Planes in Flight in Google Earth (revisited)

Planes in Flight Flying in Google Earth screenshotIt is becoming something of a passion for some, looking at the high resolution satellite and aerial photography to find a shot of an aircraft in flight somewhere on the Earth. As previously reported here and here people at the Google Earth Community have been collecting the locations of pictures of planes captured in flight in the Google Earth data.
The folks at the GEC have been creating a database which is being updated daily, and until recently you had to go to the main post and re-download the KMZ file to get the latest updates. Now, my friend Valery up in Russia has created a network link for the plane collections including the airplanes in flights, airports, locations of DC3s, and locations of Starships. He has also put train/rail-related collections as well. Once you download the network link, move it to your “My Places” folder for safe keeping. Then, click on the “Transportation” folder to see what it contains. Click on the folder you want to examine and explore. I recommend the “Air->All Aircraft in Flight”. You will be amazed at the dozens of planes in flight people have found. Double click on the placemarks to get a close-up view of these planes.
One thing you may notice is that some of the planes have a “ghost”. This is not a shadow, but is in fact an artifact of satellite imagery and the fact that planes are in motion. You can read an explanation here. A tip: when you are done looking at all the placemarks you can select the main folder with the right mouse button and choose “Hide Contents” to deselect all the placemarks. Then click on the folder “triangle” to open/close the folder.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.


  1. Guess you have to have an account to login to the keyhole BBS? I have wondered what those colored “shadows” were from. 🙂

  2. Huh? I’m not sure what you’re talking about. There is no “account” required to see the GE (formerly called Keyhole) database. The free Google Earth can see the entire dataset.

  3. geographer91 says

    I got the free google earth and the entire database is amazing cheers!!!

  4. I’ve checked out Google earth but the views where from a couple of years ago, and there is no clear vision at all for North of Scotland. Will this be getting changed, I have downloaded the free version but am reluctant to subscribe without knowing more.
    Anyone got any answers for me Please

  5. The data you see in the free version is the best Google currently makes available. Buying the GE Plus or Pro versions will not let you see more satellite data.

  6. john cox says

    i like looking at planes in flight

  7. i like looking at people in flight, but they are harder to find

  8. how old are the images on google earth?

  9. Have a look at:
    52°13’2.76″N, 5°36’59.90″E

  10. blackadder says

    take a look at this 50°3’6.04” N, 8°36’59.85” E

  11. Hey! That last location is interesting……. four aircraft shadows but only three aircraft? Hmmmmm, must be the new ‘stealth’ Airbus? ;o)

  12. Not in flight, but take a look here at 32°09’11.24″N, 110°51’58.30″E. Or more strictly, to the northeast and east of the southern tip of the runway…

  13. This one seems to be a B737 landing at J. Newery Airpark, Buenos Aires City, on rwy. 31:
    34 33 54.22 S
    58 24 17.89 W

  14. If you look around over the Nazca Lines in Peru, you’ll find at least 2 little planes (and their corrsponding shadows on the ground), that’s all I found earlier today anyway … sorry, finding a plane ‘in the way’ when you’re looking for something else is well, kinda cool, but I don’t get as charged up about it as you do, apparently. I agree with the commenter who said that flying people would be cooler, but they’re harder to find … haven’t found any of those yet.

  15. Gabor Nagy says

    I`ve just found an interesting location 50° 3’6.04″N, 8°36’59.85″E. Now I realize that I am not the first one to feel that this is weird!
    1) 4 shadows in a row for only 3 aircrafts
    2) for the 2 shadows from the west there are no corresponding aircrafts as shadows lie north-north-east from objects as evidenced by any object on Frankfurt Airport, or, much nicer, in Frankfurt City!!!
    3) except from an airshow, can anyone think of 3 Lufthansa 747s separated by mere 4-500 meters (meaning 3-5 seconds)from each other??? Is it one single plane captured somehow thrice by the satellite?

  16. Hi Gabor, the 3 planes and 4 shadows from Frankfurt airport were discovered in March 2006 – shortly after the image update of that month. You are right, it is a single airplane. An aircraft taking the aerial photos happened to be flying in the same direction and took the four pictures as the airliner was taking off. In one of the photos, only the shadow was captured.
    See this thread:

  17. how old are the images on google earth?

  18. Don’t know whether this little aircraft over Ludwigsburg, Germany was already spotted: 48°53’44.65″N 9°11’21.31″E
    I didn’t find a shodow, though 🙂

  19. how do you make it look like a movie while you are flying? please reply.

  20. Walter Ochs says

    Here are some interesting ones: Helicopters near Las Vegas @ 36°14’39.64″N 115° 1’52.01″W , A giant Rabbit @ 44°14’38.97″N 7°46’10.58″E

  21. I go fishing in the beautiful Exuma Island chain in the Bahamas. I use Google Earth to spot potential dive sites. There are several wrecks that I fish regularly, and a few sunken planes too.
    I was looking if the wreck of a Haitian sloop was visible, – I didn’t find that – but I did spot this light aircraft seemingly incoming to either Leaf Cay or Blackpoint – or maybe even Staniel Cay itself where I am based.
    The lat long of the plane I spotted is:
    Is this a new one?

  22. I found this one while looking at cutovers in Newfoundland, The cutovers are to the north, I was following the highway down just looking at random things.
    48°59’23.98″N, 56°02’27.55″W

  23. A small aircraft in flight at 43°03’23.42″N 88°15’18.92″W, and a shadow-only landing at 32°55’01.23″N 97°01’34.77″W.

  24. Nice site, I found one airplance a year a go but it’s not there anymore, 25°09’11.42″N 12°18’10.28″W could it be because of the google updates?

  25. Take a look at 43°30’56.81″ N and 6°56’15.93″ E (in France)…I guess this is a two engine Cessna.

  26. @Gabriel: Looks like a new find. I’ve reported it for you at the GEC.

  27. Ulli Ziegenfuß says

    49°25’06.39″N 7°39’56.93″E
    What plane is it?

  28. I have found and Airbus A380 right next to london, heathrow in flight.

  29. 35°20’23.00″N 97°20’44.87″W From nearby Tinker AFB.

  30. i found a plane in 3d at Manaus Eduardo Gomes International Airport copy and paste Manaus Eduardo Gomes International Airport and put in search and look for a 3d plane

  31. i found a plane thats green and is probaly being built not in flight but cool at 51°28’20.00″N 0°25’58.43″W

  32. i found a plane at 51°28’27.19″N 0°25’47.55″W is it flying?

  33. I found a shadow of a plane landing at Dallas airport but dont see a plane.
    32.55’2.61 N 97.1’33.29 W on runway 17C.
    Any answers?

  34. one near sicly at 38°15’11.63″N 15°37’55.77″E

  35. Lordlugworm says

    51°32’40.99″N 2°52’16.37″w
    another light aircraft flying. uk wales

  36. Helicopter in flight at:
    30° 23.827’N 81° 25.815’W

  37. Jerry Simmons says

    Found another – just west of Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam – 10°42’1.37″N, 106°45’7.69″E.

  38. What are your thoughts – It’s gotta be a plane right?!
    51°21’16.76″N 1°20’29.66″W

  39. -17.960496,145.922985 plane and ghost

  40. Here’s another one, with rainbow ghost:
    42.669133, 23.151659

  41. Chavdar Karapanchev says

    See at Lat:42.668760° Lon: 23.151383°

  42. David Hansen says

    Excellent shot of jet over fairlawn, nj
    40.93140, -74.11370

  43. Regarding Brian’s input from October 5, 2009: The green “aircraft” at 51°28’20.00″N 0°25’58.43″W at London’s Heathrow Airport, is a “mix/mockup” of a 747/DC10, that the firebrigade at EGLL use to train in and around, putting out fires.

  44. Amazingly clear shot of a commercial jet over Russell Square, London.
    51°31’21.11 N 0°7’33.88 W

  45. At 41°52’47.71″N 87°59’12.40″W and American Airlines MD-80 is lining up for final approach to Chicago O’Hare Int’l RWY 4R. Based on cross-referencing FAA approch plates ( I estimate that it’s at an altitude of ~2200′ MSL

  46. Same location as above, but a dofferent view, showing the imaging artifacts.
    It looks like a formation flight, but we know better

  47. I have found an aircraft on GE It is almost exactly 2miles directly West of Porto Colom Majorca (Spanish terretory)Has this been reported before. There is also a perculiar shadow.

  48. An A340-600 is leaving Istanbul;

  49. I saw planes in flight refueling over my home in CT. I was wondering if anyone can tell me anything about this. I couldn’t get a pic but I know what I saw. I could actually see the fuel line connecting the planes. This was Sun. evening July 10,2011

  50. Nicolas Kolosy says

    Found 2 twin-engines planes captured in flight.
    First one in France near Rodez: 44°32’29.94″N 2°14’25.62″E
    Secondone in Syria near Damascus: 33°23’37.98″N 36°33’38.18″E

  51. 35 10′ 43.25″ N
    80 42′ 36.85″ W
    Above a Charlotte, NC trailer park, seems to be a commuter plane. Blurred with separation of colors.

  52. Glider
    46°18’19.87″N, 7°03’26.62″E

  53. Vista Del Cerro, Phoenix, AZ 85028
    Looks like 5 images of the same US Airways plane over a Phoenix suburb and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

  54. check out this two engined jet with flying at high altitude on its way across the big pond
    53.416055, -10.192394

  55. Hey have a look at this bright one in Norther Ontario

  56. I was looking at houses. Came across this plane in the yard… 😉
    No direct link to the map. Go to the link, scroll down to the map. click on “satellite”, then click on the “+” to zoom in… I love the rainbows coming off the plane, which looks like it’s parked in the backyard…

  57. There is one plane in Bogotá Colombia

  58. Another jet aproaching to el dorado at Bogotá

  59. Well, Take a look at
    14.599531, 121.040783 (3/26/2007)
    40.771086, -74.005853 (4/30/2008)

  60. 41.852011, -121.479389
    Mid air refueling with a C-5 and a KC-135R

  61. Excuse me, may i ask how did you do the ° thing? I cant find it in my keyboard?

  62. I was looking for a street in North London and found this!,jpg

PLEASE NOTE: Google Earth Blog is no longer writing regular posts. As a result, we are not accepting new comments or questions about Google Earth. If you have a question, use the official Google Earth and Maps Forums or the Google Earth Community Forums.