An Introduction to Plane Spotting

What is plane spotting?

The plane (or aircraft) is an entertainment watch. Attractions show details about aircraft observers, such as the type of craft, its registration number (also known as tail or "N-number" in the United States), and any special marks. The information collected is recorded through the notebook and may be later added to a spreadsheet or online database.

What are some things that are noticed by plane spotters?

  • What kind of engine does this (jet or propeller) have?
  • How many engines do you have (2, 3, or 4)?
  • Where are the machines located? Are they on the plane or under the wings? Is there one tail?
  • What kind of tail does it have?
  • What is the type of wing?
  • What is the placement of the wings (high, mid, or low)?

Equipment is required

The supplies you choose may vary. In the simplest way, you will need a notebook and pencil to record the airplanes you see.

For more advanced, you want to invest in a decent camera for taking photos. You likely use apps on a smartphone (as mentioned below) and record your sightings with a computer.

In any case, it would be wise to bring your ID, you should ask the security of the airport or police.

Airport Codes

While the discovery of the plane can be done from anywhere, it usually happens near an airport. Regardless of your location, you will be able to track where an airplane is and / or where it comes from. Therefore, it is helpful to know that there are two coding systems for identifying airfields: IATA & ICAO.

IATA is a three-character code commonly used by the travel industry. You can find these codes when purchasing tickets and luggage. The IATA code for my regional airport, Spokane International Airport, is GEG.

ICAO is a four-character code used for flight plans, air traffic management, and weather reporting. In the United States, IACO codes always start with "K." The IACO code for Spokane International Airport is KGEG.

Plane Finder app

Plane Finder gives you information on airplane routes. While I mostly use this service through the smartphone app, it is also available on the computer.

When using the service, you will see a map with airplane icons, moving in real time. To find out more about a particular flight, click on the & # 39; s & (if available) will show the following information:

  • Callsign
  • Altitude
  • Title
  • Position
  • Squawk number
  • Speed

Live ATC app

Live ATC is a clean service that allows you to listen to your local traffic control traffic. Like the Plane Finder, this service can be accessed through the computer or through the smartphone app.

Plane Spotting Databases

Two online plane spotting databases are SpottingLog & Spot2Log . These online databases allow you to record the information on the aircraft you have seen as well as any photos you have taken. Additionally, each site joins social media. These are great benefits to using traditional spreadsheets!


The plane spotting is a unique hobby that can be done alone or with others. It is an intersection of many different subjects (aircraft, photography, cartography, radio communications, etc.). Participation will definitely expand your horizons!

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