Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

Look, it’s a plane

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I’m not really much into product endorsement, though doing so is important and helpful (but many of us, including myself, just don’t take the time), though there is this little phone app I’ve discovered that has been so interesting I decided to share.

It is called “Planes Live” (as in “live, up-to-the-moment look at plane traffic,” not, “The plane lives, it’s alive!”).

You probably know about tracking a specific flight to figure out when Aunt Maude will arrive at the airport.

Planes Live, however, also allows you to look at a map showing aircraft in flight and, when you select one, it gives information such as type of plane, its tail number, who owns it, and it’s trip origin and destination. For example, flying over us just now is a Boeing 737-700, belonging to Alaska Airlines, number N461AS, en route from Philadelphia to Seattle on flight AS17.

Click for more information and I learn it left PHL at 5:29 p.m., 29 minutes behind schedule, and is scheduled to arrive in SEA at 7:39 p.m. It is cruising at 36,000 feet at 459 mph. It also gives heading and position, among other information.

Why do I need to know that? I don’t; it’s just fun.

The real pleasure is, for example, when we’re sitting outside and see contrails high overhead. I click on the app, zoom in on our area and find the plane and its information.

The other day, I did that and saw on the radar another flight on a similar bearing (I should have checked to see the difference in altitude), looked up for a couple of seconds and there it appeared.

I have the free version of Planes Live, so I have to click off advertising fairly often, but all this information comes with it.

There are probably other similar apps out there. If you know of one, please share.

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