In aviation,
ACARS (/ˈeɪkɑrz/; an acronym for Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) is a digital datalink system for transmission of short messages between aircraft and ground stations via airband radio or satellite.

ACARS can be used with an RTL-SDR USB dongle to decode the messages and it's just plain cool.

ACARS for linux can be downloaded from

How I installed was to place the downloaded file in a directory called acars

cd acars

tar xvf acarsdeco2_x86_64_20150718.tgz

then you can launch the program with this command (make sure your SDR dongle is plugged in):

./acarsdeco2 --gain 38.6 --freq-correction 64 --freq 131550000 --freq 131725000 --http-port 8080 --vrs-url --udp --net 30008

now open a browser and go to this address

and this is what you'll see:

desktop 1_005

and this is what appears in the terminal as well as in the browser

desktop 1_006

Then just sit back and watch the aircraft go by and the messages that are generated.