FlightAware Discussions

Unusual MLAT aircraft

For the last few days I have been tracking a number of MLAT aircraft.

Note that the table has the entry in italics

The ICAO number does not appear to be valid.

The RSSI for all these suspect aircraft is -49.5 when most aircraft disappear at about -22 dBFS.

At various times I have seen the same or similar aircraft on each of the three Piaware receivers I have running.

I can see no evidence of any of these aircraft on any other reporting site I have looked at such as Planefinder or Flightradar24 or indeed Flightaware.

This has only been happening for about a week.

How can I tell if they are real aircraft?

Any idea why I am now seeing what appears to be an anomalous report?



Edited as the pictures did not upload correctly.

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See this thread:
(FlightAware MLAT Network Announcement)

Either some private folks or government who don’t want their flight tracked.

Based on the flight path looks like a government patrol flight by the water border.
Or maybe a very secretive sights seeing tour.

Airframes org says that: ICAO24-address E51E45 is from Brazil…
Check the news if there had been a politician from Brazil that had visited Australia.

Italicized addresses are not ICAO, they’re an anonymized address or a TIS-B track-file number. Trying to interpret them as an ICAO 24-bit address isn’t going to yield anything useful.

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Thanks for the link, I don’t recall seeing that message.

That explains the anonymized ICAO number.

However that email from @dbaker was from August 2016 and these are the first time I have seen them and I spend a lot of time looking at the Skyview screens.

I see aircraft in Skyview that are not shown in Flightaware.com because they have asked to remain private but these are the first that have been unidentifiable in Skyview. Why haven’t I been seeing it for the private aircraft for the last two years>

Police and Ambulance helicopters are still plainly visible. The Police are mode-S only and tracked by MLAT. There aren’t any other govmnt aircraft flying around here that I know of but enquiries are being made.

That is not a border; it is a beach on Port Phillip Bay which is wholly surrounded by the state of Victoria AU. The Maritime exclusion zone is 200NM off the southern coast. The only time Maritime Surveilance comes anywhere near this end of Australia is for the Avalon International Air Show in January.

Speed shows 38 Kt so it is either a very small/light plane or a helicopter and I am certain the a visiting Brazilian politician would travel all that way in something a bit more appropriate. :smiley:

There is no TIS-B in Australia and if anyone is interested here is an Air Services (Australian equivalent of FAA) description of ADS-B implementation.

That seems to leave aircraft with privacy as the source but it doesn’t explain why I have only now started to see it nor why no-one else has commented on it.

If it becomes more widespread I’ll endeavour to visually identify the aircraft and work it out from there.


Ok, so it was a leisure flight, sight seeing, by a special forces helicopter, loaded with politicians :grin:

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People have commented on it, the thread i linked has quite a few pages i believe. (Also has probably been linked a number of times)

Anyway it’s not something i see often. For me it is mostly private jets who don’t have ADS-B or maybe some jets who chose to switch off ADS-B for privacy (not sure if that is allowed even and how long it will be).

Nothing’s changed recently in terms of how this works. Basically, any aircraft that would show up as blocked on the FlightAware website (either because it’s on the FAA BARR list - which, confusingly, is not limited to US-registered aircraft - or because the owner has directly requested that FA blocks it) will still produce mlat results, but the aircraft address is anonymized in those results.

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Thanks for the explanation.

Nothing has changed at you end and nothing has changed here for the last six months but this anonymizing has just become apparent this week.

I’ll work it out eventually.



Do the Vic goverment operate shark patrols over the beaches?