Following the Ryanair diversion to Fiumicino by means of ADS-B

An increasing number of aircraft enthusiasts and spotters around the world have been using receivers portable Mode-S/ADS-B receiving station and relative software for real-time tracking of flights on a sort of radar screen. Mode-S employs airborne transponders to provide altitude and identification data, while ADS-B adds global navigation data typically obtained from a GPS receiver. An aircraft equipped with such systems periodically broadcasts position and other relevant information to potential ground stations and other aircraft with ADS-B; a solution similar to the Automatic Identification System (AIS), used by ships and Vessel Traffic Services.
A few websites give the visitors the possibility to track flights flying in Europe, N. America, Asia and Australia, by means of many remote stations (something similar to the cloud computing). On Apr. 11, 2010, just before midnight, I was following the tracks of the flights landing in Rome Fiumicino and Ciampino airports at http://www.flightradar24.com/. The weather was poor. My attention was struck by a weird callsign: @@@@@@@@. It was obviously an error, but when I selected the aircraft I saw that it was a Ryanair B737-800, with registration EI-DCP, that was about to land in Rome Fiumicino after (according to the track that you can see below) attempting twice to land in Ciampino in bad weather. Noteworthy, most probably to wait for the weather to improve, the aircraft, after the first missed approach headed SW  over the Tyrrhenian sea.

About David Cenciotti 4037 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.