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Airspace Reboot
April 27, 2010 12:51 PM   Subscribe

"A visualisation of the northern European airspace returning to use after being closed due to volcanic ash." (SLV)
posted by Taft (32 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
hmm..
posted by kuatto at 12:53 PM on April 27, 2010


The little squiggles look just like the ones I see after a really hard sneeze.
posted by norm at 12:56 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow! That is unspeakably gnarly!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:57 PM on April 27, 2010


Awesome. My question is "What the hell is up with the radar hole over France?" Even once full traffic is restored, it's still almost completely dark.
posted by valkyryn at 12:59 PM on April 27, 2010


Why is middle and southern France relatively air traffic-free? I saw a few little flights, but not much after the traffic resumed.
posted by basicchannel at 1:00 PM on April 27, 2010


Damn you valkyryn!
posted by basicchannel at 1:01 PM on April 27, 2010


It's not a complete visualization and there are some holes in it (like southern France).
posted by Taft at 1:02 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


It looks kind of like they are avoiding Iceland out of spite....
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:06 PM on April 27, 2010


Vichy France apparently doesn't have any airports.
posted by geoff. at 1:06 PM on April 27, 2010 [5 favorites]


Needs more Dark Side of the Moon.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:06 PM on April 27, 2010


I like the sudden flood that looks like "Oh, damn, I can finally go home!"
posted by adipocere at 1:09 PM on April 27, 2010


The site that provided the data, flightradar24.com, works by a volunteer network of recievers picking up the ADS-B broadcasts of the planes in flight. No recievers in France, therefore, no real information on tracks in French airspace.

ADS-B uses GPS and automatically broadcasts the planes ident and state vector, and anyone can receive it. There's the usual OMG TERRORIST arguments, yeah, whatever, terrorists aren't going to shoot down planes at cruise, and any plane with real security issues isn't going to broadcast ADS-B.

One of the big wins of ADS-B is that other planes can receive it, which makes it possible for aircraft to have a real-time traffic map in the cockpit. Indeed, ADS-B works on the ground, making real-time runway mapping much easier.

The biggest risk of ADS-B is that it's trivial to broadcast fake messages.
posted by eriko at 1:10 PM on April 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


Vichy France apparently doesn't have any airports.

ORLY? YA RLY!
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:21 PM on April 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


Beautiful and fascinating. A bit like ants picking up on scent trails.
posted by pyrex at 1:23 PM on April 27, 2010


Iceland's volcano throws up more black smoke against the amazing backdrop of Northern Lights
posted by netbros at 1:27 PM on April 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


So cool! I was stuck in Biel for a day, as my group tried to make it back home from Milano and only managed to hitch a ride to Switzerland. Three people with me were from the UK and they would have waited until the end of the week had they not managed to find a bus. I opted for a train through the big black spot known as Germany. :)
posted by dabitch at 1:31 PM on April 27, 2010


I love the quick little circular squiggles of planes circling an airport in frustration, especially around what appears to be Amsterdam at 0:06. You can almost hear the "We're gonna get home! Yay! ...Oh dammit all to hell!" compressed into a fraction of a second.
posted by saturday_morning at 1:33 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love the quick little circular squiggles of planes circling an airport in frustration, especially around what appears to be Amsterdam at 0:06. You can almost hear the "We're gonna get home! Yay! ...Oh dammit all to hell!" compressed into a fraction of a second.

saturday_morning, I wouldn't be surprised if those were the Dutch government test flights.
posted by knapah at 1:35 PM on April 27, 2010


I liked the little oval squiggles around England and Belfast and the like as (what I like to think were) exploratory/scientific/trial flights popped little roundy-rounds up before traffic started again proper in a few areas.

Even if they weren't that (and there were some all over the map) I am firmly determined to believe that was a a plane full of boffins hanging little scientific mesh ash-collecting deals out the side of the plane to take samples.

And every one of them has a shirt pocket FULL of biros and slide rules. FULL, I tell you!
posted by Brockles at 1:39 PM on April 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow. Way to have your thunder and comedy timing shat on.
posted by Brockles at 1:40 PM on April 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


The airport closure gave general aviation pilots an unprecedented opportunity to fly at the big airports. Here's some touch-and-goes at Zurich, and here's a Cessna 180 doing low passes at Dublin.
posted by Nelson at 1:47 PM on April 27, 2010


It sort of looks like an invasion.
posted by shinyshiny at 1:47 PM on April 27, 2010


Brockles, the only way I can think to improve that little mental image is if instead of a plane, the scientist guys are hanging stuff off the side of a zeppelin. And they're wearing aviation goggles. And they talk like Orson Welles in War of the Worlds. You can find it all in my bestseller The Steampunkification of Current Events.
posted by saturday_morning at 1:55 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd love to have a screen on my wall playing a live version of this 24/7. Maybe the colour scheme could change to match day/night cycles and it would be selectable to display different regions. Ohh the things I would get up to if I had too much money.
posted by Submiqent at 2:07 PM on April 27, 2010


eriko authoritatively answered the "why no flights over France/Spain" question before I got here, but I was going to guess that the lack of air traffic in France had to do competition from their awesome trains. Even though my theory turns out to have been wrong, I have to think France would look relatively empty if we had all the data.

(Did a little looking, and sure enough, high-speed rail has a significant impact on air travel.)
posted by richyoung at 3:01 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love how flights never stropped between Kalingrad and Moscow, F* the volcano.
posted by ruelle at 3:06 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nice visualization of the air flight paths! One never realizes how busy our airpaths are!
posted by Enos at 5:38 PM on April 27, 2010



The site that provided the data, flightradar24.com, works by a volunteer network of recievers picking up the ADS-B broadcasts of the planes in flight. No recievers in France, therefore, no real information on tracks in French airspace.


That must explain what looks like little kamikaze runs from Aberdeen into the North Sea at the beginning of the clip too.
posted by mreleganza at 6:16 PM on April 27, 2010


mreleganza: "
The site that provided the data, flightradar24.com, works by a volunteer network of recievers picking up the ADS-B broadcasts of the planes in flight. No recievers in France, therefore, no real information on tracks in French airspace.


That must explain what looks like little kamikaze runs from Aberdeen into the North Sea at the beginning of the clip too.
"

No, that's just the normal result of living in Aberdeen.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:51 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


YouTube of air traffic over the Netherlands, and I had to smile at the choice of background music.
posted by Avelwood at 4:05 AM on April 28, 2010


Pretty cool. Although I was trapped for a week in the UK due to the ash I was too busy having fun to really pay attention to the news. One snippet I did pick up though was that the only reason UK airpace was opened up was because BA flew a bunch of planes at the same time to the UK, some circling Ireland to burn fuel, so that NAATs had to make the choice whether to let them land or fall out of the sky from lack of fuel. And once they had landed they proved the safety of flying through ash.
My flight left at 2 am from Gatwick and seemed to fly really low over the UK; I could still make out individual streetlights an hour into the flight - sorry to anyone below who's sleep I disturbed!
posted by saucysault at 6:31 AM on April 28, 2010


That's a distortion. BA made the gamble that the british airspace would be opened up by the time the planes would reach it based on some very qualified guesswork, but the planes retained the option of turning back to their origin right up to when they actually got the OK.
Some might have circled outside Ireland for some time but you bet they would have turned back when fuel reserves would have reached a certain point.
posted by Catfry at 7:03 AM on April 28, 2010


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