Track apps

These Airplane Enthusiasts Track Flights Near Melbourne Airport, and More People Are Joining Them

For Liz Carnuccio, there’s nothing quite like the sound of an airplane flying directly overhead.

“You can really hear the engine roar and feel the wind hitting your face, it’s pretty amazing,” she said.

She is part of an aircraft tracking group in Melbourne with hundreds of members.

These enthusiasts spend their free time heading to viewing areas outside Melbourne Airport in Tullamarine, where planes fly overhead on their way to land or take off.

“I’m a fan of the whole thing,” Liz shared.

Liz Carnuccio says she loves every element of plane spotting.(ABC News: Billy Draper)

“Going to the airport, watching the planes, following them… and imagining where people are going.”

She shares her passion for aviation with her cousin Kieren Andrews.

“It’s something my parents used to do when they were younger, and then they also took us when we were kids,” he said.

In the observation area, plane spotters track flights on apps on their phones. The members each have a favorite airplane model to spot.

A man in a black jacket who smiles.  He is holding a camera.
Kieren Andrews says her parents used to spot planes.(ABC News: Billy Draper)

“At the moment the 737 is pretty good,” Kieren said, although he misses the 747s.

Linda Ramage, fellow airplane spotter, has loved airplanes since she was little, but said she didn’t always get a positive response when telling people about her passion.

“They look at me weird,” she laughed.

“But for me, it’s no different than people who love cars, trucks, trains. We love airplanes.”

a woman with short hair holding a red camera.  She is smiling and wearing a black jacket.
Linda Ramage says some people are judgmental when she tells them about her passion for airplanes.(ABC News: Billy Draper)

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, kids flock to food trucks serving hot fries and ice cream, while couples cower around steaming cups of coffee and stare skyward.

a person is holding a phone with an open card on it.
Aircraft spotters use phone apps to track flights.(ABC News: Billy Draper)

Linda said that since the lockdowns ended and flights returned, the viewing areas had become increasingly busy.

“The more people who get involved in our hobby, our passion, it’s great,” she said.

“More the merrier, the merrier.”

Chris has seen nearly half a century of aviation

While train and bird watching is a more recognized activity, airplanes have always been Chris Daley’s love.

It has been nearly fifty years since he started spotting planes.

He said that in its early days the jets “were much louder, much smaller, much smokeier”.

a man with a beard and glasses who smiles.  he is holding a camera.
Chris Daley hopes plane spotting will continue to grow in popularity.(ABC News: Billy Draper)

Chris has observed nearly half a century of aviation history from flight paths.

He can’t even estimate the number of plane photos he took during that time.

“It would be impossible to count them, just in the last 10 years it would be in the tens of thousands,” he said.

Like his fellow enthusiasts, he hopes his hobby continues to grow in popularity.