As pilots we know the deal. Even if you’re simply having good, legal fun and somebody decides to take offense, we might be in for an unhappy experience. If they lay eyes on our plane and can read the N-Number, well, you might be getting that phone call. But let’s face it, N-Numbers are so last millennium. These days the computers in your plane will do the job for John or Jane Q. Concerned Citizen, and they can do it even faster than a human squealer can punch numbers into his flip phone.
This has been an issue we’ve been reporting upon for a while. I reported on the FAA’s use of ADS-B data to violate pilots, and a feature story by Jeff Simon in our May issue went in depth about the way that ADS-B systems can and will broadcast our flights to the world unless you take extraordinary measures to stop them from doing that. For privacy advocates, there’s even worse news, unfortunately.