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Binoculars for Airplane Spotting

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2012 at 00:49
Tintin82 View Drop Down
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Hello Howdy

 I wanted to buy a pair of binoculars for plane spotting. Basically I want something that I can use for spotting out airplanes flying above say 30,000ft. Quite a few airplanes fly over my house during the daytime making lovely looking contrails and it almost always make me wonder what airline it is and so I was wanting to buy a set of binoculars which will let me zoom in and let me see some details about the airplane flying over (like airplane type and airline logo).

 Regards,
Tintin82
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2012 at 14:04
Bird Watcher View Drop Down
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I look at airplanes all the time with my binoculars. 15x or 16x is usually my starting point. 

For beginners, on a limited budget, I would recommend a Nikon Action Extreme 16x50.


To be able to clearly read lettering on the aircraft it will require that you mount your binocular on a tripod with pan head, so that you can eliminate image vibration.
(If an aircraft is landing or taking off fairly close to you, you can get by with less magnification(10-12x);
then you will be able to hand hold your binocular).

You will need a tripod adapter to attach the binocular to the tripod pan head.


If you would like even more magnification there is always the Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II.


If money is no problem for you then I'd suggest that you look into the Canon 15x50 Image Stabilizer binoculars.
With Image Stabilization you won't have to purchase a tripod w/ pan head or a tripod adapter.


Stan

 




Edited by Bird Watcher - September/21/2012 at 17:14
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2012 at 15:07
3_tens View Drop Down
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Even using a high end spotting scope you will not be able to read anything on a plane at 30,000 feet. If you want ti identify the flights get on the web at http://www.flightradar24.com/ It shows real time location of flights around the world. I am not sure of India. In the US another site is www.Flightaware.com. If you hover on a plane it will show flight speed altitude origin and destination. Type in  an airport code it will give all departures and arrivals also. It is a fun site.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2012 at 15:24
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Another problem.... When did they start putting logos on the bellies of aircraft? Whacko
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2012 at 20:41
Peddler View Drop Down
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Originally posted by dillon_h dillon_h wrote:




Another problem.... When did they start putting logos on the bellies of aircraft?
Whacko


Maybe he's looking at bellies with tattoos !

Peddler            
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2012 at 20:41
gulf1263 View Drop Down
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IMHO trying to spot something on an aircraft flying 350 plus knots at five miles plus up is pretty hard given the atmospheric conditions and mirage.
The usual tool for this is a Fujion or Nikon 25x150 ED scope on a bolt down ground mount with a stabilizer of some sort, NASA paid about $90,000.00 for this kind of rig back in the late 90's and I am sure the price has doubled since then.
Even then the images were somewhat less than crisp and clear.
The Israeli's and West German's surplussed some equipment similar to this in the late 90's and it was going for $$$.
Cheap won't get it for very long range ID against fast moving targets.
Sorry that there is not a cheap solution.
Art
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/21/2012 at 21:30
Bird Watcher View Drop Down
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gulf1263,

I think that you are carrying this to the extreme.

Chasing airplanes, from the backyard, with binoculars, is a less-than-serious fun past time or hobby.    

You can see enough, from the ground, with the right binoculars & a tripod or monopod. Plane

I've been doing it for years and I still enjoy watching aircraft, from my backyard, on a regular basis.

There are different types of aircraft that fly much closer to the ground than 30,000'. 

In my neighborhood there is a variety of helicopters & propeller driven aircraft.

Also, aircraft approaching & leaving Denver International Airport are easily viewed from my neck of the woods.  
On certain days the flight path from the airport brings commercial jets directly towards my house.

Since I do the majority of my viewing from a comfortable sitting position in my backyard, most of the time I am viewing aircraft with hand held binoculars, regardless of the magnification.
It's not unusual for me to be using 20x binoculars hand held, in spite of the lack of steady views & the narrow FOV.

Stan
 


Edited by Bird Watcher - September/22/2012 at 11:16
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2012 at 10:07
David from NC View Drop Down
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Originally posted by 3_tens 3_tens wrote:

Even using a high end spotting scope you will not be able to read anything on a plane at 30,000 feet. If you want ti identify the flights get on the web at http://www.flightradar24.com/ It shows real time location of flights around the world. I am not sure of India. In the US another site is www.Flightaware.com. If you hover on a plane it will show flight speed altitude origin and destination. Type in  an airport code it will give all departures and arrivals also. It is a fun site.


Wow!

That IS an interesting site!




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2012 at 10:44
3_tens View Drop Down
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I love the site. It makes watching the planes more rewarding. I have always wondered where a the planes that are leaving the silvery contrails are going. Wishing for the chance to visit far away places. Kinda like the old horse. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Looking on flightaware lets me know where the plane is going and when it will get here. This gives my imagination more to work with. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2012 at 10:59
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Originally posted by 3_tens 3_tens wrote:

I love the site. It makes watching the planes more rewarding.

Binoculars are all about MAGNIFYING our visual outlook on life.

Which binoculars do you use to view airplanes?

Stan
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2012 at 13:39
3_tens View Drop Down
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Viper 8x42  My celestron C90 works better. Here in Oklahoma the flat terrain gives a lot of time to watch sometimes as long a 45 minutes. When it 115 degrees you think of cooler places. Last winter when 19 below warmer places. Bucky
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2012 at 14:33
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Originally posted by 3_tens 3_tens wrote:

Viper 8x42  My celestron C90 works better.  

I have the Celestron C5 spotting scope, but I prefer straight through binoculars as opposed to squinting with one eye.

What magnifications do you use with the C90, for spotting aircraft?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/22/2012 at 15:32
3_tens View Drop Down
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 I have a cataract in my right eye so it doesn't matter at this time. My C90 has 3 eye pieces 25mm = 40X, 8mm  = 100X, and a 4 = 225X +/-. I mostly use the 25mm. The 4mm is not much good for anything. The brightness of the C90 make it good for watching the fields at night for game.  I use a filter when looking at the moon.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2012 at 04:11
gulf1263 View Drop Down
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The original post made it sound as if the person wanted to get tail numbers and airline names from the fuselage with the aircraft a 30,000 feet, moving at cruising speed, that is a much tougher proposition and that is what my post was about.
Just watching planes is really pretty easy with a good pair of bino's and a tripod and adapter.
I have done it with a pair of Pentax 8x42 SP's just looking up and no tripod or adapter.
Art
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/23/2012 at 09:02
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The OP specifically mentioned airline type & airline logo, nothing about numbers on the tail. Wink

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