John Lennon’s words back in the 1970’s don’t really reflect aviation today. Actually, they are not supposed to, I think it was more about revolution and hippy stuff. But it’s a great phrase and on a clear night or day if you look into the azure blue or dark night sky we see a truly vast emptiness and maybe some aircraft . Until relatively recently, unless you lived near an airport and had lower altitude aircraft in descent or extremely good eyesight all you could surmise was that indeed it’s a plane. The internet, cheap 3g/4g data plans and free or very low cost apps have changed all that.
So now the closed world of planespotting has been gatecrashed/or overtaken by mobile Apps such as Flightradar24 and various others. There is something quite amazing in clicking on the aircraft icon on a map reflected in the overlay of your location and seeing that the silver shape above you is a Lufthansa Airbus A380 going from Frankfurt to Denver at 580mph, 38,000feet above where you stand in rural Britain
Spotting is perhaps still the category for the archetypal anorak wearing persons found at railway platform ends, or grasping binoculars and radio-receivers at airport viewing galleries. But for the rest of us whether we are basic bronze version app users just taking an interest or gold version users feeling needy for an essential bonus data such as colour of the captain’s socks etc. This not us all being turned into a geek; it’s the opposite – its being informed and being information ready. It is also deemed by most as quite good fun!