I just looked myself up on Flightaware.
It doesn’t show the last two flights (Shoreham to Cambridge and back, which FR24 shows) but shows one from Shoreham to La Rochelle (but not the return one). The curious thing is the note at the bottom
Sure enough the two Cambridge flights had no flight plan, but the other La Rochelle one obviously did.
I don’t know about flight plans being available to FlightAware in the US, but I can see my own flights there if I ask for Flight Following (not the same!), but not if I don’t. They must have some sort of back door access.
In the US they have access to radar data via the FAA’s Aircraft Situation Display to Industry (ASDI) programme.
I went to Wikipedia merely to get a link to put on here and I noticed that it claims that ASDI optionally provides UK coverage. I was very surprised by that. Where is the FAA getting UK data from and why? It appears that this information is indeed correct (see the PDF link at the end) but the data is only supposed to go to “approved recipients” (air carriers and aircraft operators in Europe). It looks like this may be the source of flight plan information that FlightAware is using.
You can block the display of your own data here:
Some historical background information here:
FAA Notice on ASDI
PDF providing a lot of detail of the ASDI data feed
Interesting indeed. You need to own an aircraft to qualify…
However, any number of people can get access to Eurocontrol flight plans. Basically anybody inside any agency which offers flight plan filing can check for a flight plan, given the aircraft reg and the rough date/time. However, access to flight plans that exist purely on the AFTN (“G” plans) is more complicated since there is no central database (well, there is, all AFTN messages get copied to it, but only S&R, ATC, police and various security agencies can access it).
Also however, there is a way to use the AFPEX tool to query flight plans. I read about the procedure somewhere but never bothered to try it. AFPEX gives you only AFTN access so there must be gateways into the Eurocontrol database from that.
How do you query AFPEX for flight plans?