Thousands of people use Plane Finder on a daily basis to monitor worldwide air traffic, but many are still unaware that it’s also possible to replay that same data for historical flights. In fact, Plane Finder has been recording ADS-B data for use in playback since April 2011. Not only that, but we also provide free and unlimited access to it via our website!

Flight Tracking in Belgium
The Washington Post used Plane Finder playback data to generate the above infographic.

Making the most of Plane Finder playback

You can access planefinder.net‘s playback feature by selecting the “Playback” button at the top right-hand side of our website. After that it’s as simple as selecting a date and time and hitting play. Playback works just like a video player – allowing you to pause and adjust playback speed at any time you’d like.

There are also a number of alternate ways to access playback data:

  • If you’re looking to playback a specific flight you can search for the flight number on planefinder.net and we’ll provide you with a list of its most recent flights for quick and easy playback.
  • Or you can search for a specific aircraft in our extensive Aviation Database.

Playback on-the-go

In September 2014 Plane Finder’s mobile application became the first iOS application to offer unlimited playback of air traffic data. Just like playback on our website the feature is free and offers unlimited playback of data all the way back to April 2011. We worked hard to ensure the experience was intuitive on mobile devices, allowing users to speed up or slowdown playback with the swipe of a finger. Why not download our iOS application and give it a try?

Flight Tracking Playback
The strangely hypnotic playback feature in Plane Finder for iOS

Playback of Noteable Events

When we receive reports of a notable event, or if we detect that an aircraft is squawking 7700, we will endeavour to capture playback data and present it for our users as part of our Event Report system.

The Event Report system provides a full and transparent picture of the data our systems collect. We highlight areas of lost coverage as well as speed and altitude changes over time, and provide all of the information as a .csv download completely free of charge.

To keep an eye out for new reports we recommend you follow us on Twitter.

We hope you found this article helpful. We're a small team of enthusiasts dedicated to making live plane tracking available to everyone at the touch of a button. If you'd like to find out more why not try out one of our apps for your Android or iOS device?

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