Make SpotterLead Great Again! Update #2 of 3: Historical Flight View

Hello everyone! Last time we covered our new feature “Flight Schedules” which allows not only to expand airport coverage dramatically by providing non-updated flight timetable, but to expose flight data for future 3+ days also. Read more about it here.

But this makes no sense if you cannot switch timetables to show flights arriving/departing any other time than for 24 following hours only.

That is how it worked until recently…

Now, however, we are introducing historical flight view. This small feature will give you an ability to choose any date and time in past or in future and see which flights were arriving/departing at this time.

Allowed time range to choose is limited by the latest and earliest flights stored in our database for this or that airport. Normally we store flight data for 180 days and now, with a Flight Schedule implemented, provide 3 days lookup in future.

To load planespotter timetable with flights starting from custom date & time, you need to just click the button with the current date & time located near flight search input field and choose date & time you want from a date-time picker which will appear immediately. After that you just need to click a button “Load flights for the selected time” and you will see all the arriving/departing flights starting from the date-time you have chosen + 24 hours. As simple as that.

Choosing a custom date and time on planespotter timetable page
Choosing a custom date and time on planespotter timetable page

This feature was requested by our users multiple times and we finally happy to introduce it as now it gives more extensive access to all the flight data we store. This feature is mobile-friendly.

Hope you will like it and stay tuned for more updates!

Flights Live: Traditional Departures & Arrivals

Flights Live – is our key feature that displays arrivals & departures in planespotter-friendly way. It groups flights into intervals and gives you a clear vision of peak hours during the following 24 hours.

However, for a sake of higher diversity, we’re adding a more traditional view to Flights Live page, which displays arrivals and departures as ordinary tables (as all the airports do). To switch to traditional view you need to switch round button with the icon of list:

Traditional arrivals - Flights Live
Traditional arrivals – Flights Live

You may see it on every Flights Live page of any of 195 supported airports. This feature is in preview currently, so updates are quite likely.

Why You Don’t Support My Airport?

Quite often we have questions from users about why this or that airport is not supported yet by Flights Live feature, and we would like to give sort of an answer with a short technical explanation.

Specifics of our project is that usually there is a reason to have an airport rather than not to have it. Flights Live the planespotting timetables – is a core feature of SpotterLead. It operates like any search engine like Google or Bing: it crawls airport sites and represents data found in a planespotter-convenient way.

But unlike Google or Bing, each airport (in some cases, group of airports) is being served by an individual flight data aggregation algorithm and requires lots of attention: each one should be developed, tested and, what’s more important, constantly maintained throughout its lifetime. The more airports you have, the more often these airports change its sites.

For instance, now we have Portuguese airports pages inoperational because airports changed their site and our aggregation algorithm stopped working. It automatically means that a new algorithm should be created, and it might take few days.

And this happens constantly.

Moreover, not all airport sites may be crawled within a reasonable way and time limits. For instance we are still not able to support Paris airports, Dusseldorf, New York JFK or Rome. It’s all a subject of individual research and we currently have not enough hands to provide a rapid grow of our coverage and to keep it live.

We also not yet able to use any universal API for live planespotting timetables (what could potentially solve this problem) as soon as these are extremely expensive for a small non-profit niche project like SpotterLead. Introducing this will make us to charge users and charge a lot, what we want to avoid ideally.

However, we have already had to add some advertisements on our site to cover at least some part of maintenance costs. And we would really appreciate if you won’t block it 🙂

And, of course we keep working on a project and looking for possible solutions to resolve problems described above. Meanwhile we are continuing to improve site itself, add new airports exclusively and develop some new features.

How you can expedite adding your airport? Well, you can send us a message via support form. We have quite a long queue of airports, so the more of

Stay tuned and enjoy your planespotting with SpotterLead! 🙂

 

Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport (YUL)

This weekend we’re as always proudly adding plane-spotter timetables and flight tracking for one more airport in Canada: Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport (CYUL / YUL) – Aéroport international Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau de Montréal (former Montreal Dorval).

>> Link: click here to open

YUL Flights Live Features

  • Data precision: medium
  • Flight data provider: airport site
  • Aircraft data provider: Yandex Timetables API
  • Codeshare/operator flight specified by airport: no
  • Aircraft registrations available: no
  • METARs available: yes
  • Current runways usage: predicted
  • Update interval: normal (7-8 minutes)
  • LiveATC link: yes
  • Planespotter Guide link: yes (SpotterGuide.net)
  • Airport Twitter: no

Overview

YUL is located on Montreal Island, 20 km from Montreal Downtown in Quebec province. With its three runways it handles about 15.5 million passengers per year with total of 232K+ aircraft movements. Popular airlines there are Air Canada, Air Transat, Sunwing Airlines and Air Canada Rouge. But, certainly, there are many more airlines you can spot in YUL.

Montreal Trudeau is a nice place for planespotting. Besides using our spotter-friendly timetables we recommend also review detailed planespotter guide at SpotterGuide.net.

Enjoy planespotting in Montreal!