“Alexa, ask Aircraft Radar what’s nearby.”
Aircraft Radar uses live ADS-B radio signals, collected by volunteers, to tell you what airplanes are around you.
You can ask it “Alexa, ask Aircraft Radar …”:
Click “Enable Skill” on the Aircraft Radar skill page, or ask Alexa to enable the Aircraft Radar skill.
This skill requires your Echo to have an address assigned to it, and you’ll need to give Aircraft Radar permission in the Alexa app to access your address. (Here’s a screenshot showing that configuration in the Alexa app.)
Generally, you can ask Aircraft Radar for airplanes that are “nearby” or “overhead”. “Nearby” looks for aircraft within 40km of you; and “overhead” only looks for aircraft within 15km of you. Aircraft Radar will tell you about the 4 nearest aircraft that match your search.
You can also ask for just the nearest aircraft — for example, “Alexa, ask Aircraft Radar, what’s the nearest airplane” — instead of asking what’s nearby. This will return just one result, and it’ll include more details (like the destination airport and a photo, if Aircraft Radar can find those, and the plane’s registration number.)
Finally, you can search just for jets, helicopters, or military aircraft. So, instead of asking “Alexa, ask Aircraft Radar what aircraft are nearby,” you might ask “what jets are around” or “what helicopters are overhead.”
Be aware that not all airplanes transmit ADS-B data just yet, and not all geographical areas have a volunteer receiving ADS-B transmissions from nearby aircraft. Consider running your own receiver and feeding the results to ADS-B Exchange if you want to help improve this skill.
Aircraft Radar and its supporting services are open-source:
Pull requests and bug reports are welcome.
I pay out of pocket for a $5/month DigitalOcean virtual server which provides a critical caching layer for the Aircraft Radar service.
Please donate as little as you’d like toward that cost via:
Consider also donating to ADS-B Exchange, the project which makes this skill possible.
(Unfortunately, I may not be able to reply to every email I receive.)