This is the tenth in our series showcasing the Google earth plugin. Today we are looking at FlightRadar24, a website that shows live air traffic around the world.
FlightRadar24 uses a number of different data sources to track aircraft. One of the main sources, ADS-B, requires special equipment on board the aircraft as well as detectors on the ground. Only about 65% of commercial passenger aircraft have the necessary equipment, so do not expect to see all air traffic on the map. To learn more about how it works, see their ‘How it works’ page.
The main interface uses Google Maps. To see the Google Earth plugin in action, select an aircraft, then click the ‘3D’ button on the left hand side of the screen below the picture of the aircraft. The ‘3D’ button opens ‘Cockpit View’, which uses the Google Earth plugin to show the view from the aircraft. It includes a basic instrument panel and will also display the locations of any other aircraft in the vicinity. It can also show a model aircraft, although it is a generic gray model that does not correspond to the specific aircraft you are tracking.
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Coming in to land, Vancouver, Canada.
Most of the time, aircraft will be flying too high to see much of Google Earth’s 3D imagery. Even if you pick an aircraft that is landing, you may find it is flying too fast to load all the 3D imagery before you have gone past. We also discovered that the positioning is not always accurate, as the aircraft we tracked missed the runway by over a hundred metres.
You will need to have the Google Earth plugin installed, a browser that supports it, and in most cases, you will have to allow the plugin to run on the flightradar24.com site.
Several times we experienced glitches with the graphics, we think because the view is constantly moving and the Google Earth plugin can’t keep up. Reloading the page usually fixed it, however.
About Timothy Whitehead
Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
Raymond Bond says
I have been using Flight Radar 24 for over a year but recently I cannot get cockpit view from the 3D button. It just tells me to download Google Earth plug in which I have done but it still doesnt work. I am then told you already have Google Earth plug in.What can I do.
Timothy Whitehead says
Browsers are making it harder to use the plugin. If you are using 32 bit Chrome check this post:
Hi gents ,had same problem but it has been made an unsupported site . Way round is go to chrome://flags/#enable-npapi when you bring it up it will give you the option to enable . Enable it and it worked for me using chrome even if I have adblock on
thank you very much Kenny you just made my day.Have been trying for ages to try to fix this problem
Cheers ,Happy Radar24 user
I tried Kenny’s suggestion but he does not mention what we are suppose to “enable”. I went to the link and, since I did not find any other option, I just enable “chrome extension” but that did not solve the 3D issue. The flightradar24 site still says I need to install google earth plugin.
Timothy Whitehead says
As of Chrome version 45, released circa 1st September, Chrome longer supports NPAPI at all.
Antonio have lost mine as well .Dont know if Timothy knows a way of getting it back
You can get it on firefox still . You have to download google earth plug in then go into add ons then to plug ins and click “always activate” on the Google earth plug in
Here is the new message coming when you ask for 3D, using whatever browser, chrome or firfefox…
“Google have discontinued support for the Google Earth plugin. We know how popular the 3D view is with our users, so we’ve been working hard on getting a new and improved 3D experience ready. Watch this space, or keep an eye on our blog”.
Is anyone using this facility again in any way ?
Same here, but i read in a website,more advanced 3D view will be back in early 2016.I am waiting for that.
Heikki Kinnen says
The new 3D view that Flightradar introduced is actually really cool and works well. I suppose it was a good decision to abandon the Google Earth plugin and work around the issue. I think the new engine uses OpenGL as the platform.
Great feature that actually works very well!