The top 5 flight tracking apps in the iOS App Store

Nearly all our gamers use a flight tracking app as a companion to Skyjacker, our location-based AR airplane game. Being able to see airplanes about to depart your local airport and being able to see incoming airplanes outside the game's radar range before they become visible in your AR Binoculars can give you the edge over rival skyjackers! 

We pulled together a list of our top 5 flight tracking apps, available right now in the iOS store. Pick a perfect companion for your Skyjacker game. 


RadarBox24 | Free Flight Tracker and Live ATC
AirNav Systems

Turn your Phone into a Flight Radar displaying real-time flights around the world and listen to pilot communications in real-time. Discover today why countless people are already using Radar-Box24! Radar-Box24 has been developed by Aviation Professionals including Airline Pilots. Data comes in...

Genre: Travel
Version: 3.4
Released: April 01, 2014

Plane Finder - Flight Tracker
pinkfroot limited

Plane Finder tracks planes in real time around the world. Watch live moving planes on a worldwide map or use the camera AR view to ID planes above you. You can even play back past flights – all the way back to 2011. The Plane Finder app launched in 2009 and was the first live flight tracking app...

Genre: Navigation
Version: 9.4.1
Released: November 03, 2009

Flightradar24 | Flight Tracker
Flightradar24 AB

“The Facebook of Aviation” — Wall Street Journal #1 app in over 130 countries Turn your iPhone or iPad into a live flight tracker and see planes around the world move in real-time on a detailed map. Or point your device at a plane to find out where it’s going and what kind of aircraft it is....

Genre: Travel
Version: 7.0.4
Released: July 21, 2010

FlightAware Flight Tracker

Free, live flight tracker and flight status from FlightAware for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch! This app allows you to track the real-time flight status and tracking map of any commercial flight worldwide. It can also track general aviation (private, charter, etc) in the United States and...

Genre: Travel
Version: 5.3.5
Released: June 04, 2009

FlightStats, Inc.

FlightStats is a free real-time flight status and airport tracking application for iPhone and Apple Watch. Take control of your day-of-travel by downloading FlightStats: - Quickly access worldwide flight status by flight number, airport or route - Watch flights as they move across the world on...

Genre: Travel
Version: 2.6.1
Released: December 18, 2012

And of course, if you haven't already started your skyjacking career, download "Skyjacker – We Own the Skies" from the iOS App Store.

Skyjacker – We Own the Skies
51st Parallel Ltd

Grab your shades and become the most notorious skyjacker in the world in this augmented-reality strategy game! Use your radar scanner and binoculars to find airplanes flying near you. Keep your cool as you divert flights, make demands and battle it out to unlock achievements wherever you fly in the world.

Genre: Games
Version: 1.1.0
Released: June 15, 2017

Q&A with Brendan I. Koerner (who wrote the book on Skyjacking)



Brendan I. Koerner is a contributing editor at Wired and wrote "The Skies Belong to Us – Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking". Of course, we read the book whilst researching our main theme for the game, but it was quite a surprise when Brendan signed up to help beta test.

So, eventhough he's been testing and giving feedback on the game for us (along with the rest of the Beta Crew), we hounded Brendan with some questions...

You wrote The Skies Belong to Us, which covers a fascinating period in aviation history! What inspired you to write the book?

Back in October 2009, I read a brief New York Times article about a man named Luis Armando Peña Soltren, a Puerto Rican nationalist who'd hijacked a plane from New York to Havana in 1968. He then spent the next 41 years living in Cuba before voluntarily returning to the U.S.; the newspaper story was about the fact he'd been arrested while getting off his flight at JFK Airport. I was stunned that I'd never heard of this guy before--his crime was so spectacular, and I've also always been attracted to stories about fugitives and exiles. So I started to look into his background, and thus realized that his crime wasn't all that unusual for that era--in fact, hijackings used to take place on a near weekly basis in the U.S. As someone who couldn't remember a time when airports didn't have metal detectors and X-ray machines, I was stunned that hijacking had once been a routine affair. And thus began my grand obsession...

How did you find out about the Skyjacker Beta and what were your initial thoughts?

I was actually trying to use Google to locate a particular mention of my book, and up popped the Skyjacker website. For obvious reasons, I was highly intrigued! I dashed off an email to y'all and asked to join the beta; little did I know how many hours I'd end up spending on the game over the next few weeks.

It looks like you played the Beta quite a lot, what is it about the game that keeps players coming back? What was your strategy?

As something of an aviation geek due to my skyjacking research, I loved hunting for flights to esoteric airports. I figured out early on that you need to fly vast distances to random places in order to rack up the maximum number of points. And so my strategy was very focused on testing the game during times when I know lots of international flights head out of JFK and Newark airports--especially flights to Asia, as those tend to have the greatest points potential. I got the biggest kick out of snagging a plane and redirecting it to somewhere in Tajikistan or Burundi--and so did my 9-year-old son, who's a geography nerd and loved learning all the airport codes.

Your Skyjacker name is Dayton Wells, is there a story behind this?

I was trying to picture what my skyjacker would look like in real life, and I kept picturing an ex-baseball player named David Wells--a portly, mustachioed guy who always looked like he was coming off a bender. I can't remember quite why I subbed in the first name "Dayton," but it does give the character a more Marlboro Man edge.

Anything else you'd like to mention for the record?!

Nope, I'm good!


Well fair enough. 

Skyjacker - We Own the Skies is available on the iOS App Store right now. Download it today and see if you can spot Dayton Wells in the skies above you!




Skyjacker – Made in Croydon

Croydon Aerodrome, which was situated about 9 miles south of central London, opened on 29 March 1920 and became London's main airport boasting the first ever air traffic control tower. Direct routes to Paris, Rotterdam and Amsterdam were flown on a daily basis and Croydon was adopted as the base for Imperial Airways (later to become British Airways who still use callsign "Speedbird" based on the Imperial Airways logo). Croydon Aerodrome closed in 1959 due to lack of expansion options and flight operations were moved to nearby Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

I wouldn't say that Croydon Aerodrome is the main reason that we decided to build Skyjacker in Croydon, but it's great to work in a place that has it's place in aviation history. 

So why did we base ourselves in Croydon? Well, there are some obvious reasons. I live in South East London, so the commuting is quick, easy and against the London bound crew. And Rob lives in Croydon - ok, so it was a no brainer.

But less obvious is the a thriving tech and artist community in Croydon. There are loads of small business with great ideas based here and it's brilliant to be amongst them. We found out about TMRW, a pretty sweet (as in super awesome!) tech hub set up by Francois Mazoudier and his team, and decided to move in this January. The hub is a great community, with 1 man bands coding VR flight simulators and games, a superstar vlogger with 1m followers, deep-tech audio app for medical use, allergy Apps builders, to 25 people scaleups working with Samsung on the future of Connected Cars. Come and join us. There's more info about TMRW hub at

5 months since we moved in, we're ready to launch our first app. Proudly "Made in Croydon". 

"Skyjacker - We Own the Skies" launches exclusively on iOS App Store on 15 June. See you in the Skies!



Beta Crew Hall of Fame!

Without our intrepid Beta Crew, the game would not be as solid as it is today. With our testing team, we've captured and squashed bugs, patched holes in our airport and airplane data around the world, balanced the game, added improvements, built a backlog of feature releases to come after initial launch, seen various interesting strategies emerge, had some intense rivalry (looking at you Porkrind & Venom) and generally had a lot of fun on Slack. Thanks guys!

Now we're a couple of weeks away from launch on 15 June, we're going to soon be resetting the game and our Beta testers will be helping us test improvements to the on-boarding story and trying to break our servers (and Rob) with load testing. So to mark the end of Beta competition, I thought we would grab a few interesting stats, and display the leaderboard, you know, for posterity. No doubt these names will be popping up on the live leaderboard in June. 

Beta Crew were testing in
32 countries


23,087 airplanes were skyjacked

10.3 average sessions per day

1/3 of the Beta Crew played 6-7 days a week

Beta Crew Hall of Fame

Position Name City Country Total Pts Skyjackings Avg.Pts / Skyjack
1 CrapBag Croydon United Kingdom 202514 814 249
2 blu Menomonee Falls United States 184536 737 250
3 Smay Reigate United Kingdom 184375 1445 128
4 D. Michael Muscat Oman 180955 547 331
5 Batesy Liverpool United Kingdom 155801 1154 135
6 Porkrind Santa Barbara United States 146448 755 194
7 ALKIL47 Ascot United Kingdom 142996 608 235
8 Sebastian Aldershot United Kingdom 140131 362 387
9 Alif ID Jakarta Indonesia 132873 1035 128
10 The Colonel London United Kingdom 131118 849 154
11 Pablo Icebar Paddington United Kingdom 114036 986 116
12 Venom Oxnard United States 112840 399 283
13 Thormann Santo Domingo Dominican Republic 89890 660 136
14 iamjustin Cupertino United States 71866 539 133
15 BC92 North Melbourne Australia 68453 449 152
16 PlaneSquatta London United Kingdom 64577 305 212
17 Money Oakville Canada 61604 404 152
18 Blade26 Clinton United States 59220 406 146
19 Ian C56 Croydon United Kingdom 51333 189 272
20 Carlos747 Borehamwood United Kingdom 49821 216 231
21 thisgoff Edlesborough United Kingdom 47232 215 220
22 Reveljack Nottingham United Kingdom 46470 387 120
23 Dr.Gordyn Westminster United States 40718 355 115
24 D.B. Pooper Satellite Beach United States 38107 301 127
25 Elias Mill Valley United States 37639 132 285
26 Pushy Castro Valley United States 36305 170 214
27 SpenceMan01 Owatonna United States 34362 251 137
28 A.Airheart United Kingdom 34049 194 176
29 Tygil Yangon Myanmar 32166 194 166
30 Wolf South Bend United States 31070 271 115
31 Jim West Islington United Kingdom 30964 282 110
32 Rohan United States 30200 281 107
33 ShaneBonchi Philadelphia United States 29589 272 109
34 Willdogg London United Kingdom 29540 179 165
35 sawsham Anaheim United States 27818 210 132
36 Soham Pune India 27160 159 171
37 M�_d��x United States 26403 184 143
38 Norm Hove United Kingdom 22321 152 147
39 TwistMyMind Stoney Creek Canada 21071 185 114
40 Viktor Vente Ilkeston United Kingdom 19925 184 108
41 FORMA Cardiff United Kingdom 19825 111 179
42 O-BeenLandin United Kingdom 19324 126 153
43 bnewman United States 17955 285 63
44 Dayton Wells New York United States 17587 116 152
45 Mark Orlando United States 17364 194 90
46 Galnet Cumnock United Kingdom 16848 134 126
47 XenosLoki United States 16079 113 142
48 Squidchu Herndon United States 16026 141 114
49 Brendan Bronx United States 16022 122 131
50 Goose Paddington United Kingdom 15264 170 90
51 itwasdacntlr Northport United States 15239 135 113
52 whoetbe La Colle France 14274 232 62
53 Gaddafi London United Kingdom 13120 85 154
54 Wendy London United Kingdom 13103 81 162
55 Tedmar Cincinnati United States 12735 108 118
56 Jacky Wandsworth United Kingdom 12715 194 66
57 Asheso80 Glace Bay Canada 12470 45 277
58 DillDogg United Kingdom 12326 102 121
59 APMF Granite Bay United States 11583 40 290
60 iTek Essert France 11146 104 107
61 DMW Islington United Kingdom 10229 82 125
62 AH Yangon Myanmar 9444 88 107
63 King Patte Mannheim Germany 9180 88 104
64 Marmelicious Almere Netherlands 9062 74 122
65 iTzRody Saint Cloud United States 8206 104 79
66 Mess Petaling Jaya Malaysia 7603 48 158
67 ethan182 Zephyrhills United States 7236 79 92
68 Baivox Worcester United Kingdom 7081 68 104
69 Pennywise Cobham United Kingdom 7080 18 393
70 Tyfoon Wandsworth United Kingdom 7002 70 100
71 Wide Perth Amboy United States 6706 64 105
72 Langinator3 Minneapolis United States 6668 32 208
73 kawfey United States 6429 74 87
74 Kiaviad Matawan United States 6176 51 121
75 EnglishLion Chatham United Kingdom 6118 56 109
76 Alpha Charleston United States 6005 57 105
77 Harold Kidbrooke United Kingdom 5984 36 166
78 Toxic Eltham United Kingdom 5145 43 120
79 3/24/2017 Orlando United States 5049 51 99
80 Thomas W Bemidji United States 4913 31 158
81 Ositari Los Angeles United States 4624 37 125
82 Tam France 4593 64 72
83 Roenbaeck Valdemarsvik Sweden 4394 65 68
84 Felixa2002 Montr̩al Canada 4267 59 72
85 Justin Canoga Park United States 3831 56 68
86 VOBlxze Silver Spring United States 3743 35 107
87 Bambi Wandsworth United Kingdom 3614 32 113
88 allanak United States 3584 48 75
89 Ronjr1255 United States 3430 45 76
90 Kurokawa Babylon United States 3116 35 89
91 Milhouz United States 3047 23 132
92 Phaoast Montr̩al Canada 3018 16 189
93 Marcus Orlando United States 2843 20 142
94 Terry_Wrist London United Kingdom 2841 31 92
95 Phezzy Singapore Singapore 2702 35 77
96 Kirito Menlo Park United States 2700 41 66
97 Gabriel United States 2683 33 81
98 Kennedy New York United States 2527 37 68
99 Soxi Cyprus 2513 25 101
100 Aeternal Asheville United States 2459 31 79
101 TheWarrior9 Goldsboro United States 2316 19 122
102 Andre Varzea Paulista Brazil 2237 32 70
103 Askea Birmingham United States 2135 24 89
104 ChamceC8 Lawndale United States 2129 32 67
105 Happy Viborg Denmark 2120 20 106
106 Badnews Red Deer Canada 2075 17 122
107 BlindSpot London United Kingdom 1893 21 90
108 david Madrid Spain 1732 31 56
109 Noah Surrey Canada 1613 9 179
110 cydetraq United States 1588 12 132
111 JackMehoff Genoa City United States 1579 16 99
112 Zicozak London United Kingdom 1563 23 68
113 skyzack Maplewood United States 1536 19 81
114 Rangee Modesto United States 1503 30 50
115 Shouri Marina United States 1427 30 48
116 Duda44 G̦d Hungary 1362 16 85
117 Skyhacker London United Kingdom 1281 17 75
118 Pork Rind Santa Barbara United States 1280 19 67
119 Ella Myanmar 1199 10 120
120 Alex Hornsey United Kingdom 1129 22 51
121 Daveyc2k2 London United Kingdom 1093 18 61
122 Snorkmaiden London United Kingdom 1070 17 63
123 Vbence Budapest Hungary 1056 5 211
124 Xasaec Hamilton Canada 1021 13 79
125 TotalyNotHax Winchester United States 1015 8 127
126 Switch Seattle United States 983 16 61
127 Gwtm Kolkata India 950 6 158
128 alpdmrel Turkey 898 16 56
129 Julian Middlesbrough United Kingdom 882 7 126
130 Olivier Paris France 861 19 45
131 Nick Banbury United Kingdom 831 15 55
132 Will Cheyney London United Kingdom 819 4 205
133 Brudley Hampstead United Kingdom 815 15 54
134 SpGamerLive Eden Prairie United States 804 11 73
135 Maverick51 United Kingdom 771 18 43
136 Snowflake Algonquin United States 766 10 77
137 William Duluth United States 754 11 69
138 Kyle88 Crystal Lake United States 745 7 106
139 MarFlight24 Orlando United States 688 7 98
140 Monkeymanfir Fort Lauderdale United States 682 12 57
141 TheOnlyTim Bergkamen Germany 672 10 67
142 Barberosa Augusta United States 608 6 101
143 Jamie Bolton United Kingdom 598 16 37
144 Ejohnson9912 Libertyville United States 597 13 46
145 Tater United States 591 6 99
146 -!- Zephyrhills United States 576 9 64
147 H3XL0K Albany United States 483 6 81
148 Ferranator London United Kingdom 476 9 53
149 DarksideOwns Curitiba Brazil 450 13 35
150 gudaplay Shizuoka Japan 449 5 90

Thanks again to the Beta Crew. Hope you'll stick with us to test new gameplay features and upgrades to Skyjacker as we build them!

Missed the Beta, but want to play Skyjacker?
We'll be live in iOS App Store on June 15. See you then!

Porkrind, a profile of a modern day Skyjacker

There’s a skyjacking epidemic happening right now. Over the past weekend, 3,981 flights were commandeered, diverted and landed at airports all around the world, earning players huge sums of cash and notoriety. The new augmented reality game, Skyjacker, is now in Beta and game testing is in full swing. 

We caught up with Porkrind, who has been topping the leaderboard for (very nearly) the whole time, and asked a few questions!


Even though you don't need a pilot's licence to play, 'Porkrind' flies helicopters so he seems pretty well qualified to be a skyjacker.    

Even though you don't need a pilot's licence to play, 'Porkrind' flies helicopters so he seems pretty well qualified to be a skyjacker.


'Porkrind' tops the table in the first weekend of Skyjacker Beta testing (looks like he got a headstart on Venom)!

'Porkrind' tops the table in the first weekend of Skyjacker Beta testing (looks like he got a headstart on Venom)!

1. Porkrind! How did you hear about Skyjacker and become part of the Beta program?
Because I thought it would make me popular with the ladies*, I set up a Raspberry Pi to function as an ADS-B receiver, tracking the identification and location signal nearly all aircraft transmit these days. I don’t recall exactly how I heard of Skyjacker, but it would have to have been in one of the various support forums for people building similar projects (Reddit, ADSBexchange, FlightAware). Someone posted a link to the signup page, and I am nothing if not a sucker for beta software and a good bug tracking tool. I believe the guys at Skyjacker HQ must have been amused by my blatant lies and pandering when reviewing my application. The $20 I attached to my file must have helped too.

*It did not. My wife was especially displeased by the new antenna clipped to the front of the house (made of half a beer can, no less).


2. Are you into airplanes, games or augmented reality?

Yes! I am a perpetual student pilot (got some helicopter time last week, was not pretty) and spend a lot of time on aviation related pursuits. A good chunk of my career to date has been in the gaming business, both traditional board games as well as iOS gaming. I’m currently doing program development work for clients in the VR-MR-AR space, so you could say I have interest there as well.


3. Everyone wants to beat Porkrind! Whats the story behind your Skyjacker name?

Who doesn’t love pork rinds? Way back at what now feels like the dawn of the internet (it wasn’t), ‘porkrind’ seemed funny, was available as a username everywhere, and was quick to type. I only regret not getting when I had the chance.


4. Which of your skyjackings has been your biggest earner so far?

I diverted a flight to PVG, Shanghai Pudong for a whopping 887 points, or $44,350 Skydollars. Also was a new airplane, a 787-9. I ‘grabbed’ it right after takeoff from LAX so I had to wait 14 hours for the result, but it was worth it. I got up I think at 2am my time just to see.


5. What feature are you itching to see in Skyjacker?

I very badly want to be able to take over a flight that’s already been skyjacked. My nemesis on the scoreboard, Venom, lives about 50 miles closer to LAX than I do and as such, I see his flights go overhead all the time. I’m also looking forward to hiring spotters in other locations. I’ve nearly exhausted all the local flights, and many of the high-scoring long haul flights from LAX pass too far to the south of me.


6. Anything else you’d like to mention for the record?

I have a layover at Heathrow next week. Venom had better watch out.


Skyjacker Beta testing continues and you can sign up on today. New skyjackers are invited to test on a weekly basis with an expected full release into app stores in May.

The day in 1973 that changed air travel forever

On 5th January 1973 air travel changed forever, for the better. From this day every passenger who flew by airplane had to be security screened before they boarded their flight and these procedures have been improving year-by-year to make travelling by air as safe as possible. These security rules were a long time coming as airlines had been resistant to screening, as they thought this might dampen the rapid growth of air travel. However by 1972, everyone agreed something had to be put in place because in years prior to this the US experienced a "skyjacking epidemic".


Looks familiar, but security screenings massively deterred deluded wannabe skyjackers

Looks familiar, but security screenings massively deterred deluded wannabe skyjackers




As Brendan I. Koerner notes in his excellent best-selling book "The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking", nearly 160 US airplanes were hijacked by desperate and deluded individuals between May 1961 and January 1973. Airport security was so lax, that opportunists simply walked up, bought a ticket, boarded a airplane and commandeered it. Most skyjackers demanded money and safe passage to Cuba. Every single one got caught or arrested apart from one individual named DB Cooper who's story is known by every aviation enthusiast in the world.


Our game, Skyjacker, harks back to the late 60's and early 70's allowing the gamer to commandeer airplanes and battle it out with other skyjackers worldwide in a bid to become the most notorious in the world. When you play Skyjacker, you earn money and notoriety based on how far you fly, which airplanes you commandeer and what airport you choose to land at, and there's not an x-ray scanner in sight. 


Skyjacker is now out on Beta, so if you're an opportunist with a smart phone, signup at

For more about skyjacking and the advent of security measures, read this great article:

Otherwise, enjoy Charlton Heston smoking a pipe in the trailer for the 1972 film "Skyjacked"...

Tracking the world’s airplanes in real-time

Skyjacker is part of a relatively new genre of games called "mixed-reality gaming" where real life events, in our case live flights, cross over from real to fantasy and provide the input and realism for the game.


Skyjacker uses real-time data from flights operating around the world. Wherever a gamer is located in the world, they can point their phone at the sky and find and interact with airplanes flying nearby. These real flights are displayed in the game and can then be commandeered and even diverted, with players gaining points and notoriety dependent on the type of airplane they choose and which airport they decide to land the plane. Skyjacker is a location-based game making the entire world the game space with players from different countries and continents battling it out for the same airplanes as they fly to their destinations. 


Flight tracking apps such as Plane Finder and FlightRadar24 have allowed us see where airplanes are heading. Skyjacker will let gamers say "Yep, I'll have that one!".    

Flight tracking apps such as Plane Finder and FlightRadar24 have allowed us see where airplanes are heading. Skyjacker will let gamers say "Yep, I'll have that one!".


So where does flight data come from?

Amazingly much of this data is provided by thousands of enthusiasts worldwide who constantly upload their data to various flight data aggregators who then map out the world's air traffic. For less than £100, anyone can erect an antenna, install some software and 'see' aircraft flying in their vicinity. There are a number of different ways to do this, ranging from professional tracking receivers to building your own receivers


In the next few years, worldwide data coverage will become more reliable as initiatives such as Global Space-Based ADS-B systems are launched and come online. Better tracking of airplanes is useful for airlines to monitor their fleets, airports to plan operations, give customers more up to date information, keeping enthusiasts happy and allowing gamers to skyjack more airplanes!

Gamesparks: A backend for indie game developers

When we decided we were going to build a game we knew we would be short on time. The last thing we wanted to do was spend loads of time building a backend. Not only were we conscious of time, but we also wanted to focus on the unique and exciting aspects of the game. That's where the fun is after all! So we searched for a service that could provide us with the standard features our game would need. Some things we were looking for were battles, virtual currencies and in app purchases. It turned out there are a few game backend services on the market, and the one chose to go with was Gamesparks.


A very appealing feature of Gamesparks was the Indie and Student Programme. Luckily for us, being a team of less then than 3 people, we meet the criteria for the programme. That means until we reach 100,000 monthly active players we don't have to pay a penny. It's only if and when the game becomes successful that we have to worry about the cost.


So far, there seems to be a good community behind Gamesparks. It's only early for us and I've only posted a couple of question on the forum, but both have received very useful answers. It has to be said that the documentation can be a bit on thin side, which increases the importance of the helpful people out there.


Cloud code
Gamesparks uses something they call Cloud Code. All that really means is that you write, save and run code directly on Gamesparks, it never touches your local machine. The platform offers a means for version control and automated testing of Cloud Code, although I've found these to be far less feature complete than the tools I am used to in my usual local development work flow. 

So far, so good. Hopefully we reach 100,000 monthly active users and start paying Gamesparks some money!