Plane Spotters

February 16, 2006 by  
Filed under Features

The Columbia News Service reported the other day that plane spotters, people whose hobby it is to photograph planes and record the registration number, are often mistaken for terrorists. Since 9/11, someone with a long zoom lens or telescope pointed at planes is seen as acting suspicious.

It’s not unusual for the police to show up and start asking questions. I’m not an official plane spotter, but I admit that I’ll suddenly stop walking just to stare at an airplane flying overhead. Sometimes I’ll even go down to the airport and watch planes take off and land. And yet, if I saw someone else doing the same thing but with a zoom lens and notebook, I’d wonder, “What are they doing? Are they a terrorist?” You can’t help it. I just hope my love of airplanes and flying, no, my obsession with them, will never become a dirty little secret.

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