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Some of my flights are tracked on sites like Flightradar24 and others are not, regardless of flight plans being opened and closed. It would be nice to go to a website that tracks all flights, so I can review the flight dynamics after I land.

I am interested in a website that provides this service, not an app (I have had limited success with these).

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  • $\begingroup$ Clarification: You want to view every single flight that occurs or do you want to view the full flight? $\endgroup$ – SMS von der Tann Mar 29 '16 at 0:00
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    $\begingroup$ Are you talking about IFR only, or both IFR and VFR flight plans? $\endgroup$ – J Walters Mar 29 '16 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ @SMSvonderTann yes I would like to see all flights $\endgroup$ – Yogwhatup Mar 29 '16 at 1:06
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    $\begingroup$ My understanding and experience is that FAA VFR flight plans are never tracked, only IFR flight plans. VFR radar flight following radar positions may sometimes show up, but unreliably. This seems to be confirmed by the FlightAware.com FAQs $\endgroup$ – J Walters Mar 29 '16 at 1:20
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not totally sure what you're asking for but if you want to do detailed analysis of your own flights, you need more precise position data than you can get from an online tracking site. That means recording GPS flightpath data and then visualizing it, which is probably going to require an app of some sort. FWIW, I've had good results using a Garmin Virb to capture the data and Cloudahoy to analyze it. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Mar 29 '16 at 2:20
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No, there will always be flights that are private, or for any other reason not traceable.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your answer is correct in the implication that there is currently a means of opting out of flight tracking. However, your assertion that there will always be flights a that are not traceable is baseless. Indeed, there have been attempts at eliminating that option in the not so recent past. And, perhaps more importantly, ADS-B may render private, untraceable flights more or less a thing of the past. $\endgroup$ – J Walters Apr 3 '16 at 1:34
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    $\begingroup$ @JonathanWalters Tell that to the guy flying an F-22... ADS-B doesn't help much if the transponder is turned off and the aircraft is designed to not show up on radar. :) Maybe "always" is a stretch, but "for the foreseeable future" would be accurate enough. $\endgroup$ – reirab Apr 6 '16 at 15:22
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Tracking sites use FAA data for the most part, augmented by ADS-B data nowadays.

For FAA data, they use what's in the National system. This is usually 99%+ of IFR flight plans, and some VFR flight following flight plans. IFR flights plans that aren't included are those that are local area pop-up requests(staying with the same approach control with a pop-up IFR clearance).

For VFR flights, the only data in the NAS is what's input by controllers for flight following that leaves their airspace(leaving a TRACON headed to a center or another facility, usually; sometimes you can get a NAS code for just a local flight). VFR flight plans sent to and activated by flight service are not sent to ATC, all they are is a tool for rescuers to search for you if you're late and never check in and a search needs to go find you.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sometimes (generally it seems to be if your trip crosses center boundaries) VFR flight following will get entered into the national system rather than just local codes, and you might show up on services like FlightAware. this is pretty unpredictable though so you shouldn't rely on it. $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Nov 13 '16 at 3:37
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The short answer to this question is to fly ADS-B. If you use ADS-B, then in general, you will always be tracked unless you employ a specific blocking mechanism.

Other than that your only recourse is to always fly under a IFR flight plan which should result in tracking 98% of the time.

If you are not getting tracked, it may be because you are using a VFR flight plan, or are flying in an area outside Europe or the United States.

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