, 2022-12-29 14:00:00,
Kenneth Swartz vividly remembers the first time a Boeing 747 plane landed at Vancouver International Airport in 1971.
Thirteen years old and drenched from head to toe, Swartz had trekked over five kilometres to watch the nearly 20 metre-tall jumbo jet rumble down the runway.
It was a moment he said forever marked him as a plane spotter.
“There are certain people who look up whenever they see or hear something in the sky,” said Swartz, 64, who is now an aviation journalist.
“If you looked up when you were young, chances are you’re still looking up when you’re a senior. It’s just the fascination of flight.”
Plane spotters are hobbyists who enjoy watching and recording aircraft, with communities around the world posting photos and videos online of planes and their unique features.
Some, like Swartz, have turned their hobby into a career.
Swartz says B.C.’s Lower Mainland has a dedicated crowd who flock to YVR and the Harbour Flight Centre in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour to see commercial jetliners, seaplanes, helicopters and more.
The Facebook group “YVR Spotters” boasts over 5,000 members of all ages, who share vintage and recent photos of aircraft and airports to marvel at details or discuss changes and hot topics.
Evolution of a hobby
Plane spotting in British Columbia started in the Second…
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