Extra

These flight enthusiasts are tracking flights near Melbourne Airport and more people are joining

Written by Javed Iqbal

For Liz Carnuccio, there is nothing like the sound of a plane flying directly overhead.

“You can really hear the roar of the engine and feel the wind hit your face, it’s pretty amazing,” she said.

She is part of a fly-spotting group in Melbourne with hundreds of members.

These enthusiasts spend their free time traveling to viewing areas outside Melbourne Airport in Tullamarine, where planes fly overhead on their way to landing or take off.

“I’m a fan of it all,” Liz explained.

a woman smiles at the camera.  She is holding a phone and wearing a red jacket.
Liz Carnuccio says she enjoys every element of plane spotting.(ABC News: Billy Draper)

“Traveling to the airport, seeing planes, tracking them … and imagining where people are going.”

She shares her aviation passion with her cousin Kieren Andrews.

“It’s something that my parents used to do when they were younger and took us out as kids too,” he said.

In the viewing area, flight spotters track flights on apps on their phones. Members each have their favorite aircraft model to spot.

A man in a black jacket smiling.  He is holding a camera.
Kieren Andrews says his parents used to watch planes.(ABC News: Billy Draper)

“At the moment the 737 is pretty good,” Kieren said, although he misses the 747.

Fellow plane spotter Linda Ramage has loved planes since she was a little girl, but said she didn’t always get a positive response when she told people about her passion.

“They look at me strangely,” she laughed.

“But for me it’s no different for anyone who likes cars, trucks, trains. We just love airplanes.”

a woman with short hair holding a red camera.  She is smiling and wearing a black jacket.
Linda Ramage says some people are judgmental when she tells them about her passion for airplanes.(ABC News: Billy Draper)

There are two dedicated viewing areas outside Melbourne Airport.

Plane spotters say they are so popular they have become a local tourist attraction in Melbourne’s north-west.

Here, children flock to the food trucks serving hot chips and ice cream, while couples huddle around steaming cups of coffee and look up at the sky.

a person is holding a phone with an open card on it.
Flight spotters use phone apps to track flights.(ABC News: Billy Draper)

Linda said that since the lockdowns ended and the planes returned, the viewing areas had become increasingly busy.

“The more people that get involved in our hobby, our passion is great,” she said.

“The more the better.”

Chris has seen almost half a century of aviation

While train and bird spotting are more recognized pursuits, flying has always been Chris Daley’s love.

It is almost fifty years since he first started spotting planes.

He said when he first started, the jets were “much louder, much smaller, very smoky”.

a man with a beard and glasses smiling.  he is holding a camera.
Chris Daley hopes plane spotting will continue to grow in popularity.(ABC News: Billy Draper)

Chris has seen almost half a century of aviation history right from the runways.

He can’t even estimate how many pictures he’s taken of airplanes in that time.

“It would be impossible to count them, just in the last 10 years it would be several tens of thousands,” he said.

Like his fellow enthusiasts, he hopes his hobby continues to grow in popularity.

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Javed Iqbal

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