For Liz Carnuccio there is nothing quite like the sound of a plane flying directly overhead.
“You can really hear the roar of the engine and feel the wind hit your face, it’s pretty amazing,” she said.
She’s part of a plane-spotting group in Melbourne with hundreds of members.
These enthusiasts spend their free time traveling to viewing areas outside Melbourne Airport in Tullamarine, where planes fly right above, on their way to land or take-off.
“I am a fan of the whole thing,” Liz explained.
“Travelling to the airport, watching planes, tracking them … and imagining where people are going.”
She shares her aviation passion with her cousin Kieren Andrews.
“It’s something that my parents used to do when they were younger and then took us out as kids as well,” he said.
At the viewing area, plane spotters track flights on apps on their phones. Members each have a favorite plane model to spot.
“At the moment the 737 is pretty good,” Kieren said, although he does miss the 747s.
Fellow plane spotter Linda Ramage has loved planes since she was a little girl but said she didn’t always get a positive response when telling people about her passion.
“They look at me weirdly,” she laughed.
“But to me it is no different to anyone liking cars, trucks, trains. We just love planes.”
There are two dedicated viewing areas outside Melbourne Airport.
Plane spotters say they are so popular they have become a local tourist attraction in Melbourne’s north-west.
Here, children flock to the food trucks serving hot chips and ice cream, while couples rug up around steaming cups of coffee and look to the skies.
Linda said since lockdowns ended and flights returned, the viewing areas had become busier and busier.
“The more people that get involved with our hobby, our passion that is great,” she said.
“The more the merrier.”
Chris has seen nearly half a century of aviation
While train and bird spotting are more recognized pursuits, planes have always been Chris Daley’s love.
It has been almost fifty years since he first started plane spotting.
He said when he first started, the jets “were a lot louder, a lot smaller, a lot smokier”.
Chris has watched nearly half a century of aviation history from right under flight paths.
He can’t even estimate how many photos he has taken of planes in that time.
“It would be impossible to count them, just in the last 10 years it would be multiple tens-of-thousands,” he said.
Like his fellow enthusiasts, he hopes his hobby continues to soar in popularity.