What is plane spotting?

Airbus A380 at Heathrow's Myrtle Avenue Spotting Location

Airbus A380 approaching Heathrow’s Myrtle Avenue Spotting Location

That is a question I was asked recently for a feature on BBC Radio 4 in the UK.

I met interviewer John McCarthy at London Heathrow’s Myrtle Avenue – arguably the best spot to spot planes at the airport if the aircraft are landing on 27L – to discuss the topic.

If you’re into plane spotting yourself, I’m sure you’ll agree that it is not particularly understood by many. So I tried to get across in the interview that it is interesting to those who do it. It isn’t related to terrorism. To many it uncovers worldwide travel pursuing the hobby. They also gave a plug about my latest book.

I’m not suggesting for one second that people should take it up if they’re not interested in aircraft, airports or airlines. But this goes for every hobby.

The radio piece also features an interview with Lesley and Paul Coppin – two of the plane spotters arrested in Greece in 2001 on espionage charges. Naturally they talk about the frustrating side of the hobby, that is avoiding the natural assumption that you’re up to no good, and what makes it interesting for them.

Please have a listen to the interview at this link (9m 35s into the show): http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b01hw3z7

Let me know what you think by commenting below. How do you feel about the hobby? Why do you do it? What problems does it raise?

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