Wednesday Was the Busiest Air Travel Day Ever Tracked

Flightradar24
Flightradar24

Because the skies are so expansive and airplanes fly at such high altitudes, you probably don’t spot more than a few flying machines on any given day (unless you live near an airport). So how many are actually in the sky ? On Wednesday, there were more than 225,000.

Flightradar24, a Swedish online service that monitors air traffic, tweeted that it registered more than 225,000 flights on Wednesday, July 24, between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. It’s the highest number tracked in one day since the company’s inception in 2006, Business Insider reports.

The figure comprises most aircraft, including regular commercial passenger flights as well as cargo planes, helicopters, private jets, gliders, sightseeing flights, and personal aircraft. It omits most military flights, however, which metaphorically fly under the radar.

Flightradar24 compiles data from publicly available sources that aircraft use to report position and speed. One of those sources is a traditional radar system, and the other two are newer tracking technologies called Multilateration (MLAT) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), where the in-flight transponder picks up the aircraft’s location from a GPS satellite and then transmits that information to Flightradar24’s receivers. MLAT requires four or more receivers and only works above about 3,000 to 10,000 feet, so ADS-B is the current best way to track location. It’s also the newest way, which means that not all aircraft are built with the transponder required to use it. That number is growing, though, which may be one of the reasons Flightradar24 was able to register so many flights on Wednesday.

Flightradar24 representative Ian Petchenik told Business Insider that another reason for Wednesday’s crowded skies is simply that there has been a steady rise in aircraft traffic over the years. Because of this increase, and because July and August are busy air traffic months in general, he predicted that the record could be broken again this week.

If the prospect of flying in heavy traffic makes you anxious, don’t worry: Airplanes are still the safest way to travel, and you can choose the safest seat to ease your nerves.

[h/t Business Insider]

The Most Popular Beer in Each State, Mapped

DavidPrahl/iStock via Getty Images
DavidPrahl/iStock via Getty Images

In case you were unaware: September 7 is Beer Lovers Day. While Americans hardly need a good reason to throw back a cold one, that there's an entire day dedicated to our favorite sudsy beverage makes it taste that much better. But do regional flavors impact beer preferences? That's the question VinePair, a site dedicated to our love of adult beverages, sought to answer when it created a map to find each state's favorite brand of beer. Or, at least, most states.

Though they were only able to gather data from 35 states, 22 of those states chose Bud Light as their favorite brew, making it the hands-down winner. Coors Light came out on top in three states (the mid-Atlantic region seems to enjoy the Silver Bullet) while New Glarus Brewing Company’s Spotted Cow Ale, a Wisconsin-produced beer, is the favorite brand of—you guessed it—Wisconsinites.

Does your state’s most popular beer brand match your personal preference? Check out the full map below, or visit VinePair to read more.

Get Excited for Fall With This Interactive Peak Foliage Map

Kirkikis/iStock via Getty Images
Kirkikis/iStock via Getty Images

The season of scarves, sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything is almost upon us. No matter how you feel about the end of summer, it's hard not appreciate the colorful foliage when it reaches its peak in autumn. Those red, orange, and gold leaves may be visible outside your window sooner than you think; the interactive map below from SmokyMountains.com shows you exactly when to expect them.

Fall foliage normally peaks sometime after the autumnal equinox, which falls on September 23 in 2019, but exactly when depends on variables like rainfall and temperature. Each year, the tourism website SmokyMountains.com looks at weather forecasts and historical trends from NOAA and puts together an interactive map showing when foliage is predicted peak across contiguous U.S.

Warmer temperatures have led to peak foliage occurring later in the season. In 2019, Northern New England, a place famous for its leaf-peeping, will see the brightest leaves around October 5. Peak foliage won't reach the rest of New England until October 12. Around October 26, parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oregon, and Illinois will be treated to the most spectacular leaves of the season, and in Southern states like South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, peak foliage won't begin until November 9. By November 30, the fall foliage will have passed its peak everywhere but along the Gulf coast.

By sliding the scale beneath the map, you can see when foliage is expected to peak in your part of the of the country. You can also use the tool to plan trips around the changing leaves.

"We believe this interactive tool will enable travelers to take more meaningful fall vacations, capture beautiful fall photos, and enjoy the natural beauty of autumn," Wes Melton, the site's data scientist and CTO, said in a statement. "Our nationwide fall foliage prediction map is unique—it is one of the only fall leaf tools that provides accurate predictions for the entire continental United States."

If you can't pick just one destination to take in the foliage this fall, you don't have to—a train ride or a road trip are some of the best ways to see as much of it as possible.

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