Why is this not done in the UK?


There are no technical reasons why this kind of flight tracking could not be done in the UK. That I am can think of (my reasoning being that if its done and works in US then it can work in the UK)

Are there any other reasons. i.e - nobody got round to it yet or legal reasons etc

I’d just love to see it done


Legal reasons, and more than likely the same reasons why ATC can’t be streamed in the UK. Google for the British Telephony Act of 1949. Pretty much it states the following:

It is illegal to provide air traffic control feeds from within the U.K. due to an antiquated law that dates back to 1942.

The antiquated law states that although it is not illegal to sell, buy or own a scanning receiver in the U.K., it must only be used to listen to transmissions meant to be broadcast to the general public.

OFCOM has stated on numerous occasions: “It is an offence to listen to any other radio services unless you are authorised by a designated person to do so.”

This means that it is illegal to listen to anything other than general reception transmissions unless you are either a licensed user of the frequencies in question or have been specifically authorized to do so by an authorized person.

Flight tracking could qualify as that, as this would be a ‘feed’ of some sort. There are petitions to reverse this out in the world, as well as complaints to OFCOM about it. But if something like FlightAware can be done (read: legal), then you would have to have some law saying that the tracking of flights or flight information is/must be made available to the public in some sort of fashion, as you, the public, are paying for it. So it will be up to you to find that out.

If you do, and can provide that, I’m sure that the people working at FA would figure out a way to show it.



The UK data can’t be redistributed to users who don’t own and operate aircraft and pay landing and air traffic control fees in the UK.


Thankyou :slight_smile:

I see now, its two areas - one is the legal side and the second is only being able to give UK data to people who own aircraft and pay the fees.

I think on the latter point there is a scope for some kind of deal. I’m sure they have a price.

Thankyou for the interesting information on the legal areas. I only knew that it was that funny law that states you can own the equipment but just don’t use it. Didn’t know it dates back to 1942 (must have been a move during WW2 to make sure nobody was overhearing secret information in a time of war)

Even though its nearly 70 years ago and nobody has got round to repealing this law, I feel a little more confident now that i know its not written in the Magna Carta or something! :smiley:

One day maybe, one day…


Nah, it’s because you’re in the Highlands ya’ Scottish git! :laughing:


From what I’ve read, it’s completely okay for you to take your scanner to the airport and listen in, but is illegal to replay the scan you’re listening in on, because only the people the transmission is for should be the ones using it.

However, there is a petition out there to repeal the law (It was renewed in 2000something). Here’s the link:

gopetition.com/petitions/lis … feeds.html