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  • Contrail spotting.

    Since I found Flightradar24 about a month ago I have been contrail spotting. I am lucky enough to live where two flight paths cross over South Devon. Every cloudless day we have had contrails so it has been fairly easy to see flights as far as 60 miles away (yesterday saw two Air Transat flights that far away). Today has been 25% cloud but absolutely no contrails all day, making for very difficult spotting; especially as the radar tracks can be up to 10 miles out.
    It is a nice way of passing time sitting in my armchair with the kettle well within reach.
    One question; Which is the correct flight reporting number ? Is it the number shown on the map plot, or is it the flight number given at the left panel ?

  • #2
    Thursday 2nd May 2013;
    Good spotting today, several notable aircraft;
    OY-JTH B737 Jet Time A/w Flight LS231 LBA - BCN Timed Torbay 08.18 BST
    SE-RFS B767 TUIfly Flight TOM44J MAN _ ? 12.13
    F-GYAR A321 Air Mediteranee BIE9063 DUB -- ? 12.37
    F-RADA A310 French Air Force CTM1071 TLS -- ? 12 42
    EI-RJF RJ85 City Jet BCY513 PUF -- ? 14.15
    G-ZBAB A320 Monarch ZB7592 LBA --ACE 14.52 New to register
    G-TAWR B737 Thonpson A/w BY5342 MAN -- FUE 16.54 New to register.

    Regards, Tony.

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    • #3
      Saturday 4th May:
      Vueling A320 EC-LUN New to register, Flight VY1240 CWL to ALC

      Tuesday 7th May;
      Fairly clear sky between 10.15 and 17.00.
      Air Europa B738 EC-LUT new to register, Flight UX294. BPS to PMI
      Sunwing Airways (Thompson) B738 C-FZLR Flight BY3219 ALC to MME

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      • #4
        Just back from 3 week holiday in Spain. Located 20 miles South of ALC with perfect views of landing A/c and some evenings plenty of contrails. The variety of airlines was astounding, especially Russian/East European. Thanks to Fr24 I copped 140 during the three weeks - there were other things to do on holiday! Soon to move out there permanently.

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        • #5
          Where abouts in Spain where you staying?

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          • #6
            Hi Steve,
            We stayed in Guardamar del Segura, it is on the coast 20 miles South of Alicante, 7 miles North of Torrevieca.. We have bought an apartment and are hoping to move out there permanently in September. The apartment overlooks the Segura river and has a clear view of the aircraft landing at ALC.
            Today has been a wonderful spotting day; clear skies. Spotted 65 aircraft, all transatlantic traffic routed over South Devon, very unusual, they normally go out over South Wales. Notable today was CS-TMT Flight BAF633 an A333 of the Belgian Air Force going West at 12.00 BST(Exeter).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Tony15 View Post
              Spotted 65 aircraft, all transatlantic traffic routed over South Devon, very unusual, they normally go out over South Wales.
              That was because today's Westbound North Atlantic tracks were anchored way down towards the South, as shown below.

              A SOMAX 49/20 48/30 47/40 45/50 VODOR RAFIN
              B BEDRA 48/20 47/30 46/40 44/50 BOBTU JAROM
              C OMOKO 48/15 47/20 46/30 45/40 43/50 42/60 DOVEY
              D ETIKI 47/15 46/20 45/30 44/40 42/50 41/60 JOBOC
              E SEPAL 46/15 45/20 44/30 43/40 41/50 40/60 SLATN
              F 42/40 39/50 36/60 BALOO JIMAC
              G 40/40 37/50 34/60 LAZEY BALTN

              You can find out in advance what the Eastbound and Westbound tracks are via this link. The Westbound track message normally appears around 2100z on the previous day

              https://www.notams.faa.gov/common/nat.html

              The track structure depends on many things. That's why the tracks change from day to day.

              The Sage

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              • #8
                that is a good spot to be there, I am about 8miles inland at Catral. How high is the apartment prob make a good ads-b station there. Shame the Santa Pola headland is in the way, otherwise you could get ground traffic at ALC, something that is missing at the moment.

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                • #9
                  To Sage of Milton; Thanks for your reply but I am afraid that I don't understand the figures. I just look out of my window and trust to luck about what flies over.
                  Hi Steve, I know Catral, we can just about see it from the flat. We are on the second floor of a four story block. I have thought of getting an ads-b outfit to try to overcome the many blind spots on the ALC approach. There will be other priorities when we first get out there, maybe I will get one for Christmas! As you say the Santa Pola "Massive" gets in the way of seeing ground movements and take-offs and would probably be the same for ads-b because I could not get it high enough and there are taller blocks of flats to the immediate North of us.
                  Regards, Tony.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tony15 View Post
                    One question; Which is the correct flight reporting number ? Is it the number shown on the map plot, or is it the flight number given at the left panel ?
                    Tony,
                    Sorry I missed this earlier question. There are usually two numbers associated with each flight. The number you see on the map is the callsign and the one you see on the aircraft info panel lower down is the flight number. In general the flight number is assigned and utilised by the airlines, the callsign by ATC and there are also alternative callsigns, usually indicated on the info panel but it get's somewhat confusing if you happen to be trying to listen for an alternative callsign that wont be used by ATC. That said, if you listen to ATC you wont hear, for example, 'British Airways 123' as they use the ATC callsign prefix 'Speedbird' so it would be 'Speedbird123' in this example. Many airlines throughout the world use this method and it can be confusing to listen to until you get used to it. Here in Australia 'Virgin' recently changed their ATC callsign prefix to 'Velocity' just to confuse us further. (ATC is Air Trafic Control).
                    Just to confuse the issue further there are 'codeshare' arrangements between airlines where an airline will use their aircraft for a flight (or part thereof) for another or a number of airlines.

                    Hope this helps,
                    Regatds,
                    Gregg
                    Last edited by fungus; 2013-07-02, 03:17.
                    YSSY2/T-YSSY4 [SBS-1 Basestation w/- SSE-1090 SJ Mk2 Antenna (Thanks Delcomp) ] [Uniden UBCD996T w/- 16 element Wideband Discone VHF/UHF Antenna, and tuned 108MHz-137MHz Airband Antenna] [Trialing a home-brew 1090MHz collinear antenna]

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Greg for your comprehensive reply. In logging flights I usually use the flight number. I haven't got as far as listening in to ATC. Years ago when I worked at LHR I had an early scanner but "ATC speak" can be hard to follow until you can learn the jargon. I was a licenced aircraft ground engineer with BOAC/BA in a past life, now long retired and enjoying the "passing scene".

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                      • #12
                        lol i should have read your profile as I assumed you were 15. I will let you take me for a coffee on Guardamar prom next time your over.
                        I ndid 20yrs at LHR before moving on and my neighbour is an ex BA engineer as well. He is of similar age to you so you may well know him..well maybe a tag younger.

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                        • #13
                          Hi Steve,
                          No, the 15 tag is my flat number, not my age! I am a young 72, retired now for 22 years. I would like to meet up sometime although I am handicapped by not having a driving licence, the doctor stopped me driving 15 years ago (heart problems). hope to be in Guardamar permanently from September.
                          Regards, Tony.

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                          • #14
                            No probs Tony, we can sort it out when you get here,.

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                            • #15
                              I am surprised that no-one else seems to be a contrail spotter, either that or else they are shy! I am stuck about 30 miles from Exeter airport with no means of getting there so I am forced to watch overflights in conjunction with Fr24. It is a very pleasant way of passing time (I am retired). The last few days have seen cloudless skies which should be good for spotting but you soon realise that the seeming clear sky is anything but clear. There is a high level thin cloud or pollution that hides the aircraft from view and during the hot spell the aircraft are not leaving contrails. It is very frustrating but I will keep hoping for better spotting weather.

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