Airport Monitor allows you to watch the time-delayed movement of aircraft within the Greater Boston area and from other airports that are in transit around the region. If you are a first time user of this system, please take a few minutes to read the following information, which will assist you in understanding and utilizing the full capabilities of this software.
We encourage you to use the Airport Monitor before making a noise complaint.
Using Airport Monitor
The system shows the flight tracks of aircraft arriving at and departing from Boston's Logan International Airport. It also shows aircraft transiting through the region. The size of the icons are much larger than the aircraft they represent and are uniform regardless of the actual size of the aircraft. If Airport Monitor showed actual aircraft size, planes would appear as tiny dots on the screen even at close views.
- Green aircraft icons represent departures from BOS.
- Blue aircraft icons represent arrivals to BOS.
- Black aircraft icons represent aircraft operating to or from another airport in the region, or that are transiting through the region and bypassing local airports.
- Red aircraft icon indicates the aircraft selected for viewing.
Airport Monitor reflects radar images of what is in the Greater Boston airspace. Therefore, the computer screen will include aircraft that are not related to Logan activity. In the Greater Boston airspace, at any point in time, there could be long haul aircraft enroute (for example from Chicago to Europe) traveling at very high altitudes; general aviation aircraft traveling to and from other local airports in the area as well as other commercial aircraft traveling to nearby airports handling commercial aircraft (Bedford's Hanscom Field, Manchester Airport in New Hampshire, or T.F. Green in Rhode Island).
Aircraft not associated with Logan will appear in black and will increase in number at greater map ranges. For example, at the 90 mile range, along with traffic from Boston Logan, traffic from the following airports may appear on the screen: Manchester Airport, Worcester Regional Airport, TF Green Airport, Hyannis Airport, Hanscom Field, Beverly Municipal Airport, Norwood Municipal Airport, Lawrence Municipal Airport, some other smaller general aviation airports, and enroute aircraft traveling at higher altitudes.
These flight tracks, although taken from actual raw radar data, are not in real time. There is a time delay as indicated by the date and time box located in Flight Information fields on the right side of the screen.
In the delay mode you will see the following information about that particular flight displayed in the Flight Information fields on the right side of the screen:
- Aircraft Type
- Track ID Number
Please be aware the Flight Information for general aviation aircraft flying under Visual Flight Rules will not display aircraft identification information in the Aircraft Type field due to the nature of the data transmitted by their transponder.
Just under the map you will notice 5 buttons with corresponding zoom settings ranging from 4 miles to 90 miles. In order to change the view just click the button corresponding to the map setting you wish to view.
Airport Monitor 1-Hour Replay Function
The Logan Airport Monitor has a replay function that archives flight track data for 3 months. This allows you to log on to the system anytime during the 3-month period and view past flight tracks. This replay function will be useful if an aircraft overflew your neighborhood and you were unable to log onto the system within the delay period to view the flight tracks, or if you wish to view additional information about the aircraft.
To operate the replay, use the pull-down menus at the top of the page and enter the corresponding date and time you wish (using the 24-hour clock), and then press the Start Replay button. To end the replay and return to delay mode press the Current button.
In the replay mode, you will be able to view the following information that is not included in the delayed display for security reasons:
- Airline/Flight ID, tail number or radio call sign (for General Aviation aircraft flying under Instrument Flight Rules)
- Airport of Origin
- Destination Airport
The information contained in some of the data fields is encoded to conform to standard FAA contractions.
A Word About Radar
Aircraft tracking, using secondary surveillance radar and the software that supports it, while highly reliable, is also complex. Sometimes circumstances can interfere with the signal, causing temporary distortions. For example, you will probably notice that an aircraft flying over Logan will temporarily disappear from the screen and then reappear away from the airport. This is due to the aircraft passing directly over the radar antenna and the temporary loss of signal. You may also notice aircraft icons sometimes "dropping off" and/or suddenly doing unusual things. This is especially true in the area immediately around Logan, but could also occur away from the airport as well. These "ghost" aircraft are due to radar and aircraft transponder reflections from the ground and high rise buildings around the airport, and possibly from terrain and meteorological conditions farther away from Logan.
- Airport Monitor is data intensive and is best-viewed using broadband or high speed internet access. If you are using a dial-up modem, the site will be slow to load.
- Airport Monitor is a resource intensive application that is best run without too many other applications open at the same time.
- The optimal screen resolution for viewing this site is 1024 x 768.
- This site will not work with WebTV.
Click below to launch the Boston Logan International Airport Monitor.