10 New Essential Spotting Books

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Book Reviews, Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 01-07-2012


As part of our series on improving your spotting productivity, here is a selection of new book titles that you shouldn’t be without. They offer productivity, fantastic reference, and lots of inspiration to take you forwards.

1. JP Airline Fleets 2012/13, BUCHair

If you don’t use a database, then in my opinion the best book you can buy for listing the fleets of airlines, government transport units, FBO’s and charter companies worldwide is JP Airline Fleets. This most recent update is available, and packed full of information, with handy tick boxes for you to mark off aircraft seen.
Buy from Amazon UK | Buy from Amazon USA

2. JP Bizjet & Tubroprops 2012, BUCHair
The full, authoritative register of biz jets, biz turboprops, and very light jets (VLJ’s) around the world. Listed by country and registration, with tick boxes for you to mark them off when seen. The best annual publication on the subject.
Buy from Amazon UK | Buy from Amazon USA 


3. abc Civil Aircraft Markings 2012, Ian Allan
The long-running annual series covering the full UK civil register of aircraft, including airliners, light aircraft, helicopters, microlights and gliders. It also lists the main fleets of airlines around the world. Has a notes section for you to mark off aircraft that you’ve seen.
Buy on Amazon UK | Buy on Amazon USA 


4. Eighties Ringway 1980-84 (Manchester Airport)
Part of the Ringway Through the Decades series. If you’re from the UK, chances are you spent time spotting at Manchester Airport in the past. It used to have excellent viewing terraces along the terminal roof, and many an exotic charter airline. This book has full movement logs for the decade, some fantastic photos, and lots of information about the airport. More for nostalgia than anything. A second volume, 1985-1989 is due soon.
Buy from Amazon UK | Buy from Amazon USA 

5. Wrecks & Relics, by Ken Ellis
This book, by Ken Ellis, has been fully updated for 2012 and lists stored, preserved, displayed and wrecked aircraft around the UK, and details of how to see them. Covers both civil and military aircraft. Perfect to have with you for reference on any journey.
Buy from Amazon UK | Buy from Amazon USA


6. Propliners of the World Part 1, and Part 2,  by Gerry Manning
Two large volumes covering propliners around the world, including a huge reference section on the DC-3, and sections on propliners in South America and Alaska.
Propliners 1: Buy from Amazon UK | Buy from Amazon USA
Propliners 2: Buy from Amazon UK | Buy from Amazon USA


7. Landing in Las Vegas: Commercial Aviation and the Making of a Tourist City, by Daniel K Bubb
When commercial flights first arrived in Las Vegas in the mid-1920s, they were carrying mail between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. Las Vegas was an old railroad refueling stop and not much more. The mail planes just needed an airstrip and a place to refuel so they could be on their way again. When the airlines began to take paying passengers aboard, enterprising Las Vegans realized they could sell these visitors more than fuel and a few beers. Hotel resorts started going up, replacing the rougher hotels that were little more than saloons. The new hotels had restaurants, live music, swamp coolers (a kind of air conditioning), and slot machines. People began to make Las Vegas their destination rather than just an unavoidable overnight stop. Landing in Las Vegas is a short book at 124 pages of text and photos. There’s plenty of documentation, footnotes, and sources. In addition to an original interpretation of the rise of Las Vegas, Bubb includes many intriguing details, such as the story of the first woman passenger to arrive in Las Vegas by air and Senator Pat McCarran’s successes in getting federal funds for expanding the airport and establishing an Air Force base in Las Vegas.
Buy from Amazon UK | Buy from Amazon USA 

8. Above and Beyond: Inspiring Adventures into the Blue, by Heather McKeown
True and fascinating tales from the life of a flight attendant criss-crossing the globe. Heather McKeown welcomes you into the world of the airline service industry, and offers up hope to all who step onto the jetway. From stories of the sick and invalid, to those whose hopes and dreams are a flight away, you’ll see the world from a whole new perspective–from take-off to landing, and beyond.
Buy from Amazon UK | Buy from Amazon USA | Buy on Kindle 

9. China Airborne, by James Fallows
A fascinating account of China’s plans to rival America in the air, with aircraft manufacturing, huge airlines and route networks, and countless modern airports across the country. Fallows chronicles life in the city of Xi’an, home to 250,000 aerospace engineers and assembly-line workers, and introduces us to some of the hucksters, visionaries, entrepreneurs, and dreamers who seek to benefit from China’s pursuit of aeronautical supremacy.
Buy from Amazon UK | Buy from Amazon USA 

Learn to fly in 21 days10. Learn to Fly in 21 Days, by Phil Stone
Have you been putting off learning to fly? Maybe now’s the time to bite the bullet and go for it. Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you how rewarding and thrilling it is. This book claims to take you there in a very short period of time, and it’s cheap so why not give it a read?
Buy from Amazon UK | Buy from Amazon USA | Buy on Kindle

Jakarta airlines move back to Halim Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Asia, Indonesia, Spotting News | Posted on 30-06-2012


licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licenseHalim Airport in Jakarta was the city’s main airport until 1985, when the new Soekarno-Hatta International Airport opened to replace it.

Since then Halim has been a base for government and military flights, plus a few domestic operators and air taxi companies. I had the pleasure of taking an airside tour there in 2004, and noted lots of old airliners stored around the airfield, and a few cargo operators also making use of the facility.

Now, news has surfaced that Garuda’s Citilink subsidiary, along with Merpati Nusantara, and the new Lion Air subsidiary Batik Air, are all to relocate operations to Halim airport from early 2013.

The move is to help combat the severe overcrowding at Soekarno-Hatta, which receives more than double its designed capacity.

It is understood that the move would be a temporary one, whilst Angkasa Pura (AP) II, the planning agency, constructs additional apron space at Soekarno-Hatta and modifies Terminal 3 to handle more passengers. They will also assess the future role of Halim to make sure best use is made of Jakarta’s airport facilities.


Best of the Web – Airport Spotting Videos – Boston Logan Time Lapse

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, North America, Spotting Videos, USA | Posted on 29-06-2012


Here’s a cool time-lapse video of morning departures at Boston Logan Airport. The lines of aircraft waiting to depart, and the variety, is incredible. Enjoy!

Transaero’s Italian invasion

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Eastern Europe, Italy, Miscellaneous Spotting, Russia, Russia and CIS, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 27-06-2012


Copyright (c) Alex Pereslavtsev collectionRussian airline Transaero has been focusing on Italy in its latest expansion plans.

It recently inaugurated flights between Moscow Vnukovo and Rome Fiumicino, which now runs 5x weekly using Boeing 737 aircraft. The maiden flight was operated by one of the airline’s Boeing 777-200 aircraft as part of the publicity surrounding the event.

Additionally, Transaero will begin flights from Moscov Vnukovo to Venice, St. Petersburg to Rome Fiumicino, and St. Petersburg to Milan Malpensa from tomorrow.

Then, from 30th June, it will begin flights from Moscow Vnukovo to Milan Malpensa.

The airline is hoping to drastically increase its presence in the Italian market, and with its ever expanding fleet of modern aircraft, you will start to see more and more of their colours at Italian airports.

Dubai planning A380 “mini-city”

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Dubai, Middle East, Spotting News | Posted on 27-06-2012


Dubai Airport’s latest terminal will be unveiled by the end of the year, and its purpose is to house Emirates’ growing fleet of Airbus A380 jets with their massive passenger capacities, and the many specialist problems they pose to airport operations.

Emirates will eventually have 90 of the A380 aircraft in its fleet, and this new terminal at Dubai will be capable of handling 20 at any one time, each docked to jet bridges.

Inside the 11-storey terminal, there will be first class and business lounges, large departure lounges, and an automated people mover train linking to Terminal 3.

Once open, the new terminal will bring Dubai Airport’s capacity to 75 million passengers per year.

Ghana market hots up ahead of Fastjet launch

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Africa, Airline News, Ghana, Spotting News | Posted on 25-06-2012


Source: WikipediaAirlines in Ghana are feeling pressured into staking their claim on the country’s air travel market ahead of the high-profile launch of Fast Jet – the new airline headed by easyJet founder Stelion Haji-Ioannou.

One such airline, Starbow, is planning to introduce a variety of short-haul international routes from its Accra base using BAe 146 aircraft, whilst also taking on Boeing 737-700 or Airbus A319 aircraft to allow it to stretch further into international markets.

Fly540 is an existing Ghanian low-cost airline, however it is set to rebrand as Fastjet, with its base at Accra, and offer flights to a range of domestic and international destinations. It also plans to franchise its brand to other African countries, bringing fast, modern and efficient operations to a continent that until recently has been largely reliant on older jets and lax safety standards.

FastjetBoth airlines are targeting similar routes, choosing to focus on business destinations, and on increasing frequencies on routes that have been underserved until now. This, they hope, will attract business customers and frequent fliers to their airlines.

Currently, airlines such as Emirates, South African, Ethiopian Airlines and Air Nigeria also provide plenty of capacity between African destinations as part of their long-haul routes, and it is hoped that these new low-cost airlines can muscle in on this market by being based at Accra and providing these high frequencies.

Aviation in Ghana is set to become busier, and no doubt more cut throat until the new airlines make their mark. Expect to see a variety of new airliner types operating, and a host of new destinations on offer.

5 Ways to Boost Your Spotting

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting | Posted on 24-06-2012


Creative Commons via WikipediaHas spotting taken a back seat for you lately? Maybe the past few months hasn’t seen you log a single aircraft or dust the camera off once. If this is you, here are five tips to help boost your spotting activities this year…

1. Re-evaluate why you do it
Are you an aviation photographer? Then chances are you do it to take exciting shots of unusual or new aircraft in sunny weather.
Do you log registrations? Then chances are you’re looking for something new, so find out which airlines have new aircraft, or where the last few examples of older aircraft still reside and make a plan for what you want to see.

2. Book yourself on an aviation tour
There are lots of aviation tour companies operating year-round, particularly in the UK. These offer trips with like-minded enthusiasts to various destinations around the world. They organise ramp tours, hotels with views of movements, museum visits, and plenty of flying. Check out Aeroprints, Ian Allan Tours and TAS Tours.

3. Take some time on the family holiday
If you’ve already got a family holiday booked this summer, why not take a day of it for your own ‘relaxation’? Chances are you’ll be near a foreign airport with exotic aircraft you don’t see every day. You might even be lucky enough to be in a hotel which is underneath the flight path, or has rooms overlook the airport. Work out in advance the best day for visiting aircraft, and plan a little time watching, photographing or logging at a new place.

Norwegian 737 at ARN4. Give yourself a target
I find one of the best motivational tools in life for me is having targets or lists to accomplish or tick off. Perhaps if you’re a spotter, then you’re also of that mindset, and enjoy ticking off. If that’s the case, why not challenge yourself to visit 5 new airports, or log all the aircraft in a particular fleet, and give yourself a timescale to achieve it? I know one person who challenged himself to see every civil aircraft on the UK register by the end of the year. It’s productive, and gets you out spotting!

5. Buy a book for inspiration
Sometimes it just takes a book or magazine to inspire you, or give you advice that will help you plan something. Monthly aviation magazines are full of photographs and news of the latest aircraft deliveries, airline routes and spotting information. My books also give you detailed spotting information at airports worldwide. Check out Airport Spotting Guides Europe, Airport Spotting Guides USA, and Airport Spotting Guides Far East & Australasia.

Best of the Web – Airport Spotting Videos – Refitting Virgin 747

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Miscellaneous Spotting, Spotting Videos | Posted on 22-06-2012


In this week’s video, you’ll see “Barbarella”, AKA G-VROM, a Boeing 747-400 of Virgin Atlantic, being refitted. This includes a brand new paint scheme, and a complete strip down and refit of all the seats inside. It also means the new lie-flat beds and premium seats. Fascinating to see the whole process cut down to a couple of minutes.

Skopje Airport receives Wizz Air boost

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Dubai, Eastern Europe, Macedonia, Middle East, Spotting News | Posted on 21-06-2012


Skopje Airport in Macedonia has been hoping for some good news lately, following the demise of national carrier Macedonian Airlines in 2009. The government has been courting Jat Airways and Turkish Airlines to try and reinstate air routes from the country’s airports.

Currently Austrian Airlines and Croatia Airlines are the biggest carriers serving Macedonia.

Ryanair have also been indicating their interest in operating low-cost flights from the country’s airports, and now Wizz Air has announced it is starting a base from Skopje to offer cheap connections to various European destinations.

Initially, six routes will be offered by Wizz, all starting in October 2012 and utilising their Airbus A320 aircraft. The routes are:

Basel, Switzerland
Dortmund, Germany
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Malmo Sturup, Sweden
Milan Bergamo, Italy
Munich, Germany

The airline already serves London Luton, UK and Venice Treviso, Italy, from Skopje.

Other good news for Skopje recently was the announcement that FlyDubai will begin direct Boeing 737-800 flights to Dubai by the end of the year.

5 most popular posts this year

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in About The Site | Posted on 18-06-2012


Here are the 5 most popular posts so far this year on Airport Spotting Blog.

Thanks for your support. What would you like to see more articles about? Leave a comment below.


1. Boeing 777-300 Delivery Flight
In February I got the opportunity to join British Airways in picking up their latest Boeing 777-300, G-STBH, from Seattle. This is the story of that delivery flight, which landed at BAMC in Cardiff.

2. 5 Old Jet Hubs Not to Miss
As old jets become rarer, we look at where you can go to still see the old smokeys in action.

3. Thomson’s 787 Revealed
Thomson Airways revealed its new colour scheme and the routes its Boeing 787s will fly when it becomes the first UK airline to take delivery of the type in early 2013.
4. Paris Charles de Gaulle Loses its Mound
The famous ‘Mound’ spotting area at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport suddenly disappeared as engineers moved in to develop the site. We looked at alternatives.

5. British Airways 787 and A380 Plans
BA gave an early indication over the routes its new Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s will be seen on. It is due to take delivery of both types from 2013. Naturally it will mean Heathrow becomes even more interesting to visit.