Planespotting at the airport

Planespotting: Aircraft fans among themselves

Like paparazzi on the hunt for the perfect star photo, the so-called plane-spotters cavort on the runways of airports. Equipped with camera equipment, flight plan and aircraft lists, the aircraft photographers linger at the fences of the runways or at designated spotter locations. All this for the perfect photos of aircraft in the air, during take-off or landing. Planespotting has also grown into an extraordinary hobby with a large spotter community in recent years thanks to ever-improving camera technologies. But what is so special about photographing aircraft?

What exactly is planespotting?

Planespotting refers to the spotting, meaning viewing and photographing, of aircraft. Photographing planes may not sound particularly exciting or difficult at first. However, planespotting is a challenging hobby that requires a lot of patience and photographic experience. Planespotting is much more than simple photography of aeroplanes.

Aircraft spotters are always looking for extraordinary machines, rare models as well as special paintwork and of course the perfect picture of it. Also the special conditions make planespotting such an interesting hobby. Photographing moving aeroplanes is not necessarily easy: the right exposure time, lighting conditions and timing can quickly push a layman spotter to the limits of this art of photography. All the greater is the joy when the right aircraft is perfectly hit on approach and at the end of the day you can add impressive aircraft pictures to your collection.

The photos are stored in private or public planespotting archives. The key data of the planes are noted down for each picture in order to keep track of the spotted planes. All important information, such as identification number, airline, type or paint scheme are recorded by the planespotters.

By the way: If you don't like aerial photography, you can also try your hand at spotting other things. Railways, birds, ships or cars - the spotting selection with corresponding scenes is large.

Planespotting with camera outdoor

Planespotting treasures: Which machines are particularly popular?

The hunt for extraordinary machines is also a paradise discipline of planespotters. Brand-new models, retro aeroplanes or planes with special paintwork attract numerous plane-spotters to the runways.

Planespotting fans have to be quick, especially when it comes to some special paintwork, because some paintwork only decorates planes for a few months or even just a few weeks. This makes it all the more impressive for the Planespotters to be able to include such a special edition in their personal archive. Whether with branding of certain football clubs, animated film characters, such as Star Wars at All Nippon Airways (ANA) or special patterns - these aircraft pictures are real trophies for every spotter.

The most popular planespotting locations in Germany

But which airports are best suited to spotting planes and where can you find spotters doing their hobby? Of course, airports with a high volume of air traffic and international long-haul connections tend to be more suitable. In these cases, a spotter is basically provided with more possibilities to take aerial pictures. For example, Düsseldorf Airport, one of the largest in Germany, or Hamburg Airport are popular.

If you set off for planespotting in Düsseldorf, Hamburg or other Easy Airport parking locations, you can of course also use our parking spaces and multi-storey car parks there. This is not only reserved for travellers, so that you can park your car at our locations during the planespotting in a booked parking space on the Easy Airport Parking site. Parking for a day or just a few hours is also possible without any problems and you are very welcome.

Man with camera outside planespotting

Successful planespotting: Tips for optimal aircraft photos

An exciting hobby, but how do you get started as a newcomer to tarpaulin spotting? These five starter tips make the start easier:

  1. Spotting guides and Planespotter apps
    On the internet you can find various websites or apps where planespotters can exchange information about new models, spotting locations or aeroplane photographs. There are spotting guides for almost every airport, describing the best locations to watch and photograph planes.

  2. weather forecast
    Nicht an jedem Flughafen sind die Planespotter beliebt. An einigen werden deshalb Sondergenehmigungen benötigt. Diese berechtigen die Planespotter dann für eine bestimmte Zeitspanne, die Flugzeuge am Flughafen zu fotografieren. Um keine rechtlichen Schwierigkeiten zu bekommen, sollten also lieber vor jedem Planespotting-Trip die Flughafenbestimmungen recherchiert werden. Hinweis: Auch Hilfreiche und nützliche Tipps zum Flughafen-Parken gibt es im Netz am jeweiligen Flughafen zu finden.

  3. Airport regulations
    Planespotters are not popular at every airport. At some of them special permits are therefore required. These then entitle the planespotters to photograph the aircraft at the airport for a certain period of time. In order to avoid legal problems, it is therefore better to research the airport regulations before every planespotting trip. Note: Helpful and useful tips on airport parking can also be found on the net at the respective airport.

  4. Planespotting equipment
    Of course, nothing works without a camera in planespotting. Most planespots use digital single lens reflex cameras for their aircraft pictures. For detailed pictures you should use a telephoto lens, because with this you can capture the planes, some of which are far away, best. Planespotting equipment also includes a ladder so that you can take pictures over fences if necessary.

  5. Comfort
    At the airports, sometimes quite long distances have to be covered to reach the ideal planespotting point - and that on foot. This can quickly add up to several kilometres per aircraft spotting day. Comfortable footwear is therefore a must. In addition, a folding chair for longer waiting times and sufficient food are recommended.

Fan tip: Planespotting locations and tours

Of course, the fascination of aircraft photography has not escaped the airport operators either. Therefore, many airports now offer special planespotting tours in which the photographers are taken by shuttle bus to the best locations. On these tours the aircraft spotter can take pictures from different angles or get especially close to the runways. If you want to park at the airport at a reasonable price, it is best to get information early on and book your airport parking space online.

If this has aroused your curiosity, why not stop by your nearest airport and try out whether this hobby might be something for you. Maybe you can spot one or two Planespotters on the way there or back from your holiday when taking off or landing outside the fence. Have fun with it!