Plane Finder AR app for iPhone

A new smartphone application has aviation security experts chilled. Available through UK software company Pinkfroot, the Plane Finder AR (for "augmented reality") app allows the user to simply point a camera phone at an aircraft — on the ground or in the air — and access its broadcast ADS-B data, including tail number, altitude, speed, bearing, range and destination. Simply aiming the phone at the aircraft will display range and bearing information on the phone's screen. The company website crows, "Amaze your friends with your newfound knowledge! Contrails will no longer be a mystery." The application costs $3 and is available for iPhones and iPads. "Planespotting" or tracking aircraft from airport to airport by tail number, has long been a fascination for practitioners in Europe, particularly England. This new app takes the practice to a new level, and British lawmakers are concerned about the security implications, threatening to outlaw the software.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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