Get­ting up at 3am, log­ging times in ex­er­cise books — why these fa­nat­ics are ad­dicted to the sight and sound of gi­ant me­tal birds


RICHARD Krei­der is the first to admit it’s a niche hobby.

“There are only re­ally a few of us who are will­ing to wake up at 3am and go to Perth Air­port to take a photo of an air­craft land­ing,” he says.

But for Perth’s 20 or so ded­i­cated plane-spot­ters, there is noth­ing bet­ter than watch­ing a great big me­tal bird of the sky roar in for a dra­matic land­ing.

“It just amazes me how a lump of me­tal con­tain­ing hun­dreds of peo­ple can lift off the ground and stay air­borne,” Mr Krei­der said of the thrill of watch­ing an air­craft land. “The noise they make as they tear down a run­way to take off, the re­verse thrusters scream­ing as they pull an air­craft to a stop.”

Mr Krei­der is a reg­u­lar at the two plane-spot­ting hotspots where avi­a­tion en­thu­si­asts gather to log flights, take pho­tos of planes and keep an eye to the sky.

Most are mem­bers of Avi­a­tion WA. Mem­bers tend to range from keen hob­by­ists to ded­i­cated fa­nat­ics but they all share a pas­sion for planes.

“Ev­ery­one loves to see air­craft fly,” says an­other mem­ber, Keith An­der­son. “It’s just amaz­ing to see an air­craft land at Perth that has flown for hun­dreds of miles bring­ing a group of peo­ple to a new coun­try. It’s just an awe­some sight and sound.”

The plane-spot­ters can usu­ally be found at one of two spots. In win­ter, the view­ing plat­form at Perth Air­port gives the best view of run­way 03, which gets a steady work­out in the colder months as the winds pick up.

In the warmer months they are usu­ally found in a spot in an in­dus­trial es­tate in South Guild­ford that gives the best view of planes as they de­scend into Perth Air­port.

Some of the men log the planes’ com­ings and go­ings, oth­ers pre­fer pho­tog­ra­phy.

“Peo­ple like to take pho­tos of wild­flow­ers or green moun­tains or sun­sets, I pre­fer mov­ing tar­gets, es­pe­cially at night,” Mr Krei­der said.

For the youngest mem­ber of Avi­a­tion WA, Nick Stubbs-Ross, 17, it’s the idea of record­ing a piece of his­tory that makes plane spot­ting so ad­dic­tive.

“You’re cap­tur­ing a mo­ment in his­tory, that is a mo­ment that will never be seen again,” he said.

“I’ve cap­tured planes that have crashed or are sold on to other air­lines and they are never seen again and I think that’s re­ally im­por­tant be­cause you’ve got the pic­ture of the plane right there and no one else might have it,” he said.

“I’ve got pic­tures of planes that are highly se­cre­tive that have come into Perth and only our plane-spot­ters know about it and I think that’s re­ally im­por­tant.”

Not ev­ery­one is ob­sessed with view­ing from afar how­ever. Luke Chit­tock prefers to in­dulge in the glam­our­com­fort of of his own liv­ing room. the skies from the

The Floreat travel agent has six fully op­er­a­tional Qan­tas plane seats in his lounge — busi­ness class of course — in lieu of a couch.

“They are prac­ti­cal — they have the tray ta­ble in them, it’s good for the TV din­ners,” he says

It’s also a novel idea for a din­ner party, and he oc­ca­sion­ally hosts a sky-in­spired meal.

“It’s good fun,” he says. “When I first did them I couldn’t cook my­self so I would go to the shop and buy lasagne, I would cook it in my oven and do the lit­tle bread rolls with the but­ter thing, but these days when I do it, it’s more like a busi­ness, first-class ex­pe­ri­ence with a choice of meals and every­thing. The feed­back is very im­pres­sive.”

Mr Chit­tock also logs his “fly­ing hours” as a pas­sen­ger, and has clocked up an im­pres­sive 6746 hours and 23 min­utes in the air.

“I’ve been to the moon and back,” he jokes. “I just love the ex­cite­ment of go­ing on a flight, the food, how you can go from here to some­where else and see a dif­fer­ent life­style and world.”

SHOOT TO THRILL – Neil Bees lies on his car bon­net tak­ing pic­tures of planes go­ing over­head

MEM­O­RA­BILIA MAN – Keith An­der­son has a man cave of plane sou­venirs

LIV­ING THE DREAM – Luke Chit­tock has six plane seats in his liv­ing room in­stead of a lounge

Plane pic­tures: Richard Krei­der 3AM AND ALL’S WELL — Richard Krei­der will take a pic­ture day AND night

TEENAGE WHIZ – 17-year-old Nick Stubbs-Ross logs plane ar­rivals and de­par­tures in his ex­er­cise books

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