Photo taken at Vedbæk. The light is still not great, but getting better!
OY-KFE. CRJ-900 SAS SK2875 9975 ft 307 kts 140202 14:33. At last, the sun broke through after several dark, cloudy, dull weeks! Taken with my back up, Medion 24x zoom compact camera over Vedbæk, Denmark
There were not many days in January 2014 that there was an opportunity to take photos of airliners at high altitude, but I managed on one day. I am using the Lumix FZ72, with 60x zoom. It is a super … Continue reading
In the previous post, I described how to use the mobile Planefinder app to find flights on your smartphone or tablet.
There is a more uniform way to capture your log entries without editing screenshots.
Luckily, Planefinder have included a playback function, so you can enter the time and location of when you captured the screen shot and track and capture the flight as if you were using the desktop application. You should still capture the map, so you know when to capture the flight details on the screen, but there is the advantage that you can “fast forward” to quickly come to the location.
In this post I will show you how to spot and log when you are not by your PC.
For this, you need a smartphone or a tablet. I use both, but it is easier to use a phone.
My current smartphone is a Samsung Galaxy S3, which runs the Android operating system. Planefinder make an app that is suited for the phone and the purpose, and they also have an app for the Iphone. Although there is a free app, it will not give you the relevant data for spotting, so I recommend that you invest the couple of $ in the paid version.
The map looks like the following screen shot:
You see a small red icon of a plane, tracked in real time and tapping the image once, shows you the registration , the flight number, the ICAO airport codes of the origin and destination (a description of this system is here ) and the altitude in feet. Using the GPS on my phone, I can also show my ground position.
Tapping again on the icon takes you to a new page, which shows details of the plane.
Sometimes their is a profile of the plane and a photo, plus all the details. You can expand the details for more information.
On the Galaxy, you can use the side of your hand to make a screen shot, and this is what we are going to do for both the plane profile and the map. Make sure these are saved to the phone. I use the Dropbox photo upload service to make sure that everything goes in the “Cloud” and I can retrieve the images.
The problem is, that the images are not the same as using the desktop web page. So how do we create an image that we can post to Pinterest?
What I do is use an web app called Pixlr. This is a free on line photo editor (the mobile app is really cool for effects)
You simply upload the screenshot pair to the on-line editor, choosing the “Open image from computer” option, assuming that you have downloaded from the phone or Dropbox to the PC.
Place the screenshots side by side, the profile on the left. It is possible to zoom in and out of the map, to give more precise details. Then us the “snap shot” screen capture tool (described in previous posts) to make a composite image, which should look like this:
Then, save the file to your Cubby air spotting directory in the cloud in the same format as the caption above.
That’s all! Post you pin when you are ready.
How do plane spotters keep a record of their spots?
They usually underscore the listing in a book, such as Airline Fleets. However, today the fleets are available on line, which means that they are up to date.
A good place for this is planespotters.net. On this site, we can find the current and historical fleets of all the world’s airlines.
Here is an excerpt from Ryanair’s current fleet:
As you can see, the registration is listed in the first column. In this case, Ryanair’s fleet is based in the Republic of Ireland, so the prefix is EI-. The next column shows the constructor’s numbers. The US manufacturers ( that is, Boeing) have a series including all models, whereas Airbus have a series for each type. The 3rd column is the line number – the series production number. The 4th column is the plane model type. The configuration shows the class and number of seats. “Y” is for tourist – I am not aware that Ryanair has first class!.
The delivery date is shown and any previous registration-some planes are second-hand. The age is calculated and there is a link to a photo!
Only you cannot underline the entry on the web page 😦
This is what I do. I copy and paste the fleet into an Excel spread sheet. I have not tried this in Google docs, but it should be possible. Then, I colour code the row if I have spotted the plane, followed by the date and flight number. If I see the plane more than once, I add the date and flight number to the row.
I can also colour code the date/flight entry to show that I have posted it to Pinterest!
You have to remember to update the fleet now and again. I simply append the new aircraft to the bottom of my file.
1) Get a Pinterest account at www.pinterest.com
3) Start posting your screen shots. Include the Aircraft Registration, aircraft type, the flight number, departure and destination airports/cities. You can search for the details of the aircraft and the flight here . Post your location and the Lon/Lat co-ordinates, so people can see where you were at the time. You can get this from Google Maps.
4) If you like, you can find a suitable picture of the plane on the Internet and paste a link to it . The nice thing here is that you may well see the aircraft more than once, so linking a different picture each time will add variety and interest to those who click on your pin. You have to first post, then edit your pin to add a link.
Here is an example of a photo of the above aircraft: