Tracking aircraft with PiAware

As I mentioned in my SDR post, I had planned on setting up my SDR dongle and my Raspberry Pi 2 to listen in on aircraft transponders. I did just that this morning.

I started by following these instructions to clone, build, and install MalcomRobb’s fork of dump1090. After following the instructions (and blacklisting the dongle from being used by the OS), I was able to start seeing aircraft:

Then, following the instructions over at PiAware (starting on step 2), I downloaded, installed, and configured the PiAware application, and linked it to my new FlightAware account.

Within a few minutes, I started to see aircraft in the skies above me show up on my map:

In the screenshot above, you can see the flight track I captured of United Airlines flight 1239, flying from Houston, TX to Vancouver, BC.

Although all of the flights my Pi hears are listed on the right, only aircraft using the new “next-generation” ADS-B transponders will display the latitude and longitude. Otherwise, I just listen in on the Mode S transponder signal.