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Thread: Flight numbers change mid flight

  1. #1
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    Flight numbers change mid flight

    Google's Project Loon launched three ballons from their base in Winnemucca, Nevada on January 29, 2018. At 01:42 balloons HBAL 105, 107 and 106 were tracking southeast from the launch site. At 02:36 balloon 105 changed to 147. The registration of N261LB remained the same in the records for 105 and 147 but the Mode S-Code for 105, which was A283B0, changed to A2438E for flight number 147. By 03:06 the other two, 107 and 106 changed their flight numbers to 148 and 149. Was that change done by Google while the balloons were in flight or could that be an issues with Flightradar 24? Thanks!
    FR24 01.jpgFR24 02.jpgFR24 03.jpgFR24 04.jpg

  2. #2
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    Some additional information in the flight history that shows balloon launching as HBAL 105 and subsequent history records identifying it as HBAL 147.
    FR24 021118 0853 re 105 147.JPG

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    Here is another problem. Running a search on flight 149 shows that it took off as flight 077, turned in to flight 106 and then became flight 149.FR24 021218.JPG

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    They constantly reuse HEX codes that have been allocated to Google. So the database unless explicitly and constantly updated every time they change the callsign to that particular hex is only as good as the 'previous data received' lookup that history/database does
    Posts not to be taken as official support representation - Just a helpful uploader who tinkers

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    Many thanks for the info! I have been closely following activity at Google's Winnemucca, Nevada launch base. The data in FR24 was rock solid for September, October and November 2017. In December 2017 it started to get unreliable and January 2018 was even worse than December. So what ever was going on for the first three months was great. It's really become unreliable now.

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    You can see what I have been tracking on this page. And like I mentioned, I was very sure of the data and tracking for the first three months. Since December I really question its accuracy.

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  8. #8
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    Possible they weren't as frequently reused so able to be allocated to 1 particular balloon/mission back then and someone with edit rights did so.

    Same issues in South America where they reuse old transponder codes or don't change when they import them (no official mandate to slap them)
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  9. #9
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    On Oct. 4, 2017 they reserved 100 N numbers. But they didn't do it under the Google name. They used Mathew Mulher's name. Mulher was/is a program manager for Google's Project Loon. All the N numbers end in "LB" which I assume means Loon Balloon. They did use the Googleplex address in Mountain View, CA.

  10. #10
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    I haven't noticed any new instances of Google Loon ballons changing their identifiers in flight but today a balloon launch from Winnemucca, Nevada, USA, had the flight data blocked in Flight Radar 24. The data was available in ADS-B Exchange though to help identify it as a Google balloon.

    20180403 2200 UTC blocked loon.jpg
    Last edited by jackfreer; 2018-04-04 at 02:29.

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