Plain and radarspotting, or I'm sick with aviation

    I am sick with aviation. Yes, that's exactly the way it is. My laptop contains a bunch of manuals for various airplanes from Boeing and Airbus, radio sharing aids, and aviation films. In addition to all this, I listen to the air range using a portable radio station (which, incidentally, does not have the ability to transmit at these frequencies, just listen!). And plus everything, I regularly, once or twice a month, get to the Sheremetyevo airport and take pictures of the planes approaching for landing. In this post I will tell you how I got to such a life. Maybe one of you, dear readers, will also get sick with aviation.
    Who cares - I ask for a cat.


    It so happened that I live in relative proximity to the Sheremetyevo Airport, and more precisely, in the city of Lobnya. I remember how, in my childhood, when I heard the rumble of turbines, I ran out into the courtyard and looked with my eyes in the sky for a source. And finding, he watched. Over time, I lost interest in this matter. Well, the plane flies and flies, which is already there. But, once flying, I again fell ill with aviation and, I think, for a long time.
    The first time I flew on a small Czech Airlines Airbus. He sat down in a chair, stuffed a backpack under the seat in front, and began to look out the window. It was no less interesting. After all, the entire infrastructure of the airport is hidden behind a three-meter concrete fence. It turned out that, in addition to airplanes, a lot more were snooping around the airfield: trucks with the inscription “Aeromar”, small Chevrolet Niva, buses, cars, about one and a half meters high, and others that I could only guess about their purpose. An airplane flew in the background, and after a couple of seconds he appeared above the forest, rapidly gaining height and removing the landing gear. A little preflight briefing distracted me from observing all this. Flight attendants showed where emergency exits are located, how to fasten belts and how to put on an oxygen mask (I really like the phrase “breathe normally”). But then the sound of “ding” was heard and the well-known “Fasten your seatbelts” sign lit up. The stewardesses walked around the cabin, checking to see if all the passengers had buckled on or if they were especially brave who did not want to do this. The plane began to move. For some reason, backwards. He trembled and drove slowly. I thought: “Wow insulation! No engines are heard at all. ” But here we are. A moment of silence and the rumble of engines burst into our ears, but we still stood. The buzz intensified and the plane rolled. However, this was not yet a take-off. The plane was driving to the runway. After a few minutes, we turned 180 degrees and stopped. A few minutes later, the stewardess announced over the speakerphone, "Our plane is ready to take off." I saw that the woman sitting across the aisle from me sneakily crossed herself. And now the roar of engines intensified many times and the aircraft began to take off. The speed was increasing, and suddenly I felt that my body was pressed into a chair, and saw how rapidly the earth was moving away. That's it, I flew. It was unforgettable!
    Well,% habrauser%, did you feel aboard? Then welcome to the cruising level, we continue our flight!

    Plainspotting or just spotting

    What is spotting ? Spotting (from the word spot - to observe) is a kind of hobby in which people (spotters) observe planes. There are two varieties of spotting: plane spotting and radar spotting. I will talk about the second form a bit later. I definitely advise you to visit the largest and oldest playspot site
    The best shots are usually obtained from the runway, and this is logical. But for this you need to somehow get into the airport. Below will be described how to do it.
    Outside the airport, the best photos are taken near the glide path. Glissade- This is such a part of the trajectory of the aircraft, on which there is a direct decline before landing. The plane on it is already moving very low and therefore it is easier to take it off. If you take "Sheremetyevo", then the glide path passes approximately at this point . It is interesting to be at this point, because the planes fly overhead, but it is not particularly suitable for photographing. It’s better to walk a few tens of meters in the direction of Aeroexpress. They can be seen from this point. Then you can get these shots:

    This is the Airbus A320.

    And this is Falcon Aviation Services Embraer ERJ-135BJ Legacy 600.

    Boeing 737. He followed from Rostov-on-Don to Moscow.

    This is all, of course, hurt, but can not be compared to spotting inside the airport. And this fall, my dream came true! I got to such an event. And, moreover, it’s very simple: all I did was fill in time and send the questionnaire. And when he saw his name on the list of accredited, he jumped to the ceiling. And I'm not joking.
    So why is it so cool? It’s enough to see such a picture.

    This is real beauty! Such an iron bird sits ten meters away from you ... Where else can this be photographed?
    Here are a couple of images from the autumn spotting at Sheremetyevo.

    A321 removes the chassis after takeoff. Flight - AF 1145, Paris.

    And there are traffic jams at the airport. :)


    For starters - a small screenshot of the website.

    Yes, these are real airplanes. Their position changes in real time. That's exactly how many planes are currently in the air over Europe and the central part of Russia.
    The map shows the position of all vessels equipped with an ADS-B transmitter.
    ADS-B - Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast. This is such a hardware and software system that is now installed in almost every aircraft and transmits information about the coordinates, speed, flight level (altitude), heading, ICAO airplane code and aircraft identification code (squawk).
    There are two operating modes for ADS-B transmitters.
    • Mode-a. Broadcast frequency - 1030 MHz. The altitude, squawk and ICAO code of the aircraft are transmitted. But the coordinates are not transmitted.
    • Mode-S. The frequency is also 1030 MHz. But a different type of data transfer is used. In this mode, the coordinates of the vessel are also transmitted.

    This is just the second mode that we are most interested in. Just because of the coordinates. Otherwise, what is the use of knowing the speed of the ship and not knowing where it is? Yes, no.
    Excellent. The plane transmits this data. But how do we get them? And here it’s just that simple and there’s no need to go anywhere. It is enough to go to the site, for example, and see everything with your own eyes. This site, by the way, has official clients for Android and iOS.
    It is enough to open this site in a browser to get shocked by how many planes are currently in the air.
    Note that not all planes are the same. Some more and some less. In addition to the map, you can still view information about the aircraft. Just click on an airplane and its route appears on the map (the color of the trajectory changes depending on the flight altitude), as well as the following data.
    1. Airline Name
    2. Flight number
    3. Point of departure
    4. Destination point
    5. Type of aircraft
    6. Aircraft number
    7. Flight altitude
    8. Vertical speed
    9. Horizontal speed
    10. Hexadecimal code
    11. Responder Code (squawk code)
    12. Current coordinates
    13. The current radar in which the vessel is located
    14. Cockpit view

    Cockpit View is a very interesting option. She downloads the Google Earth plugin and displays on it what would be the view from the cockpit. But, unfortunately, this option only works under Windows and Mac OS X. It looks like this:

    Taken from

    An attentive reader will ask: “Tell me, author, how does the site receive signals from ADS-B transmitters?”
    And with the help of ADS-B receivers, a respected attentive reader. And you can buy absolutely without problems on ibey and similar sites. But, to be honest, I would not recommend taking them, because such dongles are expensive and narrowly targeted. And here at the end of the summer there were two wonderful articles on TV tuners with a wide reception range. With the help of such pieces you can watch football and listen to your favorite song on the radio and receive an ADS-B signal.

    Such tuners use a bunch of Realtek RTL2832U + Elonics E4000. According to information slipping on the Internet, the E4000 is no longer produced. Therefore, a similar configuration appeared Realtek RTL2832U + R820T, working no worse than the first. In order to receive data from ADS-B transmitters, we need two utilities - gnuradio and gr-air-modes.
    After purchasing the receiver and the correct software tincture, you can get the following picture:

    Author, why do you need a radio station?

    As I wrote at the very beginning, I live next to the Sheremetyevo AP. And there are a huge number of stations. My favorite is Sheremetyevo Start / Landing (Sheremetyevo - Precision), broadcasting on two frequencies - 120.7 MHz and 131.5 MHz.
    After listening to her, you understand how intense the air movement is and what nervous work the dispatchers have.
    You can hear the following:
    -Nordwind 1563, take 25 left.
    -I'm taking 25 left. I cross 25 right. Nordwind 1563.
    - Ready to take off. Nordwind 1563.
    -Nordwind 1563, I authorize take-off.

    -Nordwind 1563, dial 25 grandfather eco.
    -I'm picking up a grandfather 25 eco. Nordwind 1563.

    -Nordwind 1563, work with the Moscow approach at 129.8 MHz.
    -I understood you. Thank you bye. Happy New Year. Nordwind 1563.
    Thank you, too.
    -Thank you.

    Description of the Sheremetyevo Airport, with all frequencies, can be found here - .
    And all frequencies can be heard online in real time here - .
    And I need a radio station, because I do not always have Internet access, but I always want to listen.

    And I heard that you can get the exact weather ... Is that so?

    Yes it is. There are two such things - METAR and TAF.
    METAR , (METeorological Aerodrome Report) - a meteorological code for the transmission of actual weather reports at the aerodrome. This code contains data on wind speed and direction, visibility, atmospheric phenomena, cloud cover, air temperature, dew point, atmospheric pressure, plus the status of the runway. Updated once every 30 minutes.
    TAF - Terminal Aerodrome Forecast - forecast for 24 hours or less. Valid for the 8 km zone around the airport.

    You can get METAR and TAF codes from the Ubuntu Linux command line if you install the metar application from the repository.
    And then type in terminal
    metar UUEE

    Here UUEE is the airport code of Sheremetyevo. The output of the application will be something like this:
    UUEE 292300Z 29006MPS 9999 OVC011 M05/M07 Q1014 NOSIG RMK 25420227 75450527

    I do not know who can understand this. Well, except for the pilots and controllers. Therefore, we should run the application with the -d switch. And the METAR code will be automatically decrypted and presented in this form:
    UUEE 292300Z 29006MPS 9999 OVC011 M05/M07 Q1014 NOSIG RMK 25420227 75450527
    Station       : UUEE
    Day           : 29
    Time          : 23:00 UTC
    Wind direction: 0 (N)
    Wind speed    : 0 
    Wind gust     : 0 
    Visibility    : 9999 M
    Temperature   : -5 C
    Dewpoint      : -7 C
    Pressure      : 1014 hPa
    Clouds        : OVC at 1100 ft
    Phenomena     : 

    On this I want to take my leave and wish everyone a happy New Year! I hope you were interested in reading my article and you will also get sick with airplanes like me. :)

    Links - unrealistic films about flights! - statistics. Airplanes, airports, airlines. Delays, arrivals and departures schedules. - Radar Spotting Forum

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