Why can I not see SouthWest flights?

Is there a reason that I cannot pickup flights from Southwest Airlines?

I can physically see the SWA flights flying over but my system does not seem to see the for some reason? Does SWA not transmit in ADS-B?

Many of their planes do, but they emit only the flight number (e.g., 123) rather than the full icao ident (e.g., SWA123). Do you see some number-only flights?

The only Southwest aircraft that are currently transmitting full ADS-B data are their -800’s and the former Airtran -700’s that were repainted and now look like any other Southwest -700.

As for their original -300’s, -700’s, and the few remaining -500’s - I can see their ICAO hex code, speed and altitude data as it is received by Dump1090, but that’s about it. Virtual Radar Server will decode the ICAO code down to the reg. number for me, but I can’t actually see them on the VRS map as they aren’t transmitting their coordinates/position data.

FlightRadar24 makes use of MLAT data to more/less show them accurately on a map, but it’s not always perfect. FlightAware should be able to do the same thing soon. While that may be a little off as well, anything is closer than five-minute delayed FAA data.


Many of their planes definitely do…I was near KMDW the other day looking at my internal VRS display, and saw several of their planes overhead and on the scope simultaneously. As noted above, the callsigns are flight numbers only.

this won’t be a problem…in 2020 =p