Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Location: Bangalore, India
|Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:52 pm Post subject: Jetrosexual!
|The high life of the jetrosexual
If you can't comprehend why a group of men spend much of their spare time obsessing over planes, Beau Chenery recommends you stand under the flight path of a 400 tonne jet as it takes off.
"I silence the nay-sayers by taking them down to Gold Coast Airport and make them stand underneath the runway," he said.
"They don't have much of a comeback to that one."
The arrival of a new addition to the Qantas fleet is always guaranteed to draw hordes of the planespotters.
It's this visceral thrill of an aircraft take-off which has drawn the 23-year-old to the world of planespotting.
Having taken on the hobby as a 15-year-old, Chenery has spent hundreds of days at Brisbane Airport photographing different models and makes of planes.
This devotion to a hobby has seen him develop the uncanny ability of correctly identifying the model and flight route of any plane he spots with the naked eye.
It all has to do with the size and shape of the plane, and an insider's knowledge of flight schedules.
"I don't have to be close at all by any means," he said.
"I see planes flying overhead that track to Auckland to Bangkok that will cross over Brisbane, that's 40,000 feet, 13 kilometres or so, and I can tell what that is."
Chenery is one of the administrators of Jetspotter, an Australian planespotting community that boasts more than 200 Brisbane members.
Along with discussing the latest models and airlines set to pass through Brisbane Airport and share photos of the planes they've seen, the community organises to meet at the facility's plane-spotting cul-de-sac.
Brisbane Airport Corporation's Jim Carden said the spot has been a huge hit with planespotters and travellers alike.
It has been enough of an drawcard that when BAC revealed the cul-de-sac would need to be removed to make way for the airport's second runway, Carden took Chenery and a group of other planespotters for a ride around the airport to find a suitable replacement location.
Carden says the group are a valuable addition to the airport community with their photography being used in corporate and reports
While their insiders' knowledge has also helped tip the airport off about special arrivals such as John Travolta's Qantas 707.
"When the recent ash cloud diverted planes to Brisbane from Sydney to Melbourne lot of spotters raced to the cul-de-sac," he said.
"We had an A380 parked at the international terminal and the buzz went around.
"In fact, Beau contacted me before the authorities contacted me that there was those diversions coming in."
Carden jokingly refers to the planespotters group as 'jetrosexuals' for the devotion to their hobby, but that isn't to say he's mystified by the past-time's appeal.
He knows all-too-well the effect planes can have.
"If I take people out to the runway, the most cynical, hardened, cool politicians or VIPs get a buzz out of seeing 400 tonnes of metal taking off," he said.
Planespotters range in age from their early teens to retirees and, although the hobby is male dominated, there are female members of Chenery's site.
Many planespotters work in the aviation industry, while others wish they did.
Michael Dawson is a planespotter and an airline worker in Brisbane who gathers with other members of the community every weekend to observe the action on the runway.
Having grown up with a father who was an aircraft controller, the hobby has taken 38-year-old overseas.
"We all go on trips around the world, I've been to Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Phuket and most of Australia and New Zealand," he said.
Other planespotters can go to greater extremes.
Carden often sees members of the community file in at the airport as soon as the cul-de-sac opens in the morning and others leave as it closes at night.
"Some guys I've known are so obsessive with this hobby, they like it so much they've had marriage break-ups over it," Chenery says.
Advances in technology have made it easier and easier for planespotters to stay informed about the movements of aircraft.
Beau admits the need to be at the airport in order to avoid missing a plane is gradually diminishing through the use of flight tracking sites.
He regularly monitors the flight path of aircraft entering Brisbane air space through sites such as Flight Radar 24.
The site picks up planes within 600 kilometres of Brisbane airport, allowing Chenery to drive out to the facility in time to grab a pic of the aircraft.
But that's not to say the hobby is dying out, just evolving.
"There is always a current flock of newbies coming through," he said.
We miss you Nalini!