Plain Aviation

the life of a planespotter and true avgeek

Tag: spotting (page 1 of 2)

Spotting the Cathay and Finnair A350’s

As someone that goes planespotting a lot (as in so often that I feel like my hearing is worsening), I often get bored of having to watch the exact same flights come in and out the airport every time. Though HKG is a really big and busy airport, the flight schedules are pretty much the same each day and things can get real bland real fast. That’s why I get pretty excited about special liveries or non-typical aircraft movements, in this case the arrival of the Cathay and Finnair A350’s.

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Finnair A350 OH-LWC

Difference Between the Boeing 767 and 777

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Condor Boeing 767-300ER. Photo by Oliver Holzbauer CC 2.0

Back in the day when I first started looking at planes I had the hardest time distinguishing between the Boeing 767 and 777 because they just looked so similar to me. When people try plane spotting for the first time, they typically have to rely on very concrete and noticeable features of each aircraft to distinguish them from others (for example the number of engines or doors present) before they are able get a feel for each aircraft and recognize them based off

Tips for dealing with police whilst spotting

 

A nasty confrontation with police is every spotter’s worst nightmare. This usually isn’t a problem for us spotters especially if we’re spotting from a designated location such as the airport observation deck. But with increasing levels of security at airports, such a confrontation is probably going to happen sooner or later, especially in areas of the world where the hobby is still developing and largely unrecognized. But here are

My thoughts on the Airbus A340 family

To be blatantly honest I’m quite fond of the A340 as it’s the only four-engined single decker aircraft that is in widespread use, unlike the Ilyushin Il-96, which is currently operated for passenger service only by Cubana. Despite being an Airbus aircraft, the A340 has a surprising amount of character. I’ll probably receive criticism for this but to me it just seems as though Airbus planes are more down-to-business and have less finesse and stylishness than Boeing aircraft. The A340, like the A330, does feel somewhat lacking in elegance, but it makes up with its unique as a four-engined single deck aircraft. The A340 comes in four different variants: -200, -300, -500, and -600. As any plane spotter worth his salt should know, each variant is aesthetically very different from the others, especially when it comes down to proportions.

How to determine spotting conditions at the airport before leaving home

Before leaving my home to go out spotting, I will always check to make sure that conditions are suitable for spotting. As you may know, “suitable” conditions for spotting is much more than just the absence of rain. The light coming from the sun must be bright and coming from the right direction. The visibility must be good, and it would be most preferable if the sky is blue.

A breakdown of Canon’s telephoto lenses

Other than a decent camera body of course, a quality telephoto lens is an aviation photographer’s best friend. While not everyone is able to afford a top-of-the-line Canon L lens, any plane spotter worth his salt should know the importance of glass in determining image quality, as opposed to just the camera body, and be able to pick out a lens suitable for his needs and his budget. In this guide I will be breaking the down characteristics of several telephoto lenses for Canon DSLR’s popular among plane spotters so that you will hopefully be able to make a better decisions as to which one is most suitable for you. Note that I only own some and not all of the lenses mentioned in this review, however I will derive information from reputable sources on all of these lenses so rest assured that what I’m presenting to you is indeed factually correct. Also note that I do not have any affiliation with Canon or any other company that may be mentioned. All opinions seen here are completely unbiased and come from either me or one of the several reputable sources that I have listed. For a more detailed review and image tests of lenses that I do own, please visit the links provided. Enjoy!

How do I choose the right spotting location?

With most airports (usually unofficially) offering at least half a dozen different locations for spotting, it’s hard to choose which one to go to. Unless you want to spend valuable spotting moving around between locations, it’s advised that you visit no more than two locations in a day. At least for most of us, it takes long enough already just to get to the airport. To then move between locations is, at least in my opinion, a waste of time. But if something out of our control happens that makes the location unusable, for example rain, change of active runways, or change of lighting, then of course we have to make an exception.

Spotting Location 3 – Terminal 2 SkyDeck

The “SkyDeck” in terminal 2 of HKIA is the only “designated” viewing location at HKG, meaning that it’s probably where the airport authority would prefer that we spot from (especially considering you need to pay to get in). However, that doesn’t mean that you can or should only spot here, as the airport authority can’t and won’t stop you from spotting elsewhere. That being said, this is where I always go when the 25 runways are in use, as it’s perfect for 25R arrivals and very convenient. You don’t need to mess around switching between the Tung Chung line and various buses to get there, as SkyDeck is located in the main passenger terminal, meaning  you can easily take the Airport Express or a taxi to and from. There are also restaurants, bathrooms, and even a movie theater, whereas most of the other locations are in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

Train-spotting? What is that?

So apparently in the same way that we have plane-spotting, train-spotting also exists. I guess the concept is essentially the same; you have different manufacturers, models, operators, and registrations, although apparently train registrations are called reporting marks and aren’t exactly the same as aircraft registrations. I mean it’s interesting that train-spotting exists, but not so surprising. If we’re so obsessed with planes, why can’t others feel the same about trains? On that note, I wonder if boat-spotting exists. I’ll save that for another post.

Spotting Location 1 – HAECO maintenance area

This location is really the only place where you can catch 07L arrivals, which occur frequently during the winter time, usually in the morning. I really don’t like this location as it’s quite far from the approach path of RWY07L, but unless you have a sweet yacht to go out in, this is the best option available.

From here, 07R arrivals (which come around once every hour and are usually cargo) will be approximately the same distance from you as 07L arrivals. The recommended focal length here is ~250mm for APS-C cameras, and ~400mm for you rich bastards with full-frames.

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