Home Classic Airliners Are You Missing Out on Seeing These Iconic Aircraft?

Are You Missing Out on Seeing These Iconic Aircraft?

Antonov An-225

Are you making the most of your hobby and taking opportunities to see some great aircraft?

All too often it seems the day job, family, lack of time or lack of money stops us getting out there and doing what we love.

There are some iconic aircraft either flying or preserved which you need to see. Could you plan to fit in some of these and tick them off your database or grab a photograph of them this year?




An Air France Concorde preserved at Toulouse Aeroscopia Museum.

When Concorde retired in 2003 it was a sad day for aviation. However, nearly all of the Concorde aircraft that were produced can still be visited in museums around the world, where you’ll often get the chance to go on board and see what it was like in the sleek, First Class cabin flying at twice the speed of sound.

The easiest ones to see are at Manchester Airport (UK), New York Intrepid Museum (USA), Museum of Air and Space, Paris Le Bourget Airport (France), Museum of Flight (Seattle), National Air and Space Museum, Washington Dulles (USA), and Duxford Museum (UK).


American Airlines Retro Schemes

American TWA Heritage livery. Photo (c) Adam Moreira

American TWA Heritage livery. Photo (c) Adam Moreira

American Airlines today is a mash up of so many different airlines that have come about due to mergers over recent years. As a testament to this history, there are a number of aircraft in its fleet which represent the different historic airlines. They’re great to get a photo of before it’s too late, although some look a little odd (like the Reno Air 737!). The aircraft are:

  • AirCal (Air California)
    737-800 N917NN
  • TWA
    737-800 N915NN
  • PSA
    A319 N742PS
  • Reno Air
    737-800 N916NN
  • US Airways
    A321 N578UW
  • Piedmont
    A319 N744P
  • Allegheny
    A319 N745VJ
  • America West Airlines
    A319 N838AW
  • American ‘Astrojet’
    737-800 N951AA


Airbus A380

Thai A380

The ultimate in size and comfort. Airbus’ flagship double-decker airliner is in service with a select number of airline carriers around the world, mainly flying into larger airports. The most common places to catch them are Dubai International (UAE), London Heathrow (UK), New York JFK (USA), Los Angeles LAX (USA) and Sydney (Australia). However, they’re a common sight at a lot of different airports, so there’s no excuse not to go see one.


Boeing 747-800

747-8 Air China

A 747-8 of Air China

The latest, and probably final, variant of the Jumbo Jet hasn’t sold in vast numbers but they are out there to see with a few different airlines. It features a larger upper deck in the passenger variant and redesigned engines that both make it look a little sleeker.

In Europe you can regularly see them with Lufthansa at Frankfurt and Cargolux at Luxembourg and other big cargo airports.

In Asia they’re flying with Air China and Korean Airlines.

All of these carriers fly to hubs in America like New York JFK and Los Angeles LAX.


European Retro Liveries

aer lingus retro a320

Aer Lingus A320 retro livery aircraft

There are lots of them out there and they’re pretty easy to catch. But they tend to disappear without notice as aircraft are repainted. So if you haven’t got a picture of these yet, maybe it’s time to head to one of the Euro hubs like London Heathrow, Paris CDG or Frankfurt to catch some of them.

Some of the best ones include Lufthansa A321 and 747-800, Aer Lingus A320, Air Malta A320, Aeroflot A320, Condor A320, KLM 737-800, LOT ERJ-175, Turkish A330, and SAS A319.


Antonov An-225

Antonov An-225

By Vasiliy Koba (http://spotters.net.ua/file/?id=95892&size=large) [CC BY-SA 4.0 or CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Only one of these huge iconic aircraft is in flying condition, so it’s pretty hard to pin it down. But this is the largest aircraft anywhere in the world, so you’re going to want to see it at some point.

The aircraft is chartered to carry outsized cargo all over the world. Typically it is found in Europe and North America, with a base in Ukraine. But you never know where it might appear!


Hawker Siddeley Trident

Trident G-AWZK

The Hawker Siddeley Trident never sold in big numbers, but it was one of the most important airliners to grace our skies.

Built at Hatfield near London, it was the inspiration for the Boeing 727 and featured the ability to land all by itself on autopilot for the first time in airliner history. It was one of the fastest airliners, and a firm favourite.

The last Tridents were retired in the early 1990s in China, but they had disappeared from European skies in 1986. Today a number of them are preserved in places like Manchester, Sunderland, Beijing and Duxford’s Imperial War Museum.


If you could pick just one of these to see today, which would it be? Leave a comment below, or share a link to a photo you’ve taken of that aircraft!


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jon May 5, 2016 - 8:59 pm

Add the 747sp. Hope to catch it someday at LAS.

Matt Falcus May 6, 2016 - 9:22 am

Good suggestion Jon!

Chris Davis May 10, 2016 - 5:43 pm

I really appreciate all the informational E mail updates. Anchorage (ANC) is an excellent place to see B747F’s. I just spent a week watching the planes there and saw 747’s, 400 and 800, from Polar, Atlas, UPS, Asiana, Korea, Cathay Pacific, Nippon Cargo, Cargolux, China A/L’s, Yangtze River Express, Centurian and Kalitta. The road at the back of the airport is great for photos in the afternoon but you do need a car to get there. (If you get tired of the 747’s the roar of the Evert’s DC6’s will bring tears to your eyes !)

Matt Falcus May 10, 2016 - 6:32 pm

Thanks for the info Chris! Anchorage seems like an amazing place to spot and photograph aircraft!

Keegan May 15, 2016 - 8:40 am

I hope I will have a chance to one day see the Antonov An-225 fly.

Mick Stead January 23, 2018 - 3:24 am

The Antonov has been flying over Leeds quite a few times recently .

Chiquita March 14, 2019 - 8:50 pm

Can you tell me what platform are you utilizing on this website?


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