Flight Explorer Personal Edition is an Internet-based flight-tracking tool that runs under Windows that allows the user to obtain information about commercial, passenger, and private flights. All flights utilizing IFR (instrument flight rules) submit a flight plan to one of the regional ARTCCs (air route traffic control centers), this information becomes part of the FAA supplied datastream that is used by Flight Explorer. Aircraft flying via VFR (visible flight rules) are not part of the datastream, however no VFR flights allowed in a Class A airspace, above 18,000 ft., and contrailing is virtually never seen at these altitudes. Military flights are filtered from the datastream by the FAA for security reasons. The filtering algorithm used removes flights that don't include a number, which reportedly may filter some foreign jets. The documentation says that Canadian flights specifically are not filtered and observation shows dozens of other international flights are also present. Also some flights are marked as blocked which means that the identifying information is hidden, however the altitude, aircraft type and other information are still available.
Houston, TX 1/20/01 5:57-6:07pm: Example Flight Explorer Display. Red indicates greater than 27,000 ft, Orange are lower altitude, and Blue have landed.
USA 4/4/01 7:50pm: Example Flight Explorer Display and Legend.
SE USA 4/4/01 7:50pm: Example Flight Explorer Display.
4/4/01 7:50pm: Sample Detail for Flight COA-1472.
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