What is Aircraft Spotting?
Aircraft spotting, as the name suggests, involves tracking or ‘spotting’ planes. This hobby is often accompanied by photography which serves as a way to document which aircraft have been spotted! Generally, spotting aircrafts involves the following:
- Naming and identifying aircraft types and models.
- Recording plane information.
- Monitoring air traffic control communications
- Observe airline routes.
Aircraft spotting is certainly no new past time. In fact, aviation enthusiasts have been watching, recording and tracking aircraft ever since they first took flight in 1903.
Nevertheless, it was not until the latter half of the 20th century that aircraft spotting came into its own. One reason for the relatively late officiating of flight tracking can be linked to advancements in technology, in particular when cameras first became widely available.
With the even later emergence of the internet, aircraft spotting has again been taken to a whole new level. Flight tracking websites – such as ourselves – have made spotting far more accessible. Being equipped with ADS-B tracking means that aircraft spotters today can access a live map of over 12,000 planes at any time.
Further advancements in-app technologies have taken this one step further. Certain apps like our Flight Tracker, offer an augmented reality (AR) feature. This allows you to instantly identify, monitor and follow any plane above you, at any given moment.
You’ll need a keen eye for detail for Plane Spotting
The first thing to say about plane spotting is that the devil really is in the detail. For example, take a look at the image below:
This recreation by CNN clearly depicts the mind-boggling minute differences between the two main aircraft types; Airbus and Boeing. Such small variations can often be a little off-putting for beginner aircraft spotters who can find this frustrating.
Enter Plane Finder: With our app, you can spot aircrafts, guess their model and check your guess with the AR feature. This app also allows you to click on a plane above you and pull through all information surrounding the aircraft, including:
- The flight’s progression.
- Scheduled and expected arrival/departure times.
- More specific information about the aircraft itself. See below:
How to get into Aircraft Spotting
The easiest way to get into aircraft spotting is to position yourself near an airport or in a well-known flight path and spot planes! It really is that easy.
However, there are many available technologies and platforms that can take your spotting knowledge and skills to the next level. Whether beginner, intermediate or advance, there is a place for all level of aircraft enthusiasts:
Online forums and social media provide the perfect starting point for any aircraft spotting novice. At the other end of the spectrum, such forums also act as important areas for experienced spotters to exchange information, share their most interesting spots and discuss the best locations.
These sites also provide information about how best to inform specific airports that you are a spotter. This is a very important part of plane spotting: In today’s uncertain world, if you are hanging around an airport watching planes, you want the authorities to know that you are not there to cause harm.
Plane Finder’s desktop flight tracking platform can help aircraft spotters to recognise flight paths and patterns and to identify where the nearest hotspots are.
Augmented reality, which can be found on our app, now means that you can be an aircraft spotter without actually spotting aircraft. For instance, planes in the far distance can now be recognised so that further flight paths can be tracked:
This feature can be used successfully to improve your aircraft knowledge by checking your recognition of different models, aid night time plane spotting, or, the dynamic AR feature can be used to simply impress your friends!
Blogs are another crucial source of information for all levels of aircraft enthusiasts. They provide a wealth of knowledge on about anything you wish to know. Our blog is especially useful keeping you up to date with technical updates, news and providing those all important how-to guides.
Whatever level of aircraft spotting you are, our Flight Tracking App promises to significantly enhance your experiences.
You can download the app directly from the App Store or via the Play Store for ‘on the go’ flight tracking and a dynamic augmented reality experience. Alternatively, use our interactive desktop version.
If you have any questions about Plane Finder, please contact us.