20210506, updated 20210910

Flight Radar 24

Most of you have probably looked at FlightRadar24 and ADS-B Exchange and have not been too impressed in regard to the value of using them in UFO research. I, for one, have not seen reports or had ideas about picking up actual anomalies on these sites. But the value of FR24 and ADS-B has been underestimated in my opinion. FR24 and its archive of data certainly helped in the study of AA2292 last February.

There are also other benefits, some which I wish we had in 1993 in Indiana. On December 2, ARTC at Chicago reported Indy Center was in emergency mode. The Quality Assurance Specialist contacted the pilot concerning this incident, but told me there was never any emergency and the incident was nothing serious. Without the pilot report or other evidence, there is no way to confirm this extensive report as a UFO incident. However, it is no coincidence that the ripple effect from this incident found its way all the way to Chicago and an unusual amount of traffic was being channeled out of the region around Indianapolis. FR24 would have showed a huge "hole" in air traffic.

With your first experience with FR24 you would have noticed a lot of "clutter" such as pesky advertising, a simpler display, a 5-minute delay when jet speeds of 400 mph would make a target location problematic (360 mph is 6 miles a minute!), and limited access. Not only that but the session was timed out. But the next-best membership fee is the Gold, 34.99/year.
With that, out go the ads, timeouts removed, and the aircraft positions are live. And you have access to a full year of data. Weather overlays and flight data is all part of the Gold version which is what we use at MADAR Operations. And you can have FR24 on 3 devices.

MADAR Operations Center (SW corner)

So we have:

1) FR24 running 24/7 on one dedicated pc. The desk-mounted 42" monitor (center) is used when we are on-duty or during alerts.  A wall-hung 20" monitor (upper left) runs 24/7 so that the radar is always known to be ready to access and record using OBS (
Open Broadcast Software) which also records incoming live audio transmissions from aircraft in the Indianapolis Center, Memphis Center, and Kansas City Center Control Zones.
2) Not used as often but FR24 on our main pc when needed for working on data or videos and not disturbing the live version.
3) Our third device is the NON-AP version used on our Ipad wired directly to a 20" monitor on a tripod for skywatches. The Op has the I-Pad but others can view the area under surveillance.

The MADAR Map - SE Illinois & Southern Indiana

use of FR24 AT skywatches is of prime interest. While tracking unidentified night vision targets, some not visible to the human eye, displaying or not displaying targets on FR24 would be very important. A visual target with a radar paint with the full data block showing the aircraft ID, altitude and speed would be important data. The lack of a radar "paint" and having a NV target would be of interest as well. While skywatches are taking place, any base-operated FR24 in the region can be zero'd-in on an area and recorded.

To be able to operate at remote skywatches one needs wifi.  The I-Pad can run on a charge for two hours or more, but one needs a hotspot such as sold by Netgear ($120) for the internet connection. Which means you need the Gold version of FR24 to connect TO. Having the hotspot means that you can also access the MADAR Map on a separate laptop. (See detailed paper on MADAR Map use).


Recently one of our node operators observed an object in the early morning with a triangular shape outlined by three white lights and a single center red light. The object was low at about 5,000 to 7000 feet and was tracking NE to SW.  It went through some maneuvers but mainly stayed on a straight and level track. The MADAR didn't activate although the sighting was only about a mile from the facility. This has happened before at other sites and many times the object just wasn't anomalous. But this time the object description puts it in the potential unknown category similar in description to the Belgian triangles during the UFO wave of 29 November 1989 to April of1990. And this wasn't near any Air Force base or test center.

We checked the spreadsheet data and there was no increase or potential anomalies in the magnetometer field readings which is how the devices are triggered. The field reading has to reach or exceed the threshold setting, which is slightly different for each node, but the readings were not even close to the TH. What WAS interesting was the compass heading had  gone way beyond the normal variations, and far in excess of the MSV (Multi Sensor Verification) 3-degree protocol. Since the device did not go on alert status, it was tracking at one minute intervals instead of one second data lines. But at 10:47:18 UTC (6:47 am) the compass heading was 64.17 degrees. The next minute it had gone to 358 degrees, which means the variation was 66 degrees (360-358+64). A compass needle would have swung counter-clockwise. If it had swung clockwise the variation would have been 294 degrees (358-64)! The next minute the heading changed back to 30.93.

A high evaluation would have been given if the device had gone into any level of alert plus the MSV of 3 degrees or more. However, this much was established. 1) The ops Flight Radar 24 showed NO FLIGHTS AT ALL! This object was not an airliner or normal aircraft. The op did the right thing by checking his FR24 during the event. 2) The compass heading change was certainly anomalous.

As a result, this Information Series was updated, and another IS on "black triangles" was put on our list of things to do.

If you would like to participated in the MADAR Project, you are certainly welcome. Please contact me at:

Fran Ridge

Information on MADAR and how to order the MADAR-III DataProbe can be found at: