Ever wonder what that plane is you see flying over your backyard? Just ask Siri.
I’m not sure if this is new or simply “new to me”, but it seems that if the mood strikes you, you can ask Siri what flights are overhead from your current location or a named location (e.g. “Siri, what airplanes are flying over New York City”).
If you ask you’ll get:
- Flight number
- Angle from your location
- Distance; and
- Aircraft type
There’s also a “Sky Map” that plots the aircraft visually. Pretty neat!
The information is provided to Siri via Wolfram Alpha, but it appears the source of the data itself is provided by Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), one of the key technologies powering the FAA’s Next-Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), who’s aim is to “guide and track aircraft more precisely on more direct routes. NextGen efficiency enhances safety, reduces delays, saves fuel and reduces aircraft exhaust emissions.”
From what I understand the information is only available within the US because the FAA is the source of the data, but let me know if you get it to work elsewhere in the world.
NB: If anyone’s wondering what the heck is Atlantic Southeast Airlines, it’s now called ExpressJet post-merger and is one of the regional airlines that operates as American Eagle, Delta Connection or United Express.