Planecaster celebrates one year of live streaming at Bristol Airport

With the recent rise in the popularity of live aviation streaming from airports, it was perhaps only a matter of time before Bristol Airport attracted the interest of aviation streamers.

Just over a year ago, Danny Corder, the founder of Planecaster decided to have a go at filling this void.

“I couldn’t see anybody streaming live from the airport on a regular basis and being inspired by the amazing streamers at other airports, I really wanted to bring this experience to Bristol Airport.”

Despite coming from a technical background he freely admits he had no idea how to reliably broadcast live from a field!

“It quickly became apparent that there were going to be several streaming attempts before I got it to an acceptable standard. Realistically though, the only way to test effectively is to broadcast, hope it works and review it after. Comments from viewers in those earlier days really helped me improve.”

If you’ve seen those early streams (and they’re still available on the YouTube channel), you’ll see these technical challenges well demonstrated!

“The amount of expense and time I’ve spent trying to get the right settings, protocols, equipment, connections, tripods, cameras etc has been astronomical and it quickly became clear this labour of love would prove to be an expensive one.”

Since establishing the channel, Danny has been keen to improve the viewer experience by introducing some realtime data visuals. Courtesy of a partnership with the makers of the popular Radarbox app, Planecaster was able to take live data from Radarbox and present it on-screen to give viewers a better idea of what they are seeing. Live arrival alerts pop up during approaches plus there are info panels to provide historic info about a particular aircraft registration.

“I always wanted the information to be relevant to the live stream. We could easily just show the Radarbox app screen and be done with it but I have a very clear vision on what I’m trying to achieve and to be honest, have only just scratched the surface of what is possible.”

According to Danny, you’ll see continuous improvements with this on streams very very soon! “Our friends at Radarbox love what we’re doing and it’s brilliant to have access to their incredible levels of data”.

Since the channel launched, subscriber and viewer numbers have grown (although Danny admits that Planecaster has a substantial way to go compared to more established and frequent streamers) but the increased visibility has meant more interaction with the airport and wider Bristol Airport Spotting community.

Pete Wright from Portishead is one such spotter and the pair quickly found that they had similar enthusiasm levels for accessing freely available data via relatively inexpensive equipment. Pete’s expertise and  substantial set-up of his own (see quickly convinced Danny that it would be possible to show actual live aircraft data on-screen for aircraft within range of the airport which perfectly accompany the live stream. Impressed with Pete’s knowledge and enthusiasm, Danny asked Pete to join a live stream and he’s now part of the Planecaster furniture.

“Not only is it brilliant having Pete to chat with as part of our commentary, having another pair of hands makes so much more stuff possible, improving production values and reliability. Pete’s also an incredibly practical engineer so if I can dream something ridiculous up, Pete never seems to be remotely phased by it!”

Planecaster Team – Danny left, Pete right

Planecaster liaises with the airport, informing them in advance of each planned live stream and introducing a small delay for security reasons.

“It’s important that we have a great relationship with the airport. They’re always aware of any broadcasts and this helps with their commitment to airport security” said Danny.

So while Bristol is clearly home for Planecaster, the channel does occasionally visit other airports. London City and London Stansted are on the visited list so far. Danny explains “The London airports, particularly Heathrow are pretty well-served by other moreestablished streamers with equipment better suited so Planecaster only really streams from other airports if life takes me in that direction at the weekend. I am keen to look at some overseas options though, so watch this space!”

So if you encounter the Planecaster team during a stream (you’ll find them mostly at Felton Common), they’re always delighted for fellow spotters to come and say hello and have a chat on-air.

“Our viewers, fellow spotters and kind supporters are the lifeblood of our channel. Pete and I could stand here all weekend broadcasting video of planes but if nobody tunes it then it’s all rather pointless. We have people tuning in every week who have been with the channel since those first dodgy streams and it’s brilliant to catch up with them during the streams. We’ve got viewers throughout the airport teams including ground crew, pilots, cabin crew, air traffic controllers and airport management and it’s just amazing to feel so valued by the airport community.”

Planecaster’s YouTube channel is free of charge and can be found at They stream most weekends from Bristol Airport and if you click the subscribe button and alert symbol, you’ll get notified whenever they go live.

Sneak peek of Planecaster’s new live graphics in testing