Helipaddy Community, Technical

Open ADSB, Helicopter ADSB flight trackers

Flightradar24 and OpenADSB

Following on from Helipaddy’s article on aircraft ADS-B visibility, we recently discovered OpenADSB whose default data is entirely based on the much broader ADSB Exchange service. Whilst Flightradar24 is better for at “high level” commercial aircraft and their customers, ADSB Exchange captures everything including military helicopters.

GDPR Rules in Europe

[Section on GDPR added November 2022]

The General Data Protection Regulation became active in 2018 in the whole European Union and the UK. The law mandates companies to be more diligent in handling their customers’ personal data. Crucially, before any data can be processed or stored, the customers (“data subjects”) have to give their consent. Flight data are clearly personalized and should be treated as such, following the rules of the GDPR.


The app is developed by Helipaddy member Steve Kuo, an instrument-rated pilot and programmer.

Screenshot from the OpenADSB IOS app

OpenADSB is presented as an Apple-only mobile app and works well on the iPad.

The app requires a small one-off payment and is hopefully sustainable by Steve as it has no ads. The app one gives you ADSB Exchange data which is free.

OpenADSB can actually connect to any “dump1090” or “VRS” data service but it comes preconfigured using ADS-B Exchange and smoothly displays thousands of aircraft. It has fully configurable filtering, so can display only helicopters as shown on the screenshot above. You can also have it displaying emergency and military aircraft.

Go explore the app and discover all its’ features! Also, check out our Australia Landing Sites guide here, and be sure to keep an eye out for future blog posts. If you want to see the Australian landing sites in the Helipaddy App, download it here.