Ever wonder where that plane that flies over your house at three o’clock every day is coming from or going to? Yeah, there’s an app for that.
Lee Armstrong is a British computer programmer who wondered the same thing, so he started sprinkling devices on high places around the world that read the signals aircraft automatically send out regularly identifying who they are, where they’re flying to and from, how high they are, and other details.
The result is an app and web site called Planefinder. Click on it, and you’ll see in real time every plane in the sky except in some places where Lee doesn’t have receivers, such as rural parts of Africa or China.
While writing this commentary, I clicked on a plane flying from Australia and found it is Hawaiian Airlines Flight number 452 en route from Sydney to Honolulu. It’s cruising along at 531 miles per hour at 41,000 feet. It’s a two-engine, Airbus 330-200.
After the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the airline didn’t stop using the flight number, so for days, folks sent emails to Armstrong saying, “Hey, I found that plane.”
Sadly, of course, they hadn’t, and Malaysia Airlines soon retired the flight number.