Flightradar24 gets free 'trial', still jaw-dropping

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Flightradar24 has been one of the mobile world's stalwarts, and for good reason - the massive amount of real time aviation data, made instantly accessible, is consistently impressive and super-cool - and now you can try the basics for free on Windows Phone. The new 'free' version is effectively a cut-down and ad-supported version of the full (still only £1.29 in the UK, $2 in the USA, etc.) commercial applicaton. I explain below what is and what is not included.

From the Store description for the new free version:

Turn your Windows Phone into an air traffic radar and see airplane traffic around the world in real-time.

• See planes move in real-time around the World
• Get flight number and callsign info for individual Aircraft
• Search for flights
• Augmented Reality View – identify the planes flying overhead by simply pointing your phone’s camera to the sky (On supported devices)
• See images of most aircraft

In other words, you get the casual look around the sky in real time - which is impressive enough, see below for my walkthrough. Plus you get a few small banner ads. Stumping up for the full version then also gets you:

  • detailed flight information for any of the planes found (right down to altutude, speed and heading)
  • detailed filters to reduce the number of planes found
  • a cockpit view, showing exactly what the pilot of that plane is seeing in real time (simulated using Bing Maps aerial imagery, but still pretty accurate)
  • extra (small) in-app purchases to have custom outlines for the various plane types and models, plus arrival tables for each airport around the world.

Coverage for Flightradar24 around the world isn't 100%, but it's getting that way. And certainly, the free 'trial' version will let everyone try the application out in their area first.

Here's a walkthrough of Flightradar24, in both its versions:

Flightradar24 screenshotFlightradar24 screenshot

Looking by default from your current position, here's what's in the air around you (and in theory visible) - tap a plane icon to see its track, call sign and airline.

Flightradar24 screenshot

The 'sky' augmented reality view is impressive, though it's sometimes tough to match up the legends with what your eyes are seeing - there's bound to be some delay in the data reaching your phone, etc.

Flightradar24 screenshotFlightradar24 screenshot

Stepping now through to the full version, see the extra flight information shown, including the bar showing progress through its flight plan; (right) tapping through gives even more, plus a better look at the aircraft.

Flightradar24 screenshot

The innovative cockpit view lets you step into any plane at any point. Here's the game - spot a plane about to land at any worldwide airport and then switch to cockpit view to experience what's it's like to fly into that location in an airliner. Anyone spot the runway (of Heathrow) in the far distance?

Flightradar24 screenshot

About to touch down on the runway!

Flightradar24 screenshotFlightradar24 screenshot

There are two extras available so far - no doubt there will be more to come. Flightradar24 is a high quality tool from start to finish.

You can download the free/trial version of Flightradar24 here, or go straight to the full version here.

Source / Credit: Windows Phone Store