Posted by: travelrat | June 13, 2021

Aircraft Recognition

The other day, a question was asked on social media:

‘What was the first aircraft you ever flew in?’

For me, the first commercial flight was to the Isle of Man in a De Havilland ‘Dragon Rapide’ and my ‘first ever’ was just before that, as a 13 year old Air Cadet in an elderly RAF Avro ‘Anson’

Those, as they say, were the days! Aircraft recognition was the thing, and many people did it. These days, fewer people do it … although most airfields have a designated ‘spotters’ corner’. However, most spotters prefer to be called ‘aviation enthusiasts’.

I think the reason for the decline of the hobby is that … a lot of aircraft look alike. As early as 1965, I remember complaining how hard it was to differentiate between a Douglas DC8 and a  Boeing 707. Today, you often wouldn’t know what kind of aircraft you’re flying in until you read the safety card in the seat pocket.

Back in the day, though, you’d know immediately if you were about to board a ‘Stratocruiser’ or a ‘Constellation’. You’d recognise an Airspeed ‘Ambassador’ or a Vickers VC-10 straight away. You can still identify a 747 or an Airbus A380. But the rest are a confusing mix of various Airbuses and ‘Seven-something-Sevens’.

Some people even regard propeller-driven aircraft as ‘a bit of a novelty’, even though they’re often used for shorter flights. Someone once told me the sole purpose of a propeller is to keep the crew and passengers cool:

‘You want to see them sweat when it stops!!’  

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