WHAT IS AIRCRAFT SPOTTING?
It can't be denied. A lot of people in the world are attracted to aviation. Therefore aircraft spotting is a world-wide spread hobby.
In Europe nevertheless you can find it mostly in England, Germany and the Netherlands. In our country there are just a few aircraft spotters. One of the main reasons is that in comparison with the earlier mentioned countries, the Belgian aviation authorities are offering very few spotting facilities. At all airport, the viewing terraces are closed.
The roots of this fine hobby are situated in Great-Britain. It all started during World War II, when people were specially trained to spot enemy aircraft during the famous "Battle of Britain". Today hundreds of spotters are visiting daily the Europe's busiest airport. They are armed with telescopes and notebooks, in which they record the aircraft registrations. Each aircraft (military or civilian) has a unique registration code, just as our car. This number is divided in a country code (OO- for Belgium) and a certain number of figures or letters to give the aircraft its own identity. One of the goals of aircraft spotters is logging these registrations, to proof they have seen the airplanes.
Not all spotters are interested simply in registrations. On the continent they are more photographing the aircraft. A collection of several thousand aircraft photo's or slides taken by one person is certainly not uncommon. Some are collecting every aircraft, others are restricting their collection to a certain type of aircraft.
There were some "special" rules you had to keep in mind when you took photo's or slides of aircraft. For the slides we normally used the famous Kodachrome 25/64 film. We always try to photograph as much as possible with a 50 mm lens and the aircraft in full frame. Tarmacshots are very much appreciated !
But also in the spottersworld, the digital photography is becoming more and more common. I too, changed my equipment in june 2004 to the CANON EOS 300D. The period of the slides definitively ended for me.