What flights do I see out my window?


I hope you don’t mind my question. I hope the answers are useful for others too.

I live North and slightly East of Van Nuys Airport (KVNY). I have spent a lot of time trying to reconcile what I see out my window with what I see in Flight Aware. I am not sure if part of the problem is a delay of the information and/or the flights are not shown. When I am at the computer, I look out a window facing West. I can’t see any flights high in the sky that are also nearby.

I think I am too close to the Van Nuys traffic to see it out my window, it probably is nearly above me so I won’t see it indoors. I seldom, and I think never, see traffic headed South. I see that traffic arriving for LAX travels south to approximately Pepperdine (East Malibu) then turns East to approximately downtown Los Angeles then makes a U-turn for LAX. Either the Pepperdine area is too far West for me to see or the traffic is too far high for me to see, probably it is too far. I sure don’t see anywhere near as much traffic as what arrives for LAX, so it can’t be LAX.

I see that FligthAware has an option for location-only flights. I did not know about it and it was off. I turned it on so that might help.

Does FligthAware not show private aircraft? I think that most, probably all, aircraft I see are not small aircraft such as single-engine but I realize there are larger aircraft that are also private. However the aircraft I see do seem to be flying the same route.

Perhaps the aircraft I see are headed for other airports, such as San Diego or perhaps Ontario, but it is difficult for me to reconcile that traffic with what I see also…

If no one can help then the only other options is that either I just don’t figure out what the aircraft are (I will survive) or I get some kind of receiver to receive flight information directly myself. I don’t need to know, I really don’t, but I am curious.


From your location looking west towards Oxnard the LAX arrivals are still above 10,000 feet and would be hard to see.
The small aircraft in the VNY pattern will not show up because they have not been assigned a transponder code other than the standard VFR (visual flight rules) code so the ATC computer will not pick them up.
Westbound Ontario departures are north and too high for your location, arrivals come through the Cajon pass.
Some larger corporate private jets are blocked for security reasons.
There is a variable time delay of up to 6 minutes in the data making it to your computer.
The airline jets you will see are:
LAX departures going out towards Gorman. After takeoff they climb westbound and level off at 9000 feet. Around Pt. Dume ATC turns them northbound passing under the arrivals. About the time they pass the 101 they can once again start climbing.
Burbank arrivals landing on runway 8, they pass over the south end of VNY at 3000 feet. If you look north you might see Burbank arrivals heading towards a landing on runway 15. And finally if you are outside looking east you will see Burbank departures heading north.


The aircraft coming in from the north to LAX (most of them, anyway) are lined up to fly over a little town called Fillmore, which is roughly 40 miles NW of Van Nuys. The jet traffic over Fillmore is descending out of about 20,000 feet, descending to about 10000 when they hit the coastline near Oxnard, and descend eastbound to Santa Monica, then turn in to LAX east of there.

Looking at Fillmore on a map, it is NW of Van Nuys airport, bearing about 300 degrees. (northwest…and why doesn’t Google Maps have a compass rose?) At 20,000 feet and 30 miles away, the aircraft should be about 45 degrees up (I’m guessing). And, fairly small, as Porterjet pointed out, a bit hard to see. If you are compass proficient, look out about 300 degrees. Use binoculars and scan that part of the sky. It might take a little time and practice. They are out there, as you can see on the Flightaware map. (I bet at night you will be able to see the lights of the aircraft from the north very easily.)

Once you find that spot ( over Fillmore descending) you should be able to eyeball the aircraft as they fly toward Oxnard. And once you know where to look, it will be like riding a bicycle, you won’t forget.

Whether or not you can see the aircraft along the shoreline toward Santa Monica, I don’t really know.


Build yourself a PiAware receiver based on the instructions under the ADS-B hyperlink.



You can buy a pre-built kit on Amazon for $150.

amazon.com/FlightAware-Rasp … lightaware



More like 7 degrees (arctan(3.78 / 30))


Ha! Love it.


Thank you. It helps to know that there is a delay and since it is variable it is difficult to do the reconciliation.

Probably I can see them if I go outside but they would be quite East of me.

Runway 8 starts at Vineland between Sherman Way and Vanowen. I grew up very close to there. I can remember seeing Cows in a Dairy at the end of the runway. Go ahead, call me a crazy old man, but I know what I saw. I also know that the Lockheed airport’s (Lockheed Air Terminal’s) control tower burned up once.

When I researched Runway 8 I found a map showing Airway V23. I might misunderstand what that is, but it might be the route the aircraft I am asking about are on.

Oxnard is about 30 miles West. I do see that they do fly over the area of Fillmore. The FligthAware map without layers shows the intersection of the 118 and 23 freeways and they fly over there. They travel SSE, right? So when they get close to the coast they are a little East of Malibu and Fillmore is a little West (and much North) of it.

Thank you, you certainly are more capable of doing the calculations than I am. I probably can see very many aircraft if I get on the roof and use binoculars. Otherwise, I usually do not see as many aircraft as would surely be arriving at LAX.


I have determined that the aircraft are approaching Van Nuys Airport. I have been going on walks and I can clearly see that the aircraft are closer than I thought.