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Do flight tracking sites help learning about accidents?

We have had a number of discussions here where someone crashed, and the only data was from FR24 or other flight tracking.

If it had not been for that, we would have had little or nothing to talk about and learn from.

However, some people are unhappy about the loss of privacy which the tracking sites introduce. Some of them will stop tracking you if you ask them to but most will ignore it.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

There is the inaccuracy of these tracking sites. All they really show is an approximate path until some minutes before the crash. The don’t seem to improve certainty. A tiny little GPS/G-force logger tucked away at some survivable point would probably do a better job.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

LeSving wrote:

There is the inaccuracy of these tracking sites. All they really show is an approximate path until some minutes before the crash. The don’t seem to improve certainty. A tiny little GPS/G-force logger tucked away at some survivable point would probably do a better job.

If the aircraft has ADS-B out, the tracking is very accurate. FR24 accurately shows ADS-B out equipped aircraft taxying.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Airborne_Again wrote:

FR24 accurately shows ADS-B out equipped aircraft taxying

That isn’t very useful in a crash investigation. IMO the problem is always the path of the aircraft in difficult terrain and far away (from people) places. ADS-B would probably be a bit better, but by how much?

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

LeSving wrote:

ADS-B would probably be a bit better, but by how much?

As good as the GPS position accuracy, i.e. very.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Going forward it will only get more accurate.
Also with starlink up and running, I think it will be the medium used to help low cost anti collision systems

Airborne_Again wrote:

As good as the GPS position accuracy, i.e. very.

Only as long as someone picks up the signal, and does so at a reasonable rate. Anyway, there is no mandatory ADS-B in Europe, so it is a moot point. We have Mode-S, at best (not mandatory in Norway for instance). The accuracy, or lack of, will always be the main factor.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

I’m not too sure about ADS-B close to the ground. We track our club aircraft (all ADS-B in/out compliant) and very often the track starts a few hundred feet AGL and also stops before landing and/or gets imprecise. I have no idea why that would be the case, but as I look at our tracks every day, it’s certainly there. We use FlightAware.

172driver wrote:

I’m not too sure about ADS-B close to the ground.

ADS-B is as accurate close to the ground as it is high up. The challenge is that (like any radio signal) the signal range gets smaller close to the ground. So if you don’t have an ads-b reception station at the destination airport, the next station will at some point in time loose the signal.

All flight tracking sites I know do some kind of interpolation if they don’t have real data – what you see as “imprecise” is in reality missing data that is filled by made up data of FlightAware.
The operator of Fligthaware, however, knows which data was actually received and which was made up – and therefore they can clearly mark that when handing over this tracking data to accident investigators…,

Germany

Looking at how many accident threads we have had, and what info FR24 etc has brough to them, I would say they are extremely useful.

Otherwise, you just get some local news (which is usually useless) and a year or two later, after almost everybody has forgotten about it, is the accident report, whose value depends on a lot of things and which is also often useless.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
12 Posts
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