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Research project: Plane spotting at London Heathrow Airport

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  • Research project: Plane spotting at London Heathrow Airport


    My name’s Phil – I’m a master’s student at a university in London. As part of a methodology course that I’m taking I’m conducting a study on the experiences of plane spotters/aviation enthusiasts at London Heathrow Airport. Specifically, I’m hoping to explore the following:

    • The changing nature and practices of plane spotting (flightradar24 app etc)
    • The social and community aspects e.g. enjoying the hobby with others and sharing images and videos online
    • The ostracization of plane spotters following an increase in security and surveillance at airports and the closure of observation decks (particularly since 9/11 and anti-Heathrow expansion incidents)

    The study will involve me spending time with plane spotters/aviation enthusiasts and visiting plane spotting locations around Heathrow e.g. Myrtle Avenue. As someone who is interested in aviation and uses flight apps (although I’ve never been plane spotting), I’m hoping that some members of the plane spotting community at Heathrow might kindly be able to take me under their wing (no pun intended) for a morning/afternoon of spotting. The study is ethnographic e.g. immersion in the culture/activity, and thus interviews and focus groups are not required. The aim is to learn about the culture/activity through participation, observation and informal conversation. Data/information that I collect will be made anonymous.

    If anyone is interested in my study (I can provide more info) and would like to share their knowledge, stories and experiences of plane spotting, I’d be delighted to hear from you. I’m happy to meet in person at the plane spotting locations or over tea/coffee somewhere first. Likewise, if there are any plane spotting group meets I’d be keen to join. I live in west London which makes travelling to and from Heathrow easy.

    Please either send me a private message or respond in this thread (I'm unable to post my email address yet as I'm a new member).

    Your help would be much appreciated.

    Last edited by FlyingDutchman3; 2017-12-15, 15:16.

  • #2
    Hi Phil,

    Check out the guys at 'Big Jet TV'.... (this forum won't let me post a link to their facebook page so just enter 'big jet tv facebook' into a search engine and you'll find it)

    It's a channel run by aviation enthusiasts for aviation enthisiasts. The chaps that run it (Jerry Dyer and Jonny Heather) are easy-going and sociable chaps, so I'm sure they'd be happy to have a chat with you about your university study.

    Hope that helps and good luck with your course!



    • #3
      Thanks, Martin. I'll get in touch with them.