Our skies are abuzz

I really enjoy flying. I’m one of those odd people who really wouldn’t mind living under an airport’s flight path. I also can’t help standing still to watch a plane fly overhead. I’ve never – fingers crossed – been involved in a serious flying incident.

I don’t count the interminable approach to Wellington Airport one year when the fog and clouds closed in, and the ‘preparing to land’ period stretched on and on. No further word from the pilot. No change in altitude. It was like an eerie episode of the Twilight Zone, plain unchanging grey outside the windows. No gremlin on the wing, thank goodness.

It made me nervous even though I felt in no real danger.

I’ve found a great app for my iPhone to do with flying. It’s called FlightRadar and there are free and paid versions. It enables me to identify any plane flying overhead, its origin and destination, and its flight path. I can sit in the comfort of my own home and satisfy my curiosity about any plane I can hear. Almost any. Occasionally near Brisbane airport there are flights with generic non-identifying info available (medical? military?), and I understand that during the city’s recent G20 gathering of world leaders, all their VIP planes were completely unidentifiable.

But, and this is a real plus, all that information is available in pretty close to real time which is great when someone you know is flying. I can actually track their flight, practically watch them depart and land if I want to.

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Just recently I ‘followed’ a daughter on her way to Europe, via Melbourne and Abu Dhabi. When she was some distance short of Germany, I snapped a picture on my iPad of her position in the skies.

The skies above Europe resembled a beehive gone crazy.


This picture is a bit closer in. The red plane towards the bottom had my daughter on board.

close in

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I’ve met only one other person who happily left a party to stand with me in the backyard to watch a low-flying plane overhead. We could almost touch it!


Are you a bit nutty about the amazingness of planes in the air? Do you marvel at the fact that up there above your head is a manmade machine with hundreds of people on board? Share with us below.