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What's "Spotting" About?  
User currently offlineCramos From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 554 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 3 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 5509 times:

I've been thinking about taking up spotting aircraft as a hobby. What is this hobby all about? What does one do? Do you identify registrations of aircraft? Any "equipment" needed for such a hobby? Where are some good websites on this hobby?

I've always liked to look at airplanes, so I guess we have all done spotting in some form or another, but maybe there's something more to it. Thanks for your replies.


13 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineManzoori From UK - England, joined Sep 2002, 1516 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (13 years 3 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5485 times:

Ahhh the $64k question!

Well IMHO Spotting is different things to different people.

Some people take along nothing more than a pair of binoculars and a notebook, taking down registration numbers of all the aircraft they've seen.

Others take it a stage further and buy scanners to listen in on radio traffic and maybe even a computer programme dedicated to logging all the aircraft movements data.

Others do it differently, and carry with them cameras to capture the image of the aircraft, either in flight (Approach and take-off) or on the ground (Taxiing and at the stand).

And then there's the really dedicated bunch who do all of the above!  Wink/being sarcastic

Personally I'm in love with flight in general, and if I do go to an airport it's with a Camera with a big zoom and several rolls of film. I simply take pictures of aircraft. For me, the history of the aircraft, or it's registration or where it's just come from (or going) have no real interest, I just want to capture the image, and try to make it as good as possible. If they're good enough I will try to upload them to this site.

There's no such thing as the typical spotter... in fact I probably don't even qualify as a spotter by my own criteria, so let's just say I'm an 'Aviation Enthusiast'!

Hope that helps,

 Wink/being sarcastic

Flightlineimages DOT Com Photographer & Web Editor. RR Turbines Specialist
User currently offlineCramos From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 554 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (13 years 3 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5445 times:

Sounds like a great attitude. Aviation Enthusiast is certainly the way I would describe it. So it is what I imagined then? You can mix in the camera with a notebook of registrations, or just watch them with binoculars. By the way, are there any security concerns to worry about these days? Has the hobby been limited?


User currently offlineAA61hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 55
Reply 3, posted (13 years 3 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 5438 times:

I watch planes because when I was younger, we would go to from my house in Jersey to Long Island, and we would always drive past JFK. I remember seeing an AA DC-10 take off. That was my first airplane experience. I do it because it is awesome. I love the sound of the engines. (Some more than others (747-100-200-300-SP)) But it is so cool to see a plane take off. I don't write down rego's. Because I don't really care about them. Security at some airports can be tough for spotting, but alot of them are still there with more police and guards patrolling.

Go big or go home
User currently offlineNormalSpeed From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (13 years 3 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5440 times:


As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of people who really get into spotting, i.e., photography, registration numbers, etc. But me? I have a pair of binoculars in my trunk, and a camp chair. And when I go "spotting," I just sit back in my chair, relax, and watch airplanes. It's fun. It's too much of a pain to record every little thing. I'll occasionally copy down a tail number of an interesting corporate jet so I can find out who owns it and where it's based out of. And it's also fun to copy down an airliner tail number or two, and then come home and find pictures of that same airplane in the a.net database. But honestly, I usually go "spotting" to clear my head and put things in perspective.

Security: It can be a little more tense than it already was, particularly around the bigger terminals. However, if you stay in the designated spotting areas, there's no problem whatsoever. Airport security won't give you a second thought (and I do most of my "spotting" at SLC, a Delta Hub and Class B airspace.).


User currently offlineDash8King From Canada, joined Nov 2001, 2744 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (13 years 3 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5420 times:

I just go with with a Chair and skidoo up to a hill which is right at the end of the runway.

User currently offlineVonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4657 posts, RR: 25
Reply 6, posted (13 years 3 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5400 times:

I actually just go up there with my scanner usually. Sometimes I take pics if the conditions are good. I've never taken down Reg #'s though. I don't know why I just never got into that.


User currently offlineWietse From Netherlands, joined Oct 2001, 3809 posts, RR: 53
Reply 7, posted (13 years 3 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 5382 times:

For me, its all about this:


Wietse de Graaf
User currently offlineDC-10 Levo From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 3432 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (13 years 3 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 5372 times:

Great shot there Wietse! Perfect timing.


User currently offlineWietse From Netherlands, joined Oct 2001, 3809 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (13 years 3 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5375 times:


Allthough it was one in 8 shots.... (all in about 3 seconds)

Wietse de Graaf
User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (13 years 3 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5345 times:

When I spot, I do take pictures just for fun (my shots typically are never near a.net quality), and I enjoy just watching the aerial ballet of various aircraft on final approach and landing, and rotating and taking off...thats it...purely for enjoyment and nothing else...


Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 17
Reply 11, posted (13 years 3 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5344 times:

Spotting is about communing with aircraft and likeminded people while standing in a place that's bad for your health (depending on where you are apply several of the following: noisy, cold, wet, hot, dusty)  Big thumbs up

That's why we love it of course  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

[Edited 2003-02-26 07:53:48]

I wish I were flying
User currently offlineDC-10 Levo From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 3432 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (13 years 3 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5329 times:

Well, I listen to ATC with my scanner and take photos, and just watch them land and take off. I don't take registrations though.


User currently offlineCramos From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 554 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (13 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 5287 times:

Sounds like everything I want to do  Smile/happy/getting dizzy Thanks for the replies.


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