Has 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.
4. 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.