You may have heard that at any given time there are thousands planes flying the skies worldwide. But once you're up in the air, you may never see another one of them until you're in the line-up to land, so this quantity may not really hit home unless you see it visually on one map.
Thanks to Flightradar24, you can. The image below shows more than 6,000 planes flying across the world around 2 p.m. (EST) Tuesday.
The website states that it is the largest collection of real-time online aviation statistics that allows users to search for information by flight, aircraft or airport.
As a testament to how fascinating the website is, Flightradar24 reports that each month it gets more than 10 million visitors. Its app has been downloaded more than 2 million times.
The website started as a hobby by "two Swedish aviation geeks" in 2006. By 2009, they opened it up for other volunteers -- yes all the databases are updated by volunteers -- to build a network showing aircraft with an ADS-B transponder. Only 60 percent of aircraft have this technology so even though the map looks crowded now, there is even more in the air than is being recorded by the website:
Today, roughly 60% of all passenger aircraft (70% in Europe, 30% in the US) are equipped with an ADS-B transponder. This percentage is steadily increasing as ADS-B is set to replace radar as the primary surveillance method for controlling aircraft.
You may notice the orange color over the flights in the United States as well. Flightradar24 states the orange represents a five-minute delay in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration's regulations.
This website, in addition to showing the breadth of air traffic and flight patterns, allows for individual flights to be tracked in real-time as well.
(H/T: Daily Mail)