Whether you dream of becoming a pilot or just want to learn more about aviation, plane spotting is one of the best hobbies to have. It’s fun, gets you out in the field, and can teach you more about the airplanes you love so much.
And perhaps best of all, it’s cheap or free and requires time, not money.
But airplane spotting can be a bit tricky, especially for newcomers and beginners. If you’re unsure of what you’re doing, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.
Here are a few helpful tips to help you get started on a new hobby that you’re sure to love.
1. Talk To Your Airport’s Manager
This is perhaps the best way to get into the airplane spotting world and serves two purposes.
You’ll get to learn more about the aviation industry from someone directly involved. You can find out more about the tricks of the trade and how an airport operates on a day to day basis.
But most importantly, it keeps you safe. Plane spotting can look a bit suspicious, and may even get you in a bit of trouble. Chances are you’ll have the police or other airport authorities ask you what you’re up to.
Don’t be offended, they’re doing their job. Let the manager know who you are and why you’re there to avoid conflict.
2. Take Photos Frequently
Photos are a great keepsake for any hobby, but plane spotters, in particular, may find them useful. In fact, photography is one of the most popular aspects of plane spotting.
These are helpful study tools that can help you learn more about the aviation and various types of planes.
Focus on the model numbers, logos, and engines specifically. These can tell you all sorts of facts about the plane’s history and manufacturing.
You won’t even need an expensive camera. Follow a basic online guide to see how you can take the best photos.
3. Take Aviation Courses
Perhaps the best part of any hobby is the rich history behind it and the exciting future. Be it video games, stamp collecting, or plane spotting, there’s so much to learn.
Read up on your aviation history to get a sense of how far the industry has come. Take every opportunity you get to learn more about the hobby you love so much.
There are tons of fantastic resources, this site included, that can teach you plenty.
4. Keep a Spreadsheet of Your Airplane Spotting Data
If you want to get into the nitty gritty of airplane spotting, you can keep track of flights in a spreadsheet.
If you’re into global flight tracking, for example, you can keep a log of flight paths. Or if you’re into specific brands, you can get a feel for which types of planes are most popular.
Your spreadsheet is all about you and your specific interests.
5. Always Have Your ID Handy
It’s a bit of a shame that people have to be so suspicious around airports. You can protect yourself by always having your ID. That way if you’re stopped or questioned, you can let those in charge know that you’re a hobbyist.
Consider investing in a clip-on laminate so your ID can be easily seen by those around you. The more transparent you are, the less hassle you’ll face.
Want to learn more about airplane spotting? Leave a reply below or get in touch! Flight Radar is full of all sorts of great resources you can use to get closer to your favorite hobby.