The Pi Plane Project – 1. Introduction




The Pi Plane Project

A summary for the attention deprived

The Pi Plane Project tracks planes that fly over my house; records a short video – and uploads the video clips onto the web.

You can see the latest overhead fly-overs here; and the closest aerial visits here

This is a result of a lot of tinkering; and a curious need of mine to combine my love of electronics, programming and aviation.


The Basic Theory

Pi Plane Picture Overview

A summary for the curious


Commercial aircraft in Australia periodically transmit their location and their altitude.  Aircraft with the ADS-B  system determine their position using GPS; and then broadcast that position along with identity string, altitude (plus other bits such as speed).

Using some inexpensive components, we can build a receiver to listen to these ADS-B signals to track these aircraft as they fly overhead.   Using a bit of spunky maths, a bit of electro-mechanical tinkering and a few elastic bands I built a system to determine where in the sky these planes are; point a camera to them and track their movement whilst recording a short video of the flyby.

The videos are pushed onto a website; along with basic information such as aircraft type and destination.  This flight information is textually overlaid onto the video.

The videos and metdata are stored in a database; and a dynamic public web site allows the curious to see a short video of planes and magic carpets flying over my home

A trip to Canberra and skiing

Elise turns 4

They grow up soooo fast.  Elise is now 4!


A couple of days in Paris

Two days spent in Paris before we headed home.  Here are some photos covering Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Eiffel Tower and finally the fabulous Jardin du Luxembourg.


The Porspoder tractor festival

It sounds like a joke title, but really the town of Porspoder closes the street to parade their proud collection of historic tractors.


Ile d’Ouessant

A day spent cycling around the island of Ouessant. The island has a population of 900 people and most people just get around by bike.

Nicholas cycled the entire 10km himself, and Elise retired to her “princess carriage” to complete the journey in style.



More Loire Valley

Loire Valley additional photos

Châteaux in the Loire Valley

Some Loire Valley photos


Random Brittany photos

Random Brittany photos.  It’s not always sunny (300 days of rain a year apparently) plus some of the local charches

Nicho sailing and scenery

Nicholas had no trouble learning to sail (complete French tuition to add to the difficulty).  Plus a few sunset photos of the coastline.