Do you want to build your own FlightAware PiAware ADS-B Ground Station?

You can now build and run your own ADS-B ground station that can be installed anywhere and receive real-time data directly from airplanes on your computer.

Your ground station can run FlightAware's PiAware software to track flights within 100-300 miles (line of sight, range depending on antenna installation) and will automatically feed data to FlightAware. You can track flights directly off your PiAware device or via FlightAware.com.

As a thank you from FlightAware, users sending ADS-B data receive the following:

  • Live data on flightaware.com (subject to standard data processing delay of up to two minutes)
  • Access to up-to-the-second live data received by the local device (accessible from the stats page with a local network connection)
  • Data from local device highlighted on FlightAware track logs
  • Detailed statistics on site performance
  • A free Enterprise Account (USD89.95/mo value)

Getting started is fast and easy!

Using the instructions below, the process should take about 2 hours hours and the parts cost about USD100/EUR80.

New to building a PiAware?

Already running dump1090 on a Raspberry Pi?

View the PiAware installation page to install the latest version on your Pi.
FlightAware PiAware: Skyview ADS-B software web interface
1PiAware Shopping List

To build a PiAware, you must obtain the following components:

  1. Raspberry Pi 3
    • Raspberry Pi 2 can be used but a USB Wi-Fi adapter will be needed to connect to the internet wirelessly
    • Raspberry Pi Zero W can also be used
  2. Power supply for the Raspberry Pi
    • 5.1 Volts 2.5 Amps power supply recommended
  3. Micro SD Card (size: 8 GB or larger)
  4. Micro SD card reader
    • If your computer does not have a built-in SD card reader/writer, you will need the optional USB SD card reader/writer.
  5. RTL-SDR USB adapter (FlightAware Pro Stick or Pro Stick Plus recommended)
    • The USB adapter translates the 1090 MHz radio signal into something the computer can understand
    • Hint: If you are choosing between the FlightAware Pro Stick and the Pro Stick Plus remember the Plus has an on-board filter that works well in locations that have a lot of radio noise, such as urban environments.
  6. 1090 MHz Antenna
    • An indoor antenna can be purchased to start. If using the FlightAware USB adapter be sure the antenna has an SMA connector.
Additionally, you can choose to purchase or find the following items but they are not required.
  • Micro SD Card pre-loaded with PiAware
    • Skip the step to program the micro SD card
  • Raspberry Pi Case
    • Protect the Raspberry Pi from shorts
  • Ethernet Cable
    • This is needed if not using Wi-Fi
  • 1090 MHz Signal Filter
    • If you live in an urban environment or a location that has a lot of radio noise this will help filter out that excess signal
  • 200 joules Surge Suppressor
    • The Raspberry Pi is vulnerable to voltage spikes so consider a surge protector to prevent damage.
    • If you are in an area known for high voltage spikes consider an 800 joules surge protector

The parts to make a PiAware box are available everywhere in the world, but vendors and availability vary by country. A shopping list with helpful links is available for Canada below; please let us know on our discussion forums if you find better vendors for your country. Alternately please view these alternate instructions:

Argentina | Australia | Canada | Germany | France | India | Mexico | Norway | People's Republic of China | Russia | South Africa | South Korea | Thailand | Turkey | United Kingdom | United States

  • Required
  • Optional
  • 2Install PiAware on your SD card

    Correct Drive
    Be sure to choose the correct drive to install the image
    Windows
    1. Download PiAware on Raspbian Linux 3.5.0 ZIP (320MB) and save the file on your computer.
    2. Right-click on the downloaded piaware-sd-card-3.5.0.img.zip file and select extract to unzip the compressed file.
      1. Unzip the file to a location that has no spaces in the file path or it can cause problems writing the image to the SD card.
    3. Go to https://etcher.io/ download the SD card writer (approx 80MB) and follow the directions to install the unzipped PiAware image on to the micro SD card.
      1. The program may need to be run as administrator (right-click, "Run as Administrator")
    4. After PiAware is installed Etcher should automatically eject the SD card, if not manually eject the SD card and remove from the computer.
    Mac OS X
    1. Download PiAware on Raspbian Linux 3.5.0 ZIP (320MB) and save the file on your computer.
    2. If your web browser did not automatically un-ZIP the ZIP file, double-click on the downloaded piaware-sd-card-3.5.0.img.zip file to unzip the compressed file.
      1. Unzip the file to a location that has no spaces in the file path or it can cause problems writing the image to the SD card.
    3. Go to https://etcher.io/ download the SD card writer (approx 80MB) and follow the directions to install the unzipped PiAware image on to the micro SD card.
      1. The program may need to be run as administrator (control+open application)
    4. After PiAware is installed Etcher should automatically eject the SD card, if not manually eject the SD card and remove from the computer.
    Need additional information?
    See the Beginner Guide for more information.

    3Start your PiAware device

    1. Slide the SD card (with PiAware installed) into your Raspberry Pi.
    2. Tightly plug in the antenna cable into the USB ADS-B dongle.
    3. Plug all other cables (USB power, Ethernet network, USB ADS-B dongle) into your Raspberry Pi.
    4. You should observe a solid red LED and a blinking green LED on the Raspberry Pi as well as yellow and green LEDs next to the Ethernet jack.
    4Claim your PiAware client on FlightAware.com

    You should wait about four or five minutes for your PiAware to start and then you can associate your FlightAware account with your PiAware device to receive all the benefits. Once your device is running, please:

    5View your ADS-B statistics

    FlightAware will begin processing your data immediately and displaying your statistics within 30 minutes.View your ADS-B stats at: http://flightaware.com/adsb/stats

    The FlightAware stats page will also tell you the local IP of your device and provide a link for direct connection. FlightAware's stats page is also where you will configure your site's geographical location and antenna height.

    For information on the Statistics page please read the guide.

    6Success!

    Remember that the signals from aircraft are not designed to penetrate objects, so the antenna should be located "line of sight" to the sky with no obstructions. The most optimal installations, which are installed outdoors and on a roof, have a range of over 250mi / 400km.

    Enjoy using PiAware and using FlightAware with extra features reserved exclusively for ADS-B feeders like you. Please check out the discussion forums to share your experiences or learn more.

    7Optional Steps for Advanced Setup