FlightRadar 24 Review

FlightRadar 24 is a well-known flight tracking service that provides real-time information about flights around the world. This article aims to explore the functionality and reliability of FlightRadar24, discussing its features, cost, and whether it can track military aircraft and private jets. Additionally, we investigate why helicopters often don’t appear on flight radars, reveal the ownership of FlightRadar24, and highlight potential competitors. By examining the advantages and disadvantages of using FlightRadar24, readers can make an informed decision about whether it is the best flight-tracking app for their particular needs.

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Have you ever volunteered to pick up a family member from the airport, only to be left waiting hours for a delayed flight? Conversely, are you an “avgeek” or aviation photographer wanting to ensure you don’t miss your favorite airplane’s arrival at your local airport?

Maybe you’re an airport employee on your lunch break and want to know when you need to be back on the ramp to unload an arriving airplane, or you work for an FBO1 doing operations and need a reliable, real-time way of tracking aircraft.

Lucky for you (no matter who you are), FlightRadar242 has gained immense popularity as a leading flight tracking service by allowing users to access real-time flight information and track aircraft across the globe. In this article, we delve into the inner workings of FlightRadar24, exploring its reliability, cost, features, and ownership, in addition to addressing common questions regarding its capabilities.

Flightradar flight tracking
Each plane icon can be clicked on or hovered over for more accurate flight details

What is FlightRadar24?

FlightRadar 24 is an online platform with a mobile app that provides real-time location tracking and comprehensive flight data to users worldwide, for almost every aircraft worth tracking. By utilizing a network of receivers and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B)3 technology, FlightRadar24 gathers information from aircraft equipped with ADS-B transponders4, enabling users to view their current location and routes and access detailed information about those aircraft.

How does it work?

FlightRadar24 communicates with a vast network of ADS-B receivers, which capture signals from aircraft transponders. These receivers forward the data to FlightRadar24’s servers, where it is processed and then displayed for users. It combines this information with other data sources, such as radar and airport flight schedules, affording users a comprehensive view of global air traffic. Users can choose between accessing FlightRadar24 via a website, or an easy-to-use mobile application that offers some neat additional features like augmented reality and 3D view.

Is Flightradar24 reliable?

Flight Radar is highly regarded among aviation enthusiasts, travelers, and industry professionals alike for its reliability. However, it’s important to note that the accuracy and availability of flight data can be influenced by factors such as how many ADS-B-equipped aircraft are in a particular region at any one time, the location and number of ADS-B receivers, and potential technical issues. While FlightRadar24 strives to provide accurate and up-to-date information, occasional data gaps or discrepancies do occur, and when they do, it pays to remember how lucky we are to have such technology at all, let alone tech that is widely and freely available!

Can you use FlightRadar24 to track a flight?

Yes, FlightRadar24 allows users to track the exact location of a flight in real time (or close to it). By entering the flight number, aircraft tail number (registration), or airport identifier, users can instantly track, and receive data for, that particular flight. The platform provides data such as the aircraft’s speed, altitude, route, and estimated time of arrival (ETA). Users can also view historical flight data for past journeys, including a full playback of the flight.

Do pilots use FlightRadar24?

FlightRadar24 is used extensively by flight crew (pilots), air traffic controllers and other aviation employees for various purposes. Pilots can use the service to obtain information about nearby aircraft, monitor air traffic congestion, or check weather conditions along their route. It is a valuable way of enhancing safety and situational awareness, for those in the cockpit and on the ground.

One very common example of how FlightRadar is used in aviation is pilots and flight attendants monitoring departing and arriving aircraft, allowing them to take advantage of any delays (like going to get some lunch!) while still ensuring they’re at the gate on time, ready to commence their next leg.

How much does Flightradar24 cost?

FlightRadar24 offers both free and premium subscription plans. The free version provides basic flight tracking features, while the premium plans offer additional benefits such as weather overlays, 3D view, and advanced filtering options. The premium subscriptions are available on a monthly or yearly basis, with pricing varying depending on which plan is chosen and which country you’re in.

The basic plan has limited enhanced 3D view and search capability, but outside of this not many other features are available and perhaps the biggest incentive to purchase a premium plan is the ads.

The first of the premium subscriptions, the Silver option, has no ads, offers unlimited enhanced 3D, makes more aircraft details available, and includes some other features for only $9.99 a year, or a mere $1.50 per month.

The gold subscription is slightly higher in price at $35 a year or $4 a month, however, most users would consider this increase well worth it due to the additional features, such as aviation weather overlays and charts and access to a full year of past flights.

There is also a subscription for aviation businesses such as FBOs which affords them the capability to view only their fleet and includes more detailed weather layers, but for a more than tenfold increase in price, you may want to leave this membership option to your company’s accountants.

Flightradar pricing
FlightRadar Pricing

Does Flightradar24 track military aircraft?

Generally speaking, FlightRadar24 does not track military aircraft, for obvious reasons pertaining to operational security requirements. Military aircraft often operate under different protocols, including not being required to file civilian flight plans in most countries, and they use communication systems and transponders that are not publicly accessible. Therefore, FlightRadar24’s coverage primarily focuses on commercial and general aviation aircraft in most parts of the world, except for some military aircraft being shown, presumably when that country’s officials consider the aircraft’s operation to be a low risk to national security.

Does Flightradar24 show private jets?

FlightRadar24 displays all private jets that are equipped with compatible transponders. However, there are lots of private and GA aircraft that may not have ADS-B technology installed. In such cases, these aircraft likely won’t appear on FlightRadar24.

Why don’t helicopters show on FlightRadar?

Helicopters may not appear on FlightRadar24 for a couple of reasons. one of which is that they may not be equipped with the appropriate ADS-B transponders. Additionally, helicopters often fly at lower altitudes and within closer proximity to buildings or terrain, which can limit the range and coverage of ADS-B receivers.

Who is the owner of Flightradar24?

FlightRadar24 is a privately-owned Swiss company co-founded by Mikael Robertsson and Olov Lindberg in 2006. Since its humble beginnings as Flygbilligt.com, FlightRadar24, also known previously as Flygradar.nu, has grown significantly and has become one of the most popular flight-tracking platforms worldwide.

Are there similar competitor apps to Flightradar24?

Yes, there are several similar radar systems and flight-tracking apps available on the market. Some notable competitors to FlightRadar24 include FlightAware5, Plane Finder6, RadarBox7, and FlightStats8. Each of these platforms offers its own unique features and user experiences, catering to different personal preferences and needs.

Advantages of using FlightRadar24

The benefits of using FlightRadar24 depend on which plan you’ve subscribed to, but here are some of our favorites:

➢     Live flight tracking and comprehensive information on flight movements

➢     User-friendly interface and intuitive mobile app.

➢     Availability of augmented reality and 3D view features.

➢     Ability to track flights worldwide, including historical data.

➢     Popular among aviation enthusiasts and professionals.

Clicking on one of the icons shows the relevant flight and aircraft details

Disadvantages of using FlightRadar24

FlightRadar 24
Some features such as weather info can only be accessed with a paid subscription

Unfortunately, like most things in life, where there are pros, there are also cons. While the downsides to using FlightRadar24 are limited, some that we have noticed include:

➢     Reliability can be influenced by various factors, leading to occasional data gaps.

➢     Limited coverage of military and non-ADS-B-equipped aircraft.

➢     Some features and advanced options require a premium subscription.

➢     Helicopters may not always appear on the radar due to technical and operational reasons.

Is there a better app than Flightradar24?

Determining whether there is a better app than FlightRadar24 depends on the goals and preferences of each individual user. While there are some other noteworthy contenders in the field, FlightRadar24 is widely revered among aviation professionals and enthusiasts alike as the best-established, longest-standing, and most popular of them all.


FlightRadar24 has established itself as a leading flight tracking service, offering real-time information and flight radar data to users the world over. It relies on ADS-B receivers to capture, process and display flight routes and flight information via an interactive and user-friendly platform. While FlightRadar24 is widely used and appreciated for its functionality, it’s important to consider its limitations and potential alternatives when seeking the best flight-tracking app for your individual needs, be it picking up a relative from the airport after a holiday, or helping to coordinate your company’s departing and arriving aircraft in real-time.

Reference List:

  1. Fixed Base Operator (FBO), Skybrary. Accessed online at https://www.skybrary.aero/articles/fixed-base-operator-fbo#:~:text=The%20term%20Fixed%20Base%20Operator,General%20Aviation%20(GA)%20community on July 14, 2023.
  2. https://www.flightradar24.com/
  3. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), FAA. Published (updated): Jan 17, 2023. Accessed online at https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/technology/adsb on July 14, 2023.
  4. Transponder (aeronautics), Wikipedia. Accessed online at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transponder_(aeronautics) on July 14, 2023.
  5. https://flightaware.com/
  6. https://planefinder.net/
  7. https://www.radarbox.com/
  8. https://www.flightstats.com/v2/
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ken johnson


Ken is a passionate aviator, a professional pilot and flight instructor. He has over 17 years of flight experience across hundreds of aircraft ranging from recreational, aerobatic, historic, commercial and military aircraft, training hundreds of students along the way. Find out more.

Ken has 124 posts and counting. See all posts by Ken

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