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Watching a Plane

Feeding Data to FlightAware, FlightRadar24 & ADSBExchange (and get free premium accounts)

Overview

If you have an interest in aviation then you can get access to free premium accounts from both FlightAware & FlightRadar24 if you provide data into their networks. FlightAware will provide you with an Enterprise Account and FlightRadar24 will provide you with a Business account.

There is a small initial outlay to do this, but the cost is relatively low even compared to 1 years subscription to one of these services.

Probably the easiest way of doing this is to use a Raspberry Pi. You can easily buy these online these days for fairly cheap.

You can also use a Linux or Mac computer (Windows appears to no longer be supported) with a free USB port for the required dongle.

These instructions are going to assume you are using a Raspberry Pi though.

Requirements

Sign up for accounts at both flightaware.com and flightradar24.com. Make sure you remember your login details!

You will need the following information (specifically for MLAT calculations)

  • Your antennas longitude
  • Your antennas latitude
  • Your antennas height above sea level

To find your longitude and latitude you can use Google Maps. Simply find your location on the map and click on that location. As an example I’ve chosen a random location within Western Australia and you can see the longitude and latitude at the bottom

To find your antennas height above sea level, find the height above sea level using https://freemaptools.com/elevation-finder.htm. Enter the co-ordinates you have found from Google Maps.

Add the estimated height of the antenna from the ground to this value to get the height above sea level. MLAT calculations require a level of accuracy, so please try and get this as accurate as possible.

Installation

FlightAware

Log into the terminal on your Raspberry Pi and run the following commands:-

sudo dpkg -i piaware-repository_3.8.1_all.deb
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install piaware
sudo piaware-config allow-auto-updates yes
sudo piaware-config allow-manual-updates yes
sudo apt-get install dump1090-fa

Once this is complete, after a few minutes the data should start being sent to FlightAware. You can check this by using the following link https://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/claim to claim your feeder.

Then to view your data feeder statistics you can click on https://flightaware.com/adsb/stats/user/<username> You will need to replace <username> with your FlightAware username.

More than likely you will only have one site defined, if so click on the “cog wheel” (settings) to the right of the site name.

Use the “Edit Location” and “Edit Height” to enter your location and height. Make sure you select “I know my antenna’s elevation above sea level (advanced)” with the calculation you performed earlier.

Once you have entered those details, you can click on “Send”. This will send the updated details back to your Raspberry Pi. Allow a minute or so for this to happen.

Once everything is configured then you should see all three indicators in the green:-

You should also be able to view a map with the aircraft being actively tracked. To do this click on the following link (View live data):-

Paragraph. this will redirect you to the PiAware software installed on your Raspberry Pi.

View of flights being tracked by your ADSB receiver

FlightRadar24

The following instructions assume you have already installed FlightAware as we will re-use some of the utilities already installed as part of FlightAware.

Run the following command:-

sudo bash -c "$(wget -O - http://repo.feed.flightradar24.com/install_fr24_rpi.sh)"

This should result in an output like the following:-

--2020-07-19 04:13:07--  http://repo.feed.flightradar24.com/install_fr24_rpi.sh
Resolving repo.feed.flightradar24.com (repo.feed.flightradar24.com)... 52.216.143.46, 2600:1fa0:80c4:a048:34d8:ab15::
Connecting to repo.feed.flightradar24.com (repo.feed.flightradar24.com)|52.216.143.46|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 1284 (1.3K) [text/x-sh]
Saving to: ‘STDOUT’

-                                        100%[================================================================================>]   1.25K  --.-KB/s    in 0s

2020-07-19 04:13:07 (39.1 MB/s) - written to stdout [1284/1284]

Hit:1 http://archive.raspberrypi.org/debian buster InRelease
Hit:2 http://repo.feed.flightradar24.com flightradar24 InRelease
Hit:3 http://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/files/packages buster InRelease
Hit:4 http://raspbian.raspberrypi.org/raspbian buster InRelease
Reading package lists... Done
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
dirmngr is already the newest version (2.2.12-1+rpi1+deb10u1).
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 17 not upgraded.
Executing: /tmp/apt-key-gpghome.8QT8ge5Oob/gpg.1.sh --recv-key --keyserver pool.sks-keyservers.net C969F07840C430F5
gpg: key C969F07840C430F5: "Flightradar24 <support@fr24.com>" not changed
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:              unchanged: 1
Hit:1 http://raspbian.raspberrypi.org/raspbian buster InRelease
Hit:2 http://archive.raspberrypi.org/debian buster InRelease
Hit:3 http://flightaware.com/adsb/piaware/files/packages buster InRelease
Hit:4 http://repo.feed.flightradar24.com flightradar24 InRelease
Reading package lists... Done
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
fr24feed is already the newest version (1.0.25-3).
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 17 not upgraded.
______  _  _         _      _                    _              _____    ___
|  ___|| |(_)       | |    | |                  | |            / __  \  /   |
| |_   | | _   __ _ | |__  | |_  _ __  __ _   __| |  __ _  _ __`' / /' / /| |
|  _|  | || | / _` || '_ \ | __|| '__|/ _` | / _` | / _` || '__| / /  / /_| |
| |    | || || (_| || | | || |_ | |  | (_| || (_| || (_| || |  ./ /___\___  |
\_|    |_||_| \__, ||_| |_| \__||_|   \__,_| \__,_| \__,_||_|  \_____/    |_/
               __/ |
              |___/
[main][i]FR24 Feeder/Decoder
[main][i]Version: 1.0.25-3/generic
[main][i]Built on Apr  8 2020 07:06:55 (HEAD-5e8ef0c.git/Linux/static_armel)
[main][i]Running on: raspbian10
[main][i]Local IP(s): ***.***.***.***
[main][i]Copyright 2012-2020 Flightradar24 AB
[main][i]https://www.flightradar24.com
[main][i]DNS mode: PING

Welcome to the FR24 Decoder/Feeder sign up wizard!

Before you continue please make sure that:

 1 - Your ADS-B receiver is connected to this computer or is accessible over network
 2 - You know your antenna's latitude/longitude up to 4 decimal points and the altitude in feet
 3 - You have a working email address that will be used to contact you
 4 - fr24feed service is stopped. If not, please run: sudo systemctl stop fr24feed

To terminate - press Ctrl+C at any point

You will need to enter your username for FlightRadar24

Step 1.1 - Enter your email address (username@domain.tld)
$:*****@*********.***.**

You will be prompted to enter a data sharing key if you already have one. If not simply leave it blank. If you do, then enter it here.

Step 1.2 - If you used to feed FR24 with ADS-B data before, enter your sharing key.
If you don't remember your sharing key, you can find it in your account on the website under "My data sharing".
https://www.flightradar24.com/account/data-sharing

Otherwise leave this field empty and continue.
$:*****************************

Verifying sharing key...OK

Enter your location and height settings for MLAT

Step 1.3 - Would you like to participate in MLAT calculations? (yes/no)$:yes

IMPORTANT: For MLAT calculations the antenna's location should be entered very precise!

Step 3.A - Enter antenna's latitude (DD.DDDD)
$:-**.****

Step 3.B - Enter antenna's longitude (DDD.DDDD)
$:***.****

Step 3.C - Enter antenna's altitude above the sea level (in feet)
$:***

Using latitude: -**.****, longitude: ***.****, altitude: ***ft above sea level

Reuse the software already installed as part of FlightAware (dump1090-fa)

We have detected that you already have a dump1090 instance running. We can therefore automatically configure the FR24 feeder to use existing receiver configuration, or you can manually configure all the parameters.

Would you like to use autoconfig (*yes*/no)$:yes

Complete the setup

Step 6 - Please select desired logfile mode:
 0 -  Disabled
 1 -  48 hour, 24h rotation
 2 -  72 hour, 24h rotation
Select logfile mode (0-2)$:1

Saving settings to /etc/fr24feed.ini...OK
Settings saved, please run "sudo systemctl restart fr24feed" to use new configuration.
Installation and configuration completed!

Restart fr24feed

sudo systemctl restart fr24feed

You should now be able to go the FlightRadar24 website and access your statistics (it might take a little time for aircraft stats to feed through).

It is likely that you will have automatically been upgraded to a business account (however it might take a little bit of time).

ADSBExchange

In the interest of keeping the data you provide openly available and not just provided to commercial sites. I suggest you also send the data to ADSBExchange.

The following instructions assume you have already installed FlightAware as we will re-use some of the utilities already installed as part of FlightAware.

sudo bash -c "$(wget -nv -O - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/adsbxchange/adsb-exchange/master/install.sh)"

Continue the setup process entering the location and height details you have determined earlier. You will end up with the following. Note it can take some time to complete.

Then run the following commands:-

cd /home/pi
git clone https://github.com/adsbxchange/adsbexchange-stats.git
cd adsbexchange-stats
chmod +x install.sh
sudo ./install.sh

As part of the output of this you will be provided with a unique ID. You can use this to view your data on the ADSBExchange website

#####################################
********-****-****-****-************
#####################################
https://www.adsbexchange.com/api/feeders/?feed=********-****-****-****-************
#####################################

References

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