Saturday, March 14, 2015

The hobby of Aircraft Spotting

This photograph was taken by me with my Sony DSC H2 camera on 28 March 2013 and shared on Flickr as 'Bird Watching' on my page Jalalspages

Airplanes have always fascinated children - and many adults too. And it is just an intrinsic instinct to look up and see which aircraft it is as soon as someone listens to the sound of an aircraft in the sky. Like a huge number of hobbyists, aircraft spotting has been one of my favourites hobbies since my childhood.

The hobby of aircraft spotting is not only restricted to spotting and watching the aircraft, but it also includes photographing the aircraft both parked on the airports or flying in the air. Hobbyists even go to the extent of compiling logs of aircraft tail numbers or commonly known as the registration numbers.

Aircraft spotting is not restricted to aircraft only, it includes all sorts of flying objects like the helicopters, balloons, airships, drones and gliders.

The aircraft spotters are so expert that some of them can recognize the aircraft even without looking up and  can tell the type of aircraft by listening to their sound or even the vapour trail left behind by their engines.

This photograph was taken by me from the car before entering The Hague I visited last September - can you tell which aircraft is this?

Some of the key features that assist an onlooker about the make and type of the aircraft include the following:

  • Type of the aircraft wings (Polyhedral, Diehedral, Anhedral or Gull Wings)
  • The placing of the aircraft wings (on top of the fuselage, centre or bottom of the fuselage)
  • Shape of the wings (swept forward or swept back)
  • The number of wings that indicate whether the aircraft is a monoplane, biplane or tail-plane)
  • The position of the tail-plane relative to the fin(s) and the shape of the fin are other attributes. 
  • The shape of the fuselage is also a major indicator of the type of the aircraft (Boeing 747 being a typical fuselage that differentiates it from the rest of the aircraft)
  • The placing of the engine and the number of engines on the wing or even on the tail (remember DC-10 with its one engine mounted on its tail-plane?)

Well this is some 'food for thought' for the emerging and novices in the field of aircraft spotting. I shall write more about it in my future posts.

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