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'Flying' without leaving the ground

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Tired of flying blind?

The Internet can give you a bird's-eye view of virtually any scheduled airline flight - while it is in the air.

Of the many travel sites offering real-time flight tracking, one of the most attractive comes courtesy of CheapTickets.com, which provides discounted travel options, including flights, rental cars, hotels, resort condos, cruises and vacation packages.

That's the money-saving part.

For the entertaining part, find the FlightTracker in the Web site's Travel Resources section, one click off the home page.

Then just enter an airline and flight number.

FlightTracker will respond with a drawing of the scheduled route, scheduled departure and landing times, and cockpit-style gauges showing airspeed, heading and altitude data.

The best feature is a sizable map illustrating the plane's location. Watch as an animated version of the airliner passes over cities, mountains, lakes and other landmarks as it soars across the sky en route to its destination.

The site uses Java to display its maps, so users with faster computers and broadband connections will see the best performance.

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