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Your Most Memorable Aircraft Spotted  
User currently offlinecinja From Singapore, joined Jan 2007, 98 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4718 times:

I was in Myanmar for the weekend and on flying out of RGN yesterday, I was excited to see 20-1101 (the Japan Air Force 747 that takes Japanese politicians and the Imperial Family around the world) on the tarmac, waiting to ferry Japanese Prime Minister Abe to Naypyidaw. Having lived in Japan for several years and seen this bird at HND and CTS, it was certainly a great and unexpected spot as I had not known of Abe's visit, the first to Myanmar for a Japanese leader in 36 years. Unfortunately the aircraft's position did not allow me to take a clear shot, but the experience will not soon be forgotten.

That got me to thinking about other memorable spots and then wondering about other a.netters experiences. Curious what is your most memorable spotted aircraft (no, not one that resembles a leopard!), whether you were at the airport for travel or just for a bit of spotting, or perhaps you saw one flying overhead. Looking for spots that were unexpected in some way. If you went to BOS to see the JL 787 and then you saw it, that doesn't really count - it should be an aircraft that caught you by surprise and maybe even caused some fellow airport travelers to look at you strangely when you got all excited.


19 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlinealoges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 9428 posts, RR: 39
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 4683 times:

This one is easy: Concorde at LHR, taking off not long before she was retired. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people stood there and waited for nobody but her. And then she flew... wow.

Another interesting one was an E-4B on approach to Ramstein Air Base with Robert Gates on board.

Finally, I miss the almost eerie rumble of classic C-5s at takeoff thrust: http://youtu.be/V89AJaasnm8?t=45s and during approach: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZcqU8ShzWU

Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineaerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 8317 posts, RR: 17
Reply 2, posted (3 years 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 4681 times:

Any aircraft I have flown, but not got a photo until much later. It took 9 years for me to get a photo of F-GJVG after I flew it for example.

MH 777 MRD in Blue Special livery, AKL. Just so beautiful.
Any of the Royal ME 747-SP. MUC 2012 (entire Omani Royal Flight) HAM 2012 (Qatar) AKL 2006 (UAE)
Goverment of Chad 732C/ Government of Togo 727 Le Bourget 2012 (around the corner of the hangar and OMG....2 new exotic country prefixes to the logbook.

User currently offlineb2319 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 4632 times:


I don't really 'spot'. If I did, though, a couple of years ago, I was taking a taxi into SHA, when one of the Air Koryu IL62Ms landed. Not sure what it was doing, though a very graceful sight.

At one time I thought the Breitling Connie was a rare spot at BSL; clearly not!

Slightly off-topic, in terms of flights; I've managed to fly both the A332 prototype (as OE-LAO) and the A333 prototype (as B-HLJ). This out of just 29 A330 flights overall; two last weekend.

Just three flights in a Xian XA-60; maybe three more than most, however, the same plane each time- RDPL-34168!



User currently offlinegemuser From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 6287 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (3 years 4 days ago) and read 4564 times:

In the very early 1970s I walked into the hanger at Sydney Water Airport - Rose Bay and saw VH-ASA a PBY Catalina flying boat named Frigate Bird II. This was the aircraft that made the first crossing of the South Pacific from Australia to Chile, 13 March 1951 to 26 March 1951. The somewhat circuitous route was: Rose Bay- Grafton- Noumea- Lauthala Bay (RNZAF base) Fiji- Samoa- Aitutaki- Papeete- Mangareva (French Gambier Islands)- Easter Island (open water landing, sail & take off)- Valparaiso.

Unfortunately I was on official duty and did not have a camera with me. It certainly was a very moving sight. I am please to note that this aircraft is now on display at the Power House Museum in Sydney.


DC23468910;B72172273373G73873H74374475275376377L77W;A319 320321332333343;BAe146;C402;DHC6;F27;L188;MD80MD85
User currently offlineRyanairGuru From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 6962 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (3 years 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 4548 times:

It probably doesn't count as I was there for work, but I was on the ramp at RAAF Fairbairn when POTUS came to town. Walking out on the ramp and being right next to Air Force 1 was a pretty special experience   

Unfortunately, of course, no photograph. Even if I could have take one, I'm sure ASIO would have dragged me off to a darkened room had I tried!

Worked Hard, Flew Right
User currently offlineSRQKEF From Iceland, joined Jun 2011, 1062 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (3 years 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4527 times:

No doubt when the 787 in ANA colors did a low pass over Reykjavik City Airport (RKV) totally unexpectedly. I knew it was doing some tests at Keflavik (KEF) but didn't expect it to come over here at all.

It's always a nice treat when the Antonov-124s stop over at KEF. The biggest surprise I've had when departing KEF was in 2011 though. I was driving towards KEF and just 5 miles out I suddenly saw a big plane on the horizon to my right. I parked on the curb of the road and watched in awe as the 748i prototype glided over me. It was up here for some crosswind tests but I had totally forgotten about it so it was a nice surprise  


Nothing compares to taking off in an empty 757 with full thrust!
User currently offlinevisualapproach From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2012, 223 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4516 times:

Almost 10 years ago now, but watching concorde fly over my town during it's last ever flight into FZO.

User currently offlineCairnterriAIR From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4441 times:

Back in the very early 80's while on vacation on California, saw B-29 N91329 "Fertile Mertile" taking off from Oakland Airport. This was indeed a rarely seen aircraft (FIFI is the only flyable B-29 in service today)..and from what I heard was infrequently flown other than use in the films "The Last Flight of Noah's Ark" and "The Right Stuff". The plane is dismantled now...the cockpit section on display in a museum in Florida, and the rest of the fuselage in storage in California...awaiting restoration.

User currently offlineYflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 1350 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (3 years 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4360 times:

I don't really "spot" per se, but the plane I always remember is seeing an ATA L-1011 taxi past when I was at BWI waiting to board a Southwest flight back in 2004 or so. I didn't actually know very much about planes at that time, but was just starting to become interested in them, so I didn't actually know what it was I was looking at. At the time I just thought it looked "old", that the exhaust seemed a bit smokey compared to the other planes, and that it looked really cool in spite of the first two things. Now that I know what I saw I realize that's the only I've actually seen an L-1011 in person.

Another memorable one was the time I was looking out the window of the building I work in and just by pure chance I saw Boeing's 737-900ER test aircraft fly by on its approach to MHR. That was when I first learned that Boeing often uses that airport for test flights. With that knowledge I set up some flightaware alerts for the 787 and 748 after they first flew, and got see them, too.

User currently onlineTWA772LR From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 3931 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (3 years 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4350 times:

When I saw the A380 take off for the first time from IAH. I'm not an Airbus fan, but that aircraft and its capabilities are a work of art.

My mom saw the Antonov 225 take off from IAH once. (I'm getting jealous just typing this! :P) She's nowhere near as big a fan of aviation as I am and she said it was just simply awesome.

Notevery day we find light winds. What do we do in these situations? Fly.
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 30078 posts, RR: 59
Reply 11, posted (3 years 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 4332 times:

Without a doubt this coming over London.

One of the most amazing things ever.

User currently offlineYVRLTN From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 2955 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 12 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4242 times:

Im grateful to have caught the last of the Vanguard's, Viscount's, 1-11, Herald and DC3's at LTN, and since being in BC I continue to see Electra's and Convair's in abundance as well as gems like the DC6, Firecat, Martin Mars and Grumman Goose in revenue service, but after leaving the UK I never thought I would see a RAF Vickers VC10 again, an aircraft I had never seen fly.

Very happy to see one come to YVR the other year for mx (as it was too cold in YYC!), an opportunity that will probably not happen again. Then 2 years ago I saw one doing touch and goes at RAF Leuchars while visiting the inlaws at St Andrews. I have no idea what the conversation was about...

Follow me on twitter for YVR movements @vernonYVR
User currently offlineWhiteWasp From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 45 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 12 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4206 times:

When I was 18, I worked ramp in STL, and several times per year we would have the RAF come in with the VC-10's for a tech stop. They usually spent the night. The next day we were allowed tours of the aircraft. Pretty cool, also extremely LOUD on takeoff. The RAF crews were always very professional and kind and cordial.

I also got the liberty to get up close an personal with an AN-124. I was the lav dumper that day. What a huge aircraft. I worked for ATS and handled all the charters & smaller feeders into STL. Champion, Sun Country, Ryan Intl, Big Sky, Midwest Express.

User currently offline4holer From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 3124 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (2 years 12 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4118 times:

Quoting Yflyer (Reply 9):
I don't really "spot" per se, but the plane I always remember is seeing an ATA L-1011 taxi past when I was at BWI waiting to board a Southwest flight back in 2004 or so. I didn't actually know very much about planes at that time, but was just starting to become interested in them, so I didn't actually know what it was I was looking at. At the time I just thought it looked "old", that the exhaust seemed a bit smokey compared to the other planes, and that it looked really cool in spite of the first two things. Now that I know what I saw I realize that's the only I've actually seen an L-1011 in person.

Funny you tell this story. When I was a lad, I remember going to the old PIT airport and going out on the observation deck to see the stretch DC8s, 707s, DC9s, and 727s, all of which belched smoke and noise. Then I look at the Eastern Airlines gate to my right and see the shiny new LL-1011 "Whisperjet".

Ghosts appear and fade away.....................
User currently offlineBluebird191 From Australia, joined Apr 2011, 304 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 12 months 4 hours ago) and read 4045 times:

A few years ago (I forget whether it was 2009 or 2010), I was on a trip from BNE to SYD and while I was waiting for my flight back to BNE I was watching the movements around the airport from the end of Terminal 2 and RAF L-1011 landed and taxiied to the international terminal - I got quite a surprise to see it on the day.

User currently offlinen901wa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 534 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 4026 times:

For me the 2 that come to mind is:
I was taking pictures at work, and watching The A-3 Skywarriors land and taxi to Hickam and saw a EC-24A land and taxi by. I had only heard of a Navy DC-8, but never thought I would see one in person. Here's the Pic

And my 2nd, was when I was testing my Camera after I got it back from repair. I took this photo of Aloha N73711 a few days before the tragic accident. I didn't even know I had taken the 711 until I got my film back, and was looking thru the pictures. There is a mark above the A on the fues, and I gave a set to the Local FAA after I saw the photo's. Here's the Pic

Just my humble pair.

[Edited 2013-06-06 06:35:06]

User currently offlinen729pa From UK - England, joined Jan 2011, 599 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4004 times:

G-BOAE taking off from LHR for the last time as she headed into the low cloud and gloom on her way to her new home in Barbados.

N739PA Clipper Maid of the Seas (Lockerbie) ....I saw her and photographed her at LHR a short while before her accident, obviously didn't know it at the time, but looking at those pictures now it's hard and moving to think about it

VH-OEJ Wunala Dreaming ...I only ever seen her twice in her red livery, both times at SYD

N747PA Juan T Trippe.....just loved this plane

Taking of the Japanese Air Force 747s, I landed at LHR last year from MEL and spotted both of them at the VIP area, as they were visiting the UK for the Queen's Golden Jubilee - a very nice surprise

EC-DNP Iberia 747 at LHR circa 1989. One Sunday in June, no idea why it was here, but it was lovely to see and very welcome.

PH-BUA KLM 747 LHR 1986. I was in the departure lounge for my first international flight to SFO, looking at my PA 747 (N729PA) when this KLM 747 taxied behind her (I managed to get a picture). I think for some odd reason in those days KLM used to fly a 747 to LHR on an morning flight as a matter of routine. Nice surprise never the less.

G-BJHS - Shorts Sunderland (in early Ryanair colours), did a low level runway fly past at LHR one day. Never found out why, but probably the most unusual plane I've ever seen at LHR

User currently offlineBoston From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 53 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3776 times:

There's a couple that stick out vividly in my mind:

One of the most memorable and rare was P4-MES. Roman Abramovich was in Colorado so I spotted his private 767 parked on a remote ramp at DEN.

I too spotted 20-1101 (Japan Air Force 747) at LAX a couple years ago.

I lived in BIL for most of my life, so I got to see Boeing bring numerous aircraft to BIL for testing. Now these won't seem like amazing spots to many of you, but when you live in the middle of nowhere MT, planes like these are incredibly rare and memorable. I saw multiple Dreamliners including ANA 787, the Dreamlifter (while they were doing certification tests), and numerous 777s and different versions of the 777.

On the same LAX trip, I also saw a QF 744 go around on 24R, not due to traffic on the RWY, so the pilots must have botched the approach.

User currently offlineMIAspotter From Spain, joined Nov 2001, 3031 posts, RR: 24
Reply 19, posted (2 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 3751 times:

When I arrived in Europe for my first time back in 2002, departing CDG for MXP (on an AF A320-100) I spotted the Peter Max 777 and an AF Concorde, then having just landed in MXP I spotted an SAA 747SP and next to it an Aeroflot TU154M, first time I saw one in the flesh!   

Few months later, on my first ever visit to the UK, as we were landing in LHR I saw a VS A346 and a BA Concorde, and to top it all off the Ndizani 743.   

And of course I was there when the Concordes were retired I was on the fence in the RWY threshold and saw all 3 of them land one after the other, the sight of those beauties and the noise... I won´t forget that.   

Other memoreable spots...

AirForce 1 in CCS when Clinton visited Venezuela back in... 1996/1997 can´t remember.
IranAir A300 in BCN (pure chance)
USAF 757 in ORY (Bush was in town that day)
IL76 in ZRH


I think, therefore I don´t fly Ryanair.
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