR, depending on where they were departing from and the destination.
He should have just filed from KORD direct KJFK as an example. Just kidding, they would have never given him a clearance as simple and easy as my example.

Dang, I forgot to include the link.


Thank you for the information, I really appreciate it!

For waypoints, you might want to take a look at skyvector.com and check some of their charts for routes between start and endpoints. You may find most of them there along the way.

According to the FAQ, Flightaware can give the aircraft registration number of an aircraft. However, I have been unable to see this information on ANY aircraft that I’ve tracked. Am I doing something wrong or did I misunderstand the FAQ?

They might be private aircraft that the owner or company has asked Flight Aware to block, or they may be classified military flights which are automatically blocked. Can you give us some more detail?

Thanks for sending me over to Skyvector, what a fun and educational site! I kinda think I’ve figured out how to use it, but still need to decode the waypoint codes since Skyvector only gives the GPS data when you place the cursor over each waypoint.

FlightAware gives decoded information only as far as statistical data for the specific flight. Each of these pieces of data has wonderful uses when combined with Skyvector. I’m starting to come up with some ideas for combining all of this data for each flight and each flight plan tracked. I still have to get it all thought out, and then write it all down.

When you are looking at a flight on FlightAware you can copy the filed route (ie EAONE SPA J14 GSO FAK J51 OTT RBV J42 BOS) and then paste it into Skyvector.com to show the route on the chart type of your choice.

On Skyvector.com just click on the “Flight Plan” link on the top left of the chart and paste your FlightAware route and then click “Add”. Voila!

Most all of the major airlines…I see the flight number, but I dont see the aircraft reg. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place.

You can track general aviation by tail number since that’s the flight identifier they operate with. flightaware.com/live/flight/N2144V is an example

You can also track many airliners by tail number. flightaware.com/live/flight/N27901 is an example.

To see airliners tail number on a flight page for an airline flight number, you need to be an enterprise subscriber.

You can just look up the flight via the FAA flight plans filed for the day. All of the A/C information is public, so don’t worry about even needing to subscribe. You can easily circumvent all of that by doing a simple search online.

Where can you look that up list with airline flight number and aircraft tail number?

I would like to know this as well, I have searched all over and haven’t been able to find that info anywhere…