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NEWS Last modified on May 15, 2017

All you need to know about plane spotters

If a new London City Airport survey is to be believed, 'plane spotters' really do seem to be understood by the British public as far from being the hobby of some sad, lonely old men, it is increasingly the pursuit of the young and 45% of them have a degree or a diploma!

The survey revealed that perhaps, unsurprisingly,  Princess Juliana International Airport in St Maarten (pictured above) is their favourite airport in the world because of the close proximity that they can get to a plane without actually being in one. 

In fact more than a third of the 500 aviation enthusiasts interviewed in the London City Airport (LCY) survey named the Caribbean island as the leading destination of choice to plane spot.

The survey also revealed that, contrary to popular belief, the majority of plane spotters take up the hobby at a young age, with 53% under 12 years old when they first started.

Indeed, 62% of those surveyed are aged 34 or under and half of the respondents are married or in a relationship, smashing the stereotype of the more mature, solitary, anorak-wearing plane spotter.

According to LCY, committed aviation enthusiasts will travel abroad to plane spot (49%) and 21% have visited more than 21 airports to engage in their hobby. 

And it must pay off, as an incredible 59% can identify planes by the sound of the engine alone.

Henry Heming is an aviation enthusiast and Menzies Turnaround Manager at London City Airport and was among the most popular aviation influencers according to the survey, regularly tweeting from his @FOHeming account to over 4,000 followers.
LCY new
Heming, 23, from Camden, North London, said: “I’ve been passionate about planes since the age of six and I still find them fascinating feats of engineering. 

"I think lots of people are secretly aviation geeks – I see it every day when passengers take selfies with aircraft before they board.

“Naturally, London City Airport is a particular favourite of mine to plane spot, but it would be a dream to visit St Maarten – it’s a very rare and unique perspective on arriving aircraft - plus the sunshine setting is idyllic!”
Lisa Hills, 45, an AvGeek from Gravesend in Kent, said: “It was Concorde and the iconic British Airways advertisements which spurred my love of aviation.

"I jokingly describe myself as a ‘professional flight stalker’, with tools like FlightRadar24 helping me to keep track of aircraft, including my favourite the Airbus A318. I can also follow airborne friends in all corners of the globe.

“My interest in aviation is a fun hobby, which has also introduced me to lots of new people, with whom I keep in touch through social media and in person, at air shows and airports – it’s a thriving community."
LCY tower
London City Airport surveyed a total of 581 people, 91% of whom agreed they consider themselves to be an aviation geek, better known as an ‘Av Geek’. 

The airport, which is located just 20 minutes from London Bridge, is popular with plane spotters, with 11 airlines and a unique urban location known for its steep take-off and descent angle and famous City skyline views.

• LCY points out that it is now possible to fly to St Maarten from LCY via Amsterdam with KLM as the Dutch carrier returned to London City Airport in February, following an eight year absence and now offers four daily flights between the centrally located airport and Amsterdam Schiphol. 




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