I recently got the ADS-B Tracker Log back online, logging daily flights my Tracker is catching.
My latest addition was to use Flightware for route information. Virtual Radar has a route database it uses, but often times I find these routes out-of-date, missing or using destinations for different legs of the callsign. I discovered FlightAware offers a free option for it’s new API XML 3 feed. It gives you 500 queries a month, but as a ADS-B Tracker, you get 500 more, so 1,000 total.
To reduce the daily query count, I archive everything into a database table. Since I’m catching aircraft in the same area daily, whatever part of a route a flight is one will generally be the same day to day. So there’s no need to fetch the same info over and over from FlightAware. To help build up the route archive initially, I subscribed to their lowest tier plan at $12/month for 2,500 queries. I may use that for a month or two, and then drop back down to the free one once the archive builds up.
I also only check FlightAware for data from from major airlines. I simply filter it down to flights that broadcast a callsign 5 or more characters long and are flying a Boeing, Airbus, or MD aircraft (1 or 2 others). This pretty much narrows it down to the airlines, and excludes general aviation flights who my use a different call sign every flight.
It was a fun challenge to figure out, and I’m still tweaking the code. In the future I want to have callsigns updated every 2-3 months maybe in case they do eventually change.