Link to Profile Semperoper, Dresden Sieg (auf dem Siegesäule), Berlin Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Skyline, Frankfurt am Main

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Plane Spotting

It was a slow day ... weather too dicey to play golf, and I had no place special to go. So I decided to see if I could get a few good shots of planes landing. Yes, I have a hard life indeed.

I forgot how many people (mostly middle aged men, in serious need of a life who have found one doing this for hours on end ... I felt odd doing it for an hour) go to the airport to hang out and watch the aircraft land.

Most of them had cameras. I was happy to have my "super" 300mm telephoto lens on hand, but I started to get a real sense of Lens-Envy as I walked past the serious guys with the 1000mm + telephoto lenses. You could see them sneer at my little attachment as I walked by. Still I managed to get some nice photos.

Some of these guys are really into Plane Spotting, not only in photographing the planes, but also in keeping detailed logs of tail-numbers (aircraft ID's) and times of take-off or landing.

Some people even travel the world doing this ... a bunch of Brits were jailed in Greece for this sometime after September 11. I think the Greeks kept their equipment, which given the investment some of these guys make in gear, would make a serious dent in their household budget. In any case, one could make the observation that "the Greeks don't want no Geeks." Groan!

I wonder how people get into this ... do they start watching planes and then buy all the toys, or do they find themselves with all the toys and a need to find something to do with them?

I must admit it is fun to watch planes landing on a windy day like today ... but unless you are trying to piece together the operations of certain groups of aircraft operators, it really makes one wonder why these guys do this for hours on end. Then again, several of the biggest lenses on the line were sitting on the ground ... some of these guys were spotting for specific tail numbers, and would only point the big guns in the direction of ground operations if one landed. Maybe they are looking for those famed CIA flights the EU has been whining about ... hmmm. Since some military and a number of military contracted flights still come here, I would not be surprised if a couple of these guys were out there for professional reasons.

This also gave me a chance to take a close-up look at the Luftbrücke (Air Bridge) memorial to the 1947 Berlin Airlift. The Frankfurt airport was dual use until recently, with the "other side" being Rhein-Main Air Force Base. I flew into this place on more than a few occasions in the 80's, but I never bothered to see the memorial up close. I also hadn't bothered to see it in the past several years I have lived here. The fenced in area is only open on alternate weekends, so I had to photograph it from outside, but I finally got to see this little icon in person and not just from the A-5 as I was speeding up to 200KPH or from Final for 25L as I was slowing to 160Kts.


Blogger Scott said...

I used to love going to the Tampa airport when I was a kid and watch jets come and go. I've been through Fraport dozens of times and wasn't even aware that you could actually observe planes without having gone through security first -- or without having security come down on you for photographing operations.

I've got a question for you totally unrelated to this post. I'm coming to Frankfurt on Friday to visit the US Consulate for some "consular services." I'll be driving and rumor has it there's not much parking near the Consulate on Geissener Str.

Have you been to that new Consulate? Have you got any suggestions for someone who plans to drive there from outside Frankfurt? Perhaps someplace else where we can reliably expect to be able to park our car and take public transportation to the Consulate?

11:03 AM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger Mike B said...

I'm afraid I haven't been to the new consulate, so I can't be of much help. I would suspect that is the old army complex, and that is surrounded by a cemetary and a residential area. Unrestricted parking would very likely be difficult to find there, but might be had. Watch out, because recently a lot of the residential parking opportunities have gone resident-only in the mornings to keep commuters from taking all the spots.

You could alternatively drive into town and park in a garage around the Konstablerwache (which is on the main shopping district, the Zeil) and take the U-5 richtung Preungesheim (north).

11:38 AM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger Scott said...

Thanks. I think we'll go the Konstablerwache route.

8:19 PM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger Constellation said...

Great photos! Here, in Spain is a not much known hobby, but altrough is a very hard life (rain, sun, security members,...) the results are gratificant! Try to upload in some of the great airplane photos sites, like or JetPhotos!

6:12 PM, August 20, 2006  

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