www514 with tracking to Groom Lake

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posted on Jun, 17 2013 @ 09:30 PM
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www514

From time to time, they forget to turn off the tracking. This was one of those times.

If you go to the flightaware tracklog,
tracklog
you will see two sources of data. One being LA center, and the other being estimated. The LA center data looks real. The estimated data must be some sort of algorithm create by Flightaware to fill out the path to the known fixes in the flight plan. Remember, the Janets file to TNX (the Tonopah Test Range), even if they are going to Gromm Lake, so that causes the estimated flight plan to be weird.

Now if you look at the flight plan, it could have be a direct flight (direct as in over the range) to the Tonopah Test Range, and they diverted to Groom Lake for whatever reason. [IFE, mistake in plans, change of plans, etc. The goal at KLAS is to get off the ground, so you probably wouldn't want to give up your time slot just to file proper paperwork.] This is just a guess on my part.

I've archived the flight since eventually these links won't work. But it is more fun for people to see this on the flightaware website than one of my archives.




posted on Jun, 18 2013 @ 01:05 AM
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If you switch the flightaware map to "aviation sectional", you will see the end of tracking corresponds to a line on the map. Unfortunately, I don't see the line pattern in the aviation sectional key (legend), which you can see on skyvector.
Skyvector map
The line is the one with small dots next to it. The legend for the map is on the left side.
Legend



posted on Jun, 18 2013 @ 01:33 AM
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Because I am a stickler..."tracking" = transponder. They do not turn off their transponder unless they exit Bravo airspace; even in restricted airspace. They more than likely squak an alternate beacon code (for ATCRBS) and use an alternate MODES transponder (unlisted) once they enter the range's controlled airspace.

What Flightaware gets is data from either STARS (KLAS) or EARTS (ZLA) and that data is filtered due to the restriction of that airspace. In some cases, they may have a tap into some MircoEARTS, but those are mostly military now. ETA: Flightaware typically uses filed flight plans as their means of "tracking" an aircraft. You can see that by watching a known delayed plane and Flightaware will plot its path as if it were in the air.

All those above are the automation systems in case one isn't aware. As for their deviation from their filed flight plan; that isn't anything new. These planes typically either have an alternate flight plan they file in air or a prescribed and approved deviation.

It should also be noted that since it is restricted air space, KLAS or ZLA (barring an aircraft's height) do not control these planes. I can see if I can eek out some nondescript info from some peers on this though.

edit on 18-6-2013 by ownbestenemy because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 18 2013 @ 02:25 PM
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reply to post by ownbestenemy
 





Because I am a stickler..."tracking" = transponder. They do not turn off their transponder unless they exit Bravo airspace; even in restricted airspace. They more than likely squak an alternate beacon code (for ATCRBS) and use an alternate MODES transponder (unlisted) once they enter the range's controlled airspace.


Because I am a stickler, tracking means radar. You can be tracked on radar without a transponder. Without a transponder, the plane is a blip on the screen with no ID and worse of all, no altitude.

I never said they turn off their transponder. What we don't know is exactly how the LA Center feed is terminated on the internet tracking websites. That is, do they filter it by coordinates or beacon code. I suspect it is by beacon code.

The Groom Lake ATC procedures are well documented, just not officially documented. The flights start out with a Janet callsign from McCarran. At some point, there is a hand-off to Groom Lake approach/departure. The callsign is changed to the "callsign of the month" and the beacon code is also changed. The new squawk codes are of the format 03xx.

The Janet aircraft maintain mode-s throughout the whole flight.

Janet audio



posted on Jun, 24 2013 @ 03:31 AM
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Originally posted by gariac
Because I am a stickler, tracking means radar. You can be tracked on radar without a transponder. Without a transponder, the plane is a blip on the screen with no ID and worse of all, no altitude.


I apologize for the late reply. I meant my statement to be a question really. I work ground-radar maintenance, so terminology wise, it can be fickle. Raw radar data in this case, will be coming from ZLA (LA Center) and whatever data the test-range is willing to share.


What we don't know is exactly how the LA Center feed is terminated on the internet tracking websites. That is, do they filter it by coordinates or beacon code. I suspect it is by beacon code.


Sites such as LiveATC, etc, are using filed flight-plans to track aircraft. You have to have access to the automation system's external routers to get the raw/beacon data.


The flights start out with a Janet callsign from McCarran. At some point, there is a hand-off to Groom Lake approach/departure. The callsign is changed to the "callsign of the month" and the beacon code is also changed. The new squawk codes are of the format 03xx.


Yeah...I know....I work with them (them meaning the LAS controllers). Just not much info can be passed.



posted on Jun, 24 2013 @ 11:00 AM
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reply to post by ownbestenemy
 


You probably confused liveatc.net with flightaware.com. There is no tracking on liveatc.net. Rather they just stream scanners from volunteers.

Services like flightaware get both routing data and a feed from the FAA. If you look at the track log, some of the points are from LA center, and some are just whatever they make up, be it interpolation, guesstinatiom from the flight plan etc. However, the waypoints leading to Groom Lake are from LA center, obviously subject to Nellis control filtering.

Now if the tracking were based on the flight plan, the track would lead to the Tonopah Test Range. Remember, all the Janet flights leaving McCarran file as if they are going to the TTR, even if they are actually going to Groom Lake. The TTR is a cover or cut-out for Groom Lake. Flights to Groom Lake travel around 14kft. The TTR flights are higher. Most of the time flights to the TTR put TPH in the flightplan. But my point here is you can tell which airport the Janets are flying to based on a few clues.

I am very certain this was a flight tracked right to Groom Lake. It happens from time to time. I suspect but have no way of proving that the transponder code wasn't changed. It was a Saturday flight (i.e. non-scheduled) and somebody probably just screwed up. In the scheme of things, it is not a significant screw up.

I have the waypoints in a gdb3 and gpx format, as well as the kml from flgihtaware added to my tracking page. I will upload the data tonight.

Note that I have owned ads-b/mode-s gear for years. I am very familiar with how real tracking, i.e. ads-b or MLAT, compares with the FAA feed. Generally the FAA is pretty good. You need to watch out for services that try to (cough cough) augment the feed. That is why I suggest going to flightaware and looking at the track log, and only trust points from the FAA. I have seen these tracking websites display all sorts of nonsense with their augmented tracking. The worst is planeplotter and planefinder with the interpolation turned on. Often their plots are complete garbage. I have watched planes land on my ads-b gear only to see them keep on flying on planefinder. Flightradar24 is much better in that respect. Further, it shows live tracking if the plane is broadcasting ads-b. Fr24 also has MLAT, but mostly in the areas around Norway and Poland.



posted on Jun, 24 2013 @ 11:41 PM
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Images, KMZ, GDB and GPX files related to www514

For a quick view of the flight, you can look at



The other link has a KMZ to view the route in Google Earth. The gdb3 file is for Garmin Mapsource. The gpx file is a more universal format, but it causes a lot of headaches with browsers since it is XML. That is, the browser thinks it is a file to display rather than send to a GIS program.



posted on Jun, 26 2013 @ 01:02 AM
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reply to post by gariac
 


It was off the top of my head. Unless ZLA is sharing say, LAS's STARS feed (raw-radar and MODES data), it is all based on filed flight-plans and probably best-guesses.

I suspect even then, ZLA isn't either. That information is gold in the hands of competitors (not JANET flights obviously) and giving plot data out of raw radar/modes isn't what the FAA is in the business of.

Your post is cool and we are getting into semantics. U2U me sometime as I have unique access...



posted on Jun, 26 2013 @ 11:48 AM
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reply to post by ownbestenemy
 


Your assessment of the tracking is opinion I rather deal in facts. Note that the FAA IS in the business of selling tracking data. You don't get the fire hose for free. I don't have a recent price on the raw feed, but it isn't free. The internet companies then give the data away in part, but use all sorts of tricks to recoup the cost of the feed. But if you want to nitpick, it is not pure radar but rather a processed feed. The FAA calls the service ASDI (Aircraft Situation Display to Industry).


The ASDI data is NOT radar data. Aircraft radar positions are transmitted from ATC radar facilities around the country to the TFM hub site where they are displayed and/or updated on the ASD display used by FAA air traffic flow managers. Because of communications and data processing loads, only a subset of the radar positions from each radar facility are updated during each update cycle. Those flights that are not updated are extrapolated along their last heading, speed, and route until their next update is transmitted. Currently, the radar position for any particular flight is updated every four (4) minutes.

The reliability of the ASDI data steam is the same as it is for the FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC). The data source is the operational TFM system (with certain data filtered out as mentioned above) and is provided with no time lag. However, it should be noted that the ASDI data is provided “as is” with no special provisions built in for public release.


That is an old document, so I don't know if the data rate has been increased. I know someone that wanted to start a service similar to flightaware (which incidentally wasn't the first, but it probably the best known). It required some weird modem, i.e. the feed was not over the internet. And you had to sign all sorts of papers requiring security since it wasn't delayed.

But surely you recall the "Miracle on the Hudson" flight being tracked on flightaware.

US Airways 1549
Now how exactly did flightaware predict or best-guess a plane landing on a river?

Further, although I don't have the flightaware plot online (perhaps I saved it locally), I was able to determine Janet WWW652 lost an engine just by looking at the flightaware tracking.
Janet WWW652

As I have stated more than once, I have ads-b receivers. I know when the internet feed is accurate, and when it isn't. Thus far flightaware is the only service that at least indicates the source of the tracking. If it is not from ATC, it is a guessimate, otherwise it is pretty accurate.

Now I have seen flightaware make many mistakes. Often when a flight switches from IFR to VFR, flightaware thinks the plane has landed. Again, you need to look at the track log to see if the altitude makes sense for a landing.

As an aside, there are two ways to prevent your aircraft from being tracked on the internet. One is you file a request with the FAA to be deleted from the feed. I have FOIAd the list. The list is destroyed every month. The powers that be don't want to be watched. [Hey hey hey, it is only metadata.] The other way to stay off tracking is to file a request with every internet tracking provider. This is a lot more work, but your blocking request can't be FOIAd. At one time you had to state that you didn't want to be tracked on the internet for security reasons, and then make up some crap story about threats. You didn't have to prove you told the same story to the cops or FBI. But in the latest version of the BARR program, you can just request not to be tracked.

Some people use a different approach.They had their aircraft behind a flight ID.Rush Limbaugh for example was using a flight ID for Gamma. However I have enough resources that I can track down most people that want to hide from the internet.

My point here is the operation at Groom Lake has a number of ways in which they could stay completely off the internet. They chose not to. Now I don't know the reasoning behind that decision. Possibly it could be they didn't know they were being tracked for a while. I logged Janets for about 18 months and never published the data until someone else discovered they could be tracked and posted that on the internet. Of course then I had a pile of good data that I just dumped on the net once that secret was out. So the Janets had a ICAO ID (WWW) and were in the system. Perhaps it was decided that going dark would attract more attention.

The initial tracking was from Flytecomm. Later a service as Passur came along. They were MLAT but augmented with the FAA feed. They had their own radar tracking, and it really kicked arse. I caught N105TB showing up to Groom Lake a few times. The service was dropped from LAS, probably due to my postings.



posted on Jun, 29 2013 @ 01:34 PM
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I have seen in FlighAware that certain flights with "KTNX" designation are directed to the Tonopah Test Range Range Airport, but is this true? That is, the flights whose flight path is the Tonopah Test Range using "KTNX" designation or "TNX" code, while those heading to Groom Lake are listed as "KXTA"?

The question I have is if both the TTR as Groom are secret ubications how is possible that they publish their identification with ICAO codes flight records?
edit on 29-6-2013 by rayktheon because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 29 2013 @ 04:52 PM
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Originally posted by rayktheon
I have seen in FlighAware that certain flights with "KTNX" designation are directed to the Tonopah Test Range Range Airport, but is this true? That is, the flights whose flight path is the Tonopah Test Range using "KTNX" designation or "TNX" code, while those heading to Groom Lake are listed as "KXTA"?

The question I have is if both the TTR as Groom are secret ubications how is possible that they publish their identification with ICAO codes flight records?
edit on 29-6-2013 by rayktheon because: (no reason given)


I doubt you ever saw KXTA on flightaware, but if you have a screen shot, please post it.

TNX

Janet flights go to the the TTR and Groom. We have photographic evidence of that. But flights to Groom use the TTR as a destination in the flight plan. Since the last leg of the flight is under Nellis Control, they can get away with that.

The TTR was never a secret location. [You can make arguments that Groom Lake isn't a secret either.] The TTR appeared in FAA documents as KTNX. It was at one time designated XSD, where SD stood for Sandia. There was a non-directional beacon right at the northern edge of the base that transmitted XSD. The VOR at the TTR broadcasts TTQ, for unknown reasons. But my point is the location is not a secret, so it is good as a cover story for flights to Groom Lake.

Flight plans have used TKM once in a while for Groom Lake. This occurs on those infrequent flights between Groom Lake and the TTR. My assumption is they use TKM as a location in order to avoid confusion in the flight plan, i.e. if they used TNX all the time, then it would appear as if the flight was a round robin, i.e. a flight that departs and lands at the same airport.

XTA has no FAA significance as far as I can tell. It appears in a Honeywell database used for flight management systems. That is, they needed something like an ICAO designation for Groom Lake, so they made one up, or used one that is not designated by the FAA. Groom Lake is often called Home Plate over the radio, so they designated it XTA Homey.

I went through the Honeywell database a few years ago and logged all the Nellis related airports. They use KZ79 for the TTR, which makes no sense to me. They also added a designation for the new runways at the Yucca Lake AOF.
Nellis nav designations
This document needs to be updated. L92 was improved, but it is now only one runway (14 and 32). Yes, the same orientation as Groom Lake and the TTR, but that could be due to prevailing winds.

To see if a designation is official in the eyes of the FAA, you can go to their NOTAM website.
FAA NOTAM website
Under "NOTAM Retrival", enter the designation in the box "locations". Enter KTNX, and you will get NOTAMs for the Tonopah Test Range. Enter KXTA and it is not found.

There is an additional FAA category known as "reserved." An example is the WWW designation for the Janet flights. The FAA lists WWW as reserved. You could file a FOIA to see what entity reserved it. There are reserved aviation fixes on the Nellis range. An example would be the fix FIDOE. It was reserved for years, then eventually published.

There is a search page for the Honeywell database:
Honeywell nav database
You can also download the whole database.



posted on Jun, 29 2013 @ 10:09 PM
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KXTA airport (sort of)

You have to wonder where they got their information. Clearly they are off a bit on the runway locations.



posted on Jul, 5 2013 @ 09:46 AM
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reply to post by gariac
 


It is interesting what you say, yet I also read that when Janet Aircraft it gets closer to Groom Lake, and the plane is entering military airspace, Nellis Control communicates with the Janet to change to a callsign: "Control ". This is true? Anyway, Idon't quite understand what he said Trevor Paglem in this article:

"Once the Janet enters military airspace near Groom Lake, Nellis Center will simply clear the Janet for handoff to something called simply “control.” Nellis center approves a frequency change to the new controller, but doesn’t issue a frequency – with a nudge and a wink, the Nellis Control says in effect “I know where you’re going, and you know that I know where you’re going, and you already have the frequencies you need."

vectors.usc.edu...
edit on 5-7-2013 by rayktheon because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 5 2013 @ 11:16 PM
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reply to post by rayktheon
 


There is nothing inconsistent here. "Control" is the callsign for Groom Lake approach/departure ATC. The plane changes its callsign from Janet to the callsign of the month. These are two different things.






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