FlightAware Discussions

"What's near my TOWER?" Arduino project

Decided to make this simple display that uses an ESP32 to get ADSBexchange data - it then figures out which aircraft is near my TOWER … NO SOLDERING REQUIRED!

Here’s the display sequence over a 30-second loop …

Here’s the inside view …

If you’re interested in building one, the program, STL files and instructions are now on github …


Under what conditions is text displayed on the screen? Distance, Direction?

This looks like a fun project, are these the correct parts:

Yes - the 100mm & 200mm cables are currently backordered in the US but the 50mm version should be long enough and there’s room to store the excess length of the 500mm version.

The program downloads any aircraft within the user-defined search distance and Lat/Lon point and displays the total count of aircraft for 3 seconds followed by the 3 pages of aircraft data for the nearest aircraft (each page is displayed for 7 seconds). Then the process repeats by downloading new aircraft data.

The first 6 screenshots represent the program loop.

The ESP32 also has a LiPo battery charger onboard so you can add a 1000mAh battery to make your tower 100% wireless. You should get +12 hours of use as the tower draws about 70mA mainly due to the three LEDs for the display.


I made two more of these for relatives who are pilots and one of them requested dimming functionality at nighttime. The first pass at that involves dimming the display when there are no aircraft detected in the search area - this version is under the dev branch of github. Here’s the before/after comparison …


My first nmTOWER replica …

and the real one …

image - Fort Worth Alliance Tower (KAFW)

The design has four pieces that stack together (no glue) - the lower cone/base, the catwalk, the electronics/windows cup, and the upper cone with window panes.