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Aircraft Databases

Old 5th Jan 2020, 04:18
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Aircraft Databases

Can anyone recommend an alternative to Freebird Aviation Database? I have subscribed for several years and although I found the scope of content good I now find that the admins are unresponsive. Is it still operating?
Fris B. Fairing is online now  
Old 11th Jan 2020, 13:55
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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I can suggest two others that I have experience with ...

Aerodata Quantum (or simply 'ADQ' or just 'Aerodata') is an exceptionally comprehensive database and logging system. There is an up-front cost, and then a yearly subscription, and there are regular updates (at least weekly, quite often it is more than 1 per week). Full details on their web-site.
A friend uses it heavily, and swears by it. I used it for 2 years or so and found a few things that I wasn't happy about (*) and eventually stopped using it.

(*) - when I entered all my sightings I would then spend ages adding all sorts of notes for each aircraft - names, unit marks, colours, special marks, and so on - and then when it came time to add them to the database I discovered that I'd already seen all the aircraft and my time had been wasted!
I was also not happy with the human interface - tabbing between fields and buttons was not logical.
One part that was useful was the ability to create a report for any given location showing what was based there, so you could create some sort of checklist before you went - handy for smaller airfields or museums, but not so handy for major world airports.


From Aerodata I moved on to Planebase, which was (and still is) free. The creators have put a lot of work into getting their data correct, but it is obvious from the way it is all constructed that they are more interested in biz-jets than anything else. It's a few years since I stopped using Planebase, but I seem to remember that their coverage was not as comprehensive as Aerodata. One of my reasons for stopping with Planebase was my inability to find a lot of stuff that I was looking for. In a number of cases I could see airframes within the database (I had the ability to look at the database without using the interface/screens) but I could not find them via the screens.
My 'niggle' with Aerodata wasn't repeated in Planebase - I'd enter a long list of sightings from a day out, it would tell me which ones I needed, and then I could add sighting details for just those few. A much better solution for me.
For the past year or so they have changed the 'sign up' process so that you need to be recommended by an existing user (it's all detailed on the front page of their web-site), but as I don't know anybody who uses the software I can't see me going back to it in the forseeable future.

Both systems can be interfaced with various ADSB systems, if that's your thing.

I'm still on the look-out for an alternative, but everything that I've seen so far either doesn't really cover what I want, or is an on-line system.
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Old 11th Jan 2020, 23:33
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Thanks Geezers for taking the trouble to respond in such detail. I had a look at Aerodata but unfortunately it's outside my price range.
Given the ratio of replies to views I gather that others are finding the solution elusive.
Rgds
Fris B. Fairing is online now  
Old 12th Jan 2020, 08:16
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Having used a number of databases over the last 30+ years, both professionally and for private interest, I long ago reached the conclusion that you get what you pay for (sometimes several Łk). I've used Aerodata for much of that time and if you can justify the cost, it's excellent value for money.
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Old 12th Jan 2020, 20:05
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Dave
Many thanks for your good advice.
Rgds
Fris B. Fairing is online now  
Old 27th Mar 2021, 11:55
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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As one of the 'unresponsive' FreeBird Admins I am somewhat bewildered by this message. Firstly because our volunteer project normally ensures a response within 24 hours, and secondly because we do not appear to have 'lost' any Australian subscribers in the past year, something to be thankful for given the current pandemic.
Indeed we lost a subscriber from the Gold Coast around 5 years ago. Said person was disgruntled by the fact that we moved our database on-line, for the convenience of our users, with the side effect that our data could no longer be plundered.

If, at this much later stage, you would like to send a message to [email protected], I will ensure a reply within 24 hours
s-ray007 is offline  
Old 27th Mar 2021, 12:02
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That is an interesting opinion.
Aerodata as we know it was the old Atlantic and then Pacific Database that was written by Barry Stuart who, during a moment of financial need, sold the database in its entirety to the late Bernie Parsons. By creating a partnership with Air-Britain, which I believe was later regretted on the A-B side, a large number of A-B users were persuaded to subscribe to a very expensive product, which they were then locked into (and presumably still are!)

So if you actually believe that 'you get what you pay for' with Aerodata, better to reach out to the current Pacific Database, which is engineered in a similar fashion, by the original pioneer, and presumably a lot cheaper
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Old 27th Mar 2021, 17:46
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Interesting response to the OP, though possibly not worth waiting a year for.

Perhaps they have a point.
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Old 27th Mar 2021, 21:18
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s-ray007
The problem was resolved many months ago when I renewed my subscription to FreeBird. My only remaining gripe is that there is no advance warning of the subscription expiring. Otherwise all is good.
Regards
Fris B. Fairing is online now  
Old 29th Mar 2021, 08:17
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Originally Posted by Fris B. Fairing View Post
s-ray007
The problem was resolved many months ago when I renewed my subscription to FreeBird. My only remaining gripe is that there is no advance warning of the subscription expiring. Otherwise all is good.
Regards
Just to clear up 'unresponsive admin' is actually 'admin that won't do what I want' ?The former of course reads as something of a sleight which, when posted in a public forum gives an inaccurate impression and is a little unfair.
If we were to accede to the requests of all of our users, we would not have time to go out to work in our proper jobs and earn the money to pay our mortgage and feed our families. You will struggle to find any database, even the ones who extract a living from it, that will accede to all user requests.
FreeBird users can appraise themselves of their renewal date by simply pressing the 'User details' button on their Main Menu. This is also detailed on Page 10 of the User Guide, something that all users are encouraged to read.
However, you will be pleased to know, and may even have noticed, that a reminder is now sent to all users with subscriptions expiring in the following month
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