LiveTraffic creates aircraft in X-Plane‘s sky at current real life positions. Flight tracking data providers provide this positional information. Without tracking data, LiveTraffic cannot do anything. Collecting tracking data is big effort. Some providers build on flight enthusiast communities to help, others invest much money themselves. Hence, conditions under which we can access their data, varies.
LiveTraffic works out of the box with OpenSky as a flight tracking data provider. Additional providers, called channels, are available, which the following table lists. LiveTraffic can even read several channels at the same time. Warnings apply, see Basic Settings.
free when feeding ADS-B data, or paid subscription. API key needed
see more details
paid subscription plus local app, trial available
Local app's radar view, Traffic Status
see more details
The infrastructure for world-wide coverage of ADS-B data costs a lot of money that public networks don't really have. They rely on your support. If we LiveTraffic users consume the data then we cause load on their infrastructure. In return we should give something. There are different ways you can help those communities:
Support them with ADS-B receivers to increase coverage. It really isn't all that difficult and would help the entire community:
OpenSky - Improve Coverage with your own receiver or by funding one
ADS-B Exchange - How to feed with your own receiver, scripts readily available
Typically, one receiver can feed into several networks in parallel.
Maintain data, especially data about aircraft and routes. This in turn has an immediate effect in LiveTraffc: If an aircraft is properly maintained then it is shown with correct model and livery. If you find a wrong one go to OpenSky Aircraft Database and add/correct the data (requires a login, which is completely free).
Well, yea...that's what it's all about:
Aircraft labels (the yellow text), content configurable, can also be switched off
Basic flight modelling: LiveTraffic tries to mimic those aircraft movements, which are not transported by the flight data:
Rotate, Pitch, Flare
Turns, Roll (Roll yet simple, better curve modelling to come)
Gear and Flap movement
Lights (Beacon, Navigation, Landing, Taxi)
Landing Simulation in case no more flight data available during approach, so that the aircraft continue their descend down to the ground, roll out, stop, and only then vanish.
Hide any aircraft, thereby even impersonate an existing aircraft and taking over its position in the queues.
External camera view: Hop on any plane's tail and watch it manoeuvring.
LiveTraffic can show aircraft information and updated dynamic flight data (like position, speed, altitude and so on) about the aircraft as shown in X-Plane (which supposingly is very close to reality minus buffering period, but LiveTraffic certainly needs to interpolate between available data points).
Shows aircraft info for one or more aircraft right inside X-Plane.
Aircraft selectable by transponder code, registration, call sign, flight number, and index within LiveTraffic, or
Auto-selecting the closest aircraft in viewing direction.
Multiple a/c info windows can be opened in parallel.
LiveTraffic can send data about the aircraft it creates to others:
LiveTraffic supports TCAS display, maps and other tools, based on X-Plane's multiplayer functionality. This way is - by X-Plane's design - restricted to 19 planes and cannot transfer textual information, but is a standarized way widely supported by various tools.
Beyond the standard multiplayer functionality, LiveTraffic also offers an API for developers to read all planes and more info for each. The first plugins start using it. Developers may be interested in LTAPI, available from X-Plane.org and from GitHub.