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  • Heathrow

    For all you #avgeeks, we’ve got in touch with some of the most avid enthusiasts at Heathrow to find out more about plane spotting and what they’ve enjoyed most about this series of Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport. Check out their top tips for photographing aircraft too!

    Name: Guss
    Instagram: aviatorlondon
    What was your favourite moment from this series?

    I really enjoyed watching the baggage toppler invention in episode nine. I loved seeing the passion and determination of Mo T, the Engineering Graduate, it was great to see that his idea worked out in the end!

    What has been your favourite plane spotting moment?

    Getting the opportunity to go airside at Heathrow and plane spot from the ATC Tower! It was a truly unforgettable experience that I will always cherish. I was able to capture some stunning and unique shots of many aircraft from the tower, most notably the British Airways 747-400 and Virgin Atlantic A340-600 - two iconic aircraft that sadly have now been retired.

    What are your top tips for photographing aircraft?

    Familiarise yourself with the many spotting locations around the airport, so that you know where to go in case of a last-minute runway change. Also, practice shooting in various weather conditions and at different times of day, it’s the best way to develop your photography skills.

    plane taking off
    Runway
    BA plane taking off
    Name: Conor
    Instagram: conormccully
    What was your favourite moment from this series?

    I loved watching the meticulous Customer Service Agent, Mr Sho, from Japan Airlines in episode five. I love the Japanese culture of etiquette, tradition and respect and Japan Airlines is also an amazing airline. It was cool to see Mr Sho head out onto the ramp and honour the Japan Airlines tradition of waving off the departing aircraft.

    What has been your favourite plane spotting moment?

    With the 747 sadly retired by global airlines, it feels special looking back to last year when I flew in the nose cone of this iconic aircraft, on the short hop across the Atlantic to New York JFK. Flying between two major hubs meant plenty of photo opportunities.

    What are your top tips for photographing aircraft?

    Help each other – build or reach out to be part of a community who share the same passion and give each other help and advice.

    Keep it simple - use tracking apps to know what traffic is approaching or departing, position yourself with the light behind you, capture everything to have some choice and edit in Lightroom if you can.

    Practise - get out there and practise and don't worry about what your images look like. Post them and just keep going and you'll work out what's best and keep learning. I'm still learning, and (fingers crossed) improving all the time.

    Name: Mel
    Instagram: avgeekmel
    What was your favourite moment from this series?

    One of my favourite moments of this series was the lovely KLM staff helping to spread happiness on Blue Monday in episode three.

    What has been your favourite plane spotting moment?

    Taking a photo of a BA B744 retro jet, in stunning BOAC livery, returning to Heathrow after her flypast with the Red Arrows at the Royal International Air Tattoo in July 2019.

    What are your top tips for photographing aircraft?

    It’s worth checking the direction of the sun at the time you intend to visit and from the spot you plan to position yourself from, at the airport - there are apps which can help you with this. Some creative images can be made shooting into the sun but in general, the best lighting for aviation images is when the sun is behind you.

    BOAC

    Plane spotters and the aviation enthusiast community are an important part of life at Heathrow. It’s wonderful to see their documentation of flights in and out of the UK’s hub airport, hear their knowledge of the various aircraft at the airport and engage with their suport of HBBA.

    Plane spotters are also useful eyes and ears around the perimeter of the airport. The Met’s Aviation Policing Unit run the Heathrow Airport Watch scheme for aviation enthusiasts to identify and report any suspicious activity. Find out more  about becoming a member

    Many thanks to our aviation enthusiasts and their insight into the plane spotting community and their photography tips. It is also fantastic to hear that they have been watching and enjoying this series!