Review by Marlon Carter. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to review the Airnav Systems RadarBox, which is really a home based radar device that allows you to track flights in your immediate area. For a fee, you are also able to connect to a network that displays information from other RadarBox users. Since then, Airnav systems has released RadarBox 3D which is much the same as RadarBox Pro with the exception of having 3D flight tracking, a Google Earth interface and has over 600 models/liveries included. This is the review I wrote of RadarBox.
Building on this concept, Airnav Systems has recently released RadarBox24. What is RB24 all about? To answer these questions and more about this tool, I had the opportunity to have a short interview Andre Brandao who is part of the development team at Airnav Systems.
AVSIM - What is RadarBox24 all about?
Andre –Basically RB24 was developed by Airline Pilots and other aviation professionals. It is our objective to bring aviation related features including FIR overlays and other technical flight information to a world where there are already too many flight tracking websites. This way we really hope this brings some difference and innovation to the current online flight tracking solutions.
We believe this has been a success as over 10 thousand accounts have been created in just 3 months.
RadarBox brings some unique features:
- Real-time flight information including flight number, origin, destination, altitude, speed, heading;
- Aircraft photos and history (latest flights done by a specific tracked airframe);
- Over 30 layers including cloud coverage, airspace boundaries, airways, runways, airports and navigation facilities;
- Real-time alerts: every time an aircraft squawks an emergency code it is automatically detected by our system and shared with users on the site and on our Facebook page;
- Area Events: automatic alerts for any aircraft landing or taking off from any airport worldwide.
AirNav Systems (the company behind RadarBox24) has been in the flight tracking world since 1997. 5 years ago we released the first fully integrated (all solutions, software, network and hardware in a single package) ADS-B flight tracking solution. It was named AirNav RadarBox. 5 years later we have RadarBox available on the web and soon on tablets and mobile phones as RadarBox24.
Our company is a leader in flight tracking software and hardware with over 30 thousands customers, from airlines to airports and aviation enthusiasts.
There are currently over 10 thousand ADS-B units streaming data to RadarBox24, from all over the world. We offer free RadarBox units for areas not yet covered but also accept non-RadarBox ADS-B unit owners the possibility of sharing data with our servers.
AVSIM - What prompted AirNav Systems to develop Radarbox24?
Andre –We want to have a centralized flight tracking solution available in all platforms: iOS, Android, Web and PC.
In addition we also develop the decoding hardware. This enables us have a serious quality control over our product as we are the owners of all the stages of the flight tracking systems: hardware decoder, network processing and client software.
AVSIM - What are the benefits of using Radarbox24 vs. other services available online?
Andre –Unlike other already available online and mobile flight tracking solutions, RadarBox24 has been developed by aviation professionals: this means that we wanted to add a professional side of things to the system. In addition RadarBox24 belongs to AirNav Systems ecosystem of applications where all were developed by the same team thus guaranteeing data accuracy.
AVSIM - What future develops are in store for Radarbox24?
Andre – In 2 months we will release RadarBox24 iOS apps (iPhone and Ipad), after that Android. We also have many new ideas for the web version of RadarBox24. In addition we've just entered the professional market using our brand new "RadarBox24 Professional Fleet Manager"
Here is a presentation on the features related to Radarbox24 Professional Fleet Manager
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While the interview was not very lengthy, I think that most of what RB24 does is summarized quite nicely. If you would still prefer to find out more information about this service, have a look at the chart below.
As shown in the chart above, this is quite an innovation service and by the end of this review/commentary, we will see whether or not this service will be of benefit to you the readers.
Summary of Service
From the moment that I first saw RB24 I wondered; how does this really work? It may seem complicated from your initial viewing of the website, but really it is quite simple once you understand the way in which RB24 works. One of the first questions you may have about RB24 is whether there are any fees or monthly subscriptions. Thankfully, RB24 is available to the public free of cost. In fact, you can enjoy more of its features by creating your own free account.
A point of interest is that RB24 does not cover only the USA. AirNav Systems receives flight data from both RadarBox ADS-B receiver stations and directly from the FAA Radar System and is allowed to display this data on flight tracking devices. Data coming from the FAA (green aircraft label) has a 5 minute delay and ADS-B Data is real-time (yellow aircraft label). You can see the level of worldwide coverage anytime.
This link not only shows the areas that are covered, but it also shows the location of Real-Time sharing stations around the world. It may be quite surprising to see just how many stations there are and how diverse the locations can be. Bear in mind however, that this does not show ALL RadarBox users. It simply shows RB users who are online at present.
Given the fact that RB24 also displays data from the FAA, it means that there will never be a boring moment due to a lack of RB users being online, and there is no traffic to be displayed. Even with a 5 minute delay, the information is still very much useful. One of the features of RB24 that I liked the most is the period updates that display when aircraft from around the world are in an emergency situation.
For example, if a flight is showing a squawk code of 7700, this means that an aircraft is experiencing a Medical or Technical emergency. Features such as this are useful to enthusiasts who are eager to stay up to date with the operations of airlines around the world. What is even more useful is that you can receive these updates via your Facebook page by connecting to the radarbox24 Facebook page.
A few weeks ago, when there was a tragic incident involving a 747 cargo aircraft, the alert on RB24 was quickly posted. This shows that RB24 is very dynamic and very active and up to date with what’s going on around the world.
An interesting feature of RB24 is that data can be accessed through your Iphone or Android device. This is an extremely handy option since most of us are always on the go and are not always able to sit for more than 5 minute to simply log onto a website to track flights. For hard-core enthusiasts and perhaps more so for professionals, a lot of time can be saved by using these options as a means of tracking flights.
Finding your way around RB24 is very convenient in that you get to filter the data that is displayed on your screen. The first filter allows you to select flights based on altitude, speed or ADS-B aircrafts only. The Map can also be adjusted to filter aircraft labels, animation of aircraft icons, flights on the ground and much more. As far as the map layers are concerned you will have the ability to display Clouds, weather radar, ATC boundaries, NAVAIDs, Waypoints and Routes for various regions of the world.
By clicking the 3 white stripe icon to the top right of the screen, you are able to access more options to RB24. Some of these options include links to the forums, and further information on RB24 and apps that can be used with mobile devices. The apps section is not complete at the moment but as soon as these apps are available, information on this option will be made available in this section.
To sum up this review, I am sure you may be wondering whether or not this is all relevant to FS enthusiast. The short answer to this question is yes depending on the level you are at. RB24 was developed by aviation professionals to allow users to have easy access to flight information and to track flights worldwide. If you are the type of FS enthusiast who relish the thought of completing a realistic flight based on a real world operation, RB24 may be helpful in finding information on flights you would like to fly.
This means that you will even be able to find information not only on commercial flights, but on just about ANY flight you can think of once tracked by RB users or the FAA. The accuracy of the information you will be obtaining is of the best available but if you would like to go even further than gathering basic information, I would recommend that you check out AirNav FS Live Traffic which allows you to have real world flights displayed in your flight simulator.
This product isn’t a record of flight information that is constantly repeated, rather it is a live display of all traffic whether the flights are on time, delayed or cancelled. The subscription for this service may be a bit pricy but if you are bent on having the ultimate real world experience, it may be worth your while.
All in all, RB24 is a great service and it is well worth your time checking out. Whether you are patiently awaiting their mobile apps or you join their Facebook page, RB24 will surely keep you up to date with what’s happening with aviation traffic world over. Why not check it out yourself?