THE PLANE OF PERTH
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