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Spoters Question: Anyone Aware Of This?  
User currently offlineManta From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 71 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 3232 times:

Greetings,

I don't know how many of you have seen an article written in the August issue of CSO magazine which talks about a plane spotting group formed at LHR which helps the local police. It looks really interesting:

http://www.csoonline.com/read/080104/briefing_terror.html

My questions are:

Are there any plans to implement this type of program at major U.S. airports at all, let alone anytime soon?

Why wouldn't airports around the world want to jump on an opportunity like this??

Wouldn't it make more sense having another couple hundred pairs of eyes and camera's watching the entire airfield for FREE instead of paying local police officers salary to chase us spotters away??

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks,
--Scott

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineATLhomeCMH From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 770 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 3210 times:

I remember that same article. I think its a great idea...the spotters are going to be there anyway, whether they're supposed to be or not....might as well use them to help watch for suspicious activity.

Though, I haven't heard of any plans in the U.S. to do this...I think U.S. authorities would have a less-favorable view of this type of thing.



"The most terrifying words in the Engligh language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"-Ronald Reagan
User currently offlineMiamix707 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3155 times:

US police officers are generally not very well educated individuals so I doubt they'll accept the idea plane watchers could help them with anything. They're tough guys they have no need for that. Their first reaction is to tell you waching planes is "illegal"

User currently offlineMiamix707 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3134 times:

It's the law enforcement agencies fault, for not educating their officers properly

User currently offlineMiamiair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3113 times:

I remeber seeing that on the BBC wbsite. It sure makes sense, but in this country? Fat chance. Miamix707 has alluded already to the mentality of our law enforcement officers here. Trying to reason them is like teaching a pig to sing. Then again, I am only speaking for what I have seen here at MIA.

User currently offlineAndy1309 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 14 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3090 times:

I agree that in theory, this would be a good idea. The problem with this scheme is that there are a couple of police forces over here in the UK which have set their own similar schemes, but don't necessarily recognise each other's identity cards. If there was one national (or international?) scheme that was recognised by every police force and airport's security staff, it would save us and them a great deal of hassle and time. I believe that one of the Canadian airports (Ottawa?) has a similar scheme.

I know that you can get a pass from the Airport Authorities at Orlando which allows you to spot from the terminals car park.

I have spotted at LHR on a regular basis since this scheme was introduced and have never been asked if I am a member of the scheme!

Andy.


User currently offlineAirtrainer From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 1558 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3005 times:

Great idea indeed. Andy, I've heard the same thing about a canadian airport but I don't remember if it was Ottawa... What about the creation of an international spotting card ? Well I don't spend a lot of time in airports but I'm sure it would help some fellow spotters  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Just my two cents...

Jef



Life is short : eat dessert first !
User currently offlineMiamix707 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2816 times:

teach a pig to sing  Smile hahaha! Miamiair, Ive heard they're even more rude in Newark/NewYork airports.. yikes

I know that you can get a pass from the Airport Authorities at Orlando which allows you to spot from the terminals car park

Trust me if you are into photography it's useless. Maybe if you are into jotting down regs then maybe, although im not into that, my guess is it's still bad. To get this pass they require an ID.. and a fill out form  Laugh out loud Iwonder how many people have even bothered, my guess is not too many...

They can do some kind of ID, but what about visitors? How about those who are only stopping their cars to watch aircraft? Look officer but I have a "Plane Watching Badge" oh well whatever it takes..


User currently offlineRyan h From Australia, joined Aug 2001, 1551 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2617 times:

I think the americans don't have much between the ears when it comes to dealing with people. Stories I have read here has put me off visiting america for good. Or until they start treating plane spotters like fellow human beings.


South Australian Spotter
User currently offlineSATL382G From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2404 times:

From the looks of this thread I'd say social skills are a bit lacking in a number of countries... Sad

User currently offlineUAL747DEN From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2392 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2360 times:

Give me a break you people really need a reality check. A bunch of nerds with cameras are not going to do any airport a damn bit of good. If you want a special piece of plastic with your name and picture on it go get a job. Its funny to see how people in here think that they know it all just because they follow aviation. Please tell me how you might be more efficient than a police officer that doesn't know or care about a 747 from an A319? I think that spotters are doing just fine as they are right now. If they get harassed every once in a while than great, we know that law enforcement is doing their jobs and watching out for our airports. I wonder what all the people that think our police officers here in America are so bad and stupid would do if they needed help, were being attacked, or had their family hurt? They would be the first people to call 911 crying and expect the officer to take care of all of their problems. You people should be ashamed of yourselves these people have families and yet risk their lives every day for next to nothing just to keep us safe and you have the nerve to complain because they don't have time to put up with a few suspicious people around the airport. I agree with the cops, if they don't feel like you need to be there they have every right to kick you out.


/// UNITED AIRLINES
User currently offlineRelayze From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 115 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2316 times:

I as a citizen and as a photographer would like to help authorities whenever Im at the airport. For example yesterday at DFW, I was at Founders plaza, taking a couple of pics when at about 5:45pm I saw about 3 or 4 patrol cars pull over. An officer came to me and with an aggitated voice asked me if I was the one that called them saying there was a suspicious man walking with anything that resembled a tube on his shoulder. Since I was there for about 2 hours and basically saw every one in that area, I told the officer that no, no one I saw there had anything besides a camera and/or binoculars. He thank me and went to the next person to ask the same. Then I decided to leave the place and found the same officer about 1/2 mile away who recognized me and waved saying "good bye." I know we spotters are a pain in the rear to them because most of time they waste their times checking on us but hey, having an extra set of eyes wont hurt no one, right?

User currently offlineMiamiair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2198 times:

@UAL747DEN:

I don't walk around with a whole bunch of cameras, no pocket protectors, no glasses held together with tape, and most definetly my pants are not hiked up to within three inches of my arm pits; therefore, not a nerd. I like aviation period. That's why I am here; and so are you, so you must be a nerd by your standards.

I know what the police are for and what they are prepared to do, but that doesn't explain the fact that some cops have the common sense that God gave a fence post.

I don't know what it is like at DEN, but now there are only two places you can take pictures from; there used to be a lot more. I don't want or care for a piece of plastic with my name on it; I just want to be able to watch, take pictures, hear the roar, smell the kerosene...without some guy who has obviously spent more time at Dunkin Donuts than cruising the beat.


User currently offlineAndy1309 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 14 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 2134 times:

I fully respect the police and recognise that they have a tough job to do - their role is vital in this day and age, and for that I am extremely grateful for the job they do. My point was that when I (and I know this goes for many other 'nerds' I know) go to an airport, we want to be there without causing any hassle to the public and the authorities. If there is an official designated viewing area, I always use this rather than areas around the airfield which could arouse suspicion. I have spoken to several members of the police force both over here and in the US, and they have all been fully supportive of the idea of such a scheme.

Regarding the point about complaining, I have never complained when being challenged about my activities, regardless of the attitude of the person talking to me (which with one or two exceptions has always been polite and courteous).

As I said above, I respect the authorities, and recognise that they have a difficult task to do, which is exactly why I pursue my hobby whilst causing as few problems as possible. I am in Las Vegas and Pheonix in December and have e-mails from both airports confirming that spotters are welcome there, and detailing the official vantage points.

Sorry to rant on, but I felt I had to reply to a couple of the comments made above. Sorry if some people out there don't agree with me or my hobby, but what can I say?

Cheers

Andy.


User currently offlineUAL747DEN From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2392 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 2007 times:

Andy1309,
You are doing what everyone else should do. If all spotters behaved like you did there would be no problems. That is exactly my point.



/// UNITED AIRLINES
User currently offlineAirtrainer From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 1558 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 2004 times:

Here's an information I've received from a YOW spotter...

The program here in Ottawa is called
"Airport Watch", and is headed by a fellow who was formerly part of the Airport
Security team (I believe), and is now a member of the Ottawa police force.

Essentially, anyone can join, and all that is necessary is for a candidate to
meet for a brief chat with the above-mentioned fellow, where he takes some
information and I presume performs a background check. I am currently in the
process of joining this effort, and I also know several individuals who are
currently "members".

It's a great effort, simply because the spotters are there anyway, and so this
is a way for them to be "officially recognized". Basically all you do is keep
an eye out for suspicious activity, and call it in when/if necessary. They
don't expect you to personally intervene.

They also do monthly breakfast meetings, and although not officially part of the
program, there have been instances where a member is "rewarded" by, for
instance, being offered a pass airside whereby you can accompany a security
official on their patrol. Again, this isn't officially part of the program, nor
are these "perks" expected by the members, but it does sometimes happen. After
all, as a member of the group you do eventually get to know many of the airport
security officials on a personal level, so if they're driving by you never know
if they'll ask you to "hop in".


Just wanted to share it with you...

Jef



Life is short : eat dessert first !
User currently offlineAndy1309 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 14 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1916 times:

UAL747DEN

Thanks. I like to think that I do not cause too many security problems due to my hobby. I go into rants like that when we are generally classified as 'nerds' (or much worse phrases are used here in the UK!), when some of us aren't even close to that category. After all, a lot of people have a hobby which could be frowned upon by 'outsiders'.

I also get equally fed up when the minority spoil it for the rest of us by acting up if challenged. We must face facts that this will be the case for some time to come in the current climate, and reacting in a negative way does not do our cause any good (I and a friend were challenged by a pair of police officers on the hill at LAX 18 months ago, and despite some pretty nasty comments towards us, and despite having a mazil from LAX saying that it was the recognised area, we remained calm and were polite, and were eventually allowed to continue). I must admit that to be fair, our hobby is not widely recognised even in the UK, so it can be difficult to explain it to someone who has no concept of what we are doing (god knows I've tried!).

I'm sure that deep down most spotters feel like I do, but I agree there is a minority who don't. Lets hope those people realise that they will benefit in the long run by being sensible about their hobby.

TFIFriday! (happy and safe spotting for the weekend!)

Cheers

Andy.





User currently offlineMiamix707 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1884 times:

MiamiAir

don't pay attention to this little boy. He seems to be an undercover dweeb not just from this thread critizing people who like airplanes but from others as well. In the few post of his I've read, in each one he has to says something stupid about whatever topic. Look at his 'other info' in profile, "women love me"..  Laugh out loud

UAL747DEN, kid get a grip.. you're a geek in denial.

I don't fit that nerd with the hiked up pants and glasses either, but what if I did? At least I'm not some softy pretty boy trying to sound all high class to be popular on an internet forum. Does it get any more lame?

Anyways the title of the thread said "spotters" somehow it got your attention didn't it  Big grin for supposedly not being "a nerd with a camera"..

As far as cops, it's such a waste of police resources when I drive around Miami airport and I see so many cops just doing nothing. At night around NW 36st they hide trying to give speeding tickets when it's not even a residential area. They're not helping security in anyway, the terminals are not on that side and the buildings and warehouses here are too high anyways. They don't even let you see the runway. A potential terrorist couldn't do anything around there. Why don't they go hang out in the bad areas of town? Around places like shopping centers to prevent stolen vehicles?

The designated photography area is empty at night, not a soul around and cops never ever go there either. Now during the day in past instances they've given the usual b/s to people watching airplanes.

wonder what all the people that think our police officers here in America are so bad and stupid would do if they needed help, were being attacked, or had their family hurt?

I used to go to two different night clubs where my friend got his car window busted in 2 different occations, never did I see a cop around the parking lot that was on the dark and near some back road. Anybody could get robbed or raped and nobody would ever know. They much rather hang out near the entrance talking to each other and looking at the chicks. My brother has gotten his truck broken into twice when going out, recently in South Beach,and once in Coconut Grove near a night club. Outside this same night club in another instance some vandals were stealing the headlights on a friend's SUV. Luckily some people saw the guys and wrote down thei license plate and gave her the info. Where were the cops? This is an area that is supposed to be well patrolled by cops. Why aren't they protecting these areas? Because they can't give people tickets  Smile


I rest my case


User currently offlineMiamix707 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1862 times:

I meant to post that much earlier but my computer crashed.

Airtrainer: Thanks that sounds very interesting. The airside pass as a "reward" also makes perfect sense, that way spotters could get a first hand look at how the airport keeps an eye on it's borders from inside.

That would be very useful especially if they could do something similar at airports such as EWR and JFK, where the police, from stories of people I know personally, have been rude to aviation enthusiasts. I know someone who was given a ticket for "unauthorized photography" just because he had to stop on an expressway near EWR and happened to have a camera in the front seat. Obviously the judge had never heard of this charge before, so she told him, she would need to speak to the officer about this. Not only did he get a traffic ticket but had to schedule a second court appearance just because some bored cop had nothing better to do. Now i'm sure a badge or some kind of photographer/spotter ID might have given this cop a good reason to think twice about screwing my friend over with a violation that doesn't even exist.


User currently offlinePrm1fan From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2004, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1861 times:

The police around Heathrow call it the "Geek TAX". About a month ago I took a wander accross the road from work to the perimter fence to take some photos. Not long after a van pulled up and serveral of London's finest asked me what I was doing, and asked me for my name and address so they could run my details through the computer. Once clear they told me I couldn't do what I was doing, and I should leave the area.

Not once did they ask me for any LAAS ID, or make any reference to it.


User currently offlineF9Widebody From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1604 posts, RR: 10
Reply 20, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1799 times:

I don't know what it is like at DEN

It sucks, we just got "banned" from going anywhere but one parking lot.

Regards



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