Who's right?

Good Morning,

Can anyone tell me why, sometimes, Flight Aware shows a departure time and even emails me a notification for specific flights, when Flight Tracking programs such as Plane Finder and Flightradar24.com both show the flight still on the ground, either still at the gate or taxiing? Who do I believe?



Can you provide examples?

In general I’d say FlightAware since we’re using ATC or airline data instead of user contributed ADS, but we do occasionally see mistaken departures.

Sometimes an event in the system called a “false start” will occur, where an airborne aircraft will squawk a discreet code assigned by the system (the FAA flight plan system) to another aircraft on the ground. When the ground based interrogator sees the beacon code, it automatically sends a departure message throughout the system to affected sectors and positions, which activates the flight plan. Usually, controllers recognize the event and take steps to rectify. There are some other ways the system can generate a false start, but this, while rare, seems to be the most common.

If Flight Aware is using this data source and automatically sending information on the flights, then occasionally a false start departure message may be sent to subscribers.


You have any kind of reference or source for your “false start” scenario? I don’t think its possible for an airborne aircraft to start a track and send a departure message for a different aircraft on the ground.


It happens when the wrong transponder code is entered.

I didn’t read Mycle’s post very closely, it looks like.

Yes, aircraft rarely squawk the wrong code and get tagged up as the wrong aircraft. The controller will fix this as soon as possible.

Hi Guys

It can’t always be sombody elses fault when some of the errors are so blatent.

Take this example, 14 March 2013, Flight UAE35 from OMDB to EGNT. Departure time, according to Emirates timetable is 03:40UTC actual departure time as observed by me on FlightRadar24 was 04:33UTC. Flight aware sent me a departure alert of 04:24UTC which was close, it was in the zone but still 9 minutes difference. Then I received another alert headed ‘flight information has changed’ telling me that UAE35 had actually departed at 03:48UTC a full 36 minutes earlier than the first alert and 45 minutes ahead of the observed departure time seen on Flight Radar24.

I am trying to research and collate data for my thesis as part of my Phd in Statistical Analysis and I really do need to have accurate data or my submission will be shut down in flames, if I were not so far in I would probably change my subject matter from aviation to railways time-keeping.

This is not in any way intended as a flame on FlightAware or anyone associated with FlightAware. it is a frustrated cry for help. The example I have given is not an isolated one, its happening all too frequently and I don’t understand why, with all the technology and resources available today, FlightAware is publishing data that is so blatently wrong.



We’re looking into the source of the departure time for that flight.