Thursday, 26 January 2012

Plane Spotting - what is it?

'Plane Spotting' is an activity that has attracted an enormous amount of interest over the last few years.  The hobby is not something entirely new, but has seen exponential growth, greatly supporting the digital SLR Camera industry - especially two big brands: Canon and Nikon.  For those who may not be entirely aware of what goes on outside airport terminals, let me reassure you that people visit airports for more than just the two general reasons which are either travelling yourself or greeting off family or friends.  Basically, the deal is that many enthusiasts gather together (sometimes in communities or clubs) and spend time photographing planes or creating their own log books.  For me, photographing planes is understandable, but creating log books (writing down the registration of each aircraft - or special aircraft - that arrives) is beyond me, but this exercise has gained great interest throughout the world also.  If a plane is landing early, just watch the speed at which an aviation photographer or spotter rushes to the airport in the morning, even if the sun has not yet risen.  Determination.  Pure determination coupled with unwavering passion.

At this point, you may be wondering why anyone would want to photograph aircraft at an airport.  If I hadn't grown up visiting the airport with my father, I would most probably ask the same question.  Furthermore, I would not have this wonderful hobby. Simply put, it's exactly like attending the Grand Prix, a  swimming competition or horse racing.  The only difference is...  Planes are more exciting :)  They are enormous, and I doubt there is a single person in the world that has not once questioned how a large piece of metal (Airbus A380) that weighs up to 560 tonnes on take off can travel up to 15, 400 km across the World.  If a fact like that has not caught your attention by now, don't worry.  On a day off, take a trip down near the airport and, even if only for a few minutes, experience this event first-hand!

The photo below demonstrates the above mentioned aircraft.  Look in closely and try to comprehend just how big it is...  It's length is 72.72 metres, has a wingspan of almost 80 metres and a height of just under 25 metres. The photo below shows the A380 turning onto the runway at Hong Kong airport, a brilliant airport that is spotter/photographer friendly.  If you look in close, take the taxiway lights as a size comparison.  If you want the rest of the technical information about the Airbus A380, follow the link here to the official website.

The two photos above were taken during the AFL Grand Final in Melbourne, Australia in 2010.  The A380 came down fairly low and entertained crowds before the Grand Final match started.  A very wise move by Qantas.

Here is a photo of the Qantas Airbus A380 performing a similar flyover in 2008 for the AFL.

Another BRILLIANT size comparison.  Just look at that person standing right underneath it!!!

The photo above was taken just after departure from Melbourne Airport, heading for Singapore then London.

Watching it take off is exciting.

A good photo showing the sheer size of the aircraft - note the little helicopter in the distance!

My favourite photo of the A380 that I've taken.  The photo also shows that bad weather does not always mean bad photos...

What the interior of the First Class looks like in a Singapore Airlines A380.  If you need something to spend you money on during a holiday, I highly recommend this little treat...

Face-to-face with the Airbus A380.  Do you see the Captain?  Check out what he was wearing that day...

Economy class cabin in the Singapore Airlines A380

Another stunning take off! 

The A380 seemed to get everyone's attention on the beach - Sydney Airport.

A close up of the front section - Look at the Captain!

How popular the A380 is...

To end this post, here is a photo taken back in 2005.  Melbourne airport was PACKED with thousands of people coming to greet the Airbus A380 for the first time!  A historic day indeed, one which shows that you don't have to officially call yourself a 'plane-spotter' to appreciate the marvellous creations of some brilliant minds!

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