A beginner’s guide to flight tracking

By Giancarlo Fiorella, for Bellingcat

"Flight tracking is an accessible and useful tool for open source investigators. Being able to track the movements of aircraft belonging to powerful individuals and armed forces can add important details to stories, or even uncover entire new narratives. There are several commercial and hobby websites that allow us to do just that.

ADS-B Exchange (adsbexchange.com)

ADS-B Exchange is a passion project run by hobbyists for hobbyists. For this reason, there are no paid tier subscriptions on the page. Instead, all the data that the platform receives is made available for free to all users. The website also prides itself in not removing flight information unless it is compelled to do so by a legal order, and in that event, it claims that it would to post a notice to users alerting them to the removal of the flight(s).

ADS-B Exchange is also great for tracking military and police aircraft (although not every single one of them, mind you), making it a particularly useful tool for live-monitoring geopolitical flashpoints and breaking news events. The website’s live map (found in the “Global Radar View” tab on the main page) offers a handy “Filter” feature that allows you to display only military aircraft:

https://017qndpynh-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ADSBMilitary-300x139.jpg 300w, https://017qndpynh-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/... 768w" alt="" width="1200" height="556" src="https://017qndpynh-flywheel.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ADSBMilitary-1200x556.jpg" />

To filter the map to display only military aircraft, click the “Menu” button on the top left of the live traffic map. Then, click the “Filters” tab. Select “Military” from the drop-down menu, and then click “Enable Filters”. Seen here, a United States Air Force Lockheed C-130H Hercules over the eastern Mediterranean

Note: ADS-B Exchange also used to have free historical flight data but was forced to suspend the feature until further notice on October 6 2019 due to financial reasons.

Paid Subscription: None." Quotes from Stop fake.org


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