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HoustonSpotters Frequently Asked Questions

How did Houston Spotters start?

HoustonSpotters started as a way to provide the Houston aviation community with a place to post photos, and discuss aviation topics specific to Houston.

How many members do you have?

We have about 400 members.

What do you offer on your website?

We offer a home for Houston based aviation photographers to display their work to the world, as well as a place to come together, make other aviation friends and learn about Houston area airports, as well as plane spotting in general.

What is plane spotting?

Plane spotting is the hobby of watching the day to day operations of airports and aircraft, taking photos of those aircraft, and sharing them with other people.

Why plane spot?

People spot planes for many different reasons. Most just have a passion for aviation, while some are pilots who enjoy hanging out at the airport.

What type of aircraft do you find or look for?

Most of the time, you try to spot or photograph that special plane, whether it has a certain paint scheme, which is different from the normal aircraft at an airport, or a one time or infrequent visitor to the airport.

What kinds of pictures can I post to the photo gallery?

Any photos of planes or aviation related action in the Houston area.  We do ask that you try to keep with this theme, however, if you are traveling somewhere, and Houston is part of our journey, photos of your trip are welcome.  There is also a forum board dedicated to this, called "Share your adventure".  Let us know about your spotting or flying adventures!

What type of people are attracted to plane spotting; Are they people who have aviation experience?

All types of people are interested in plane spotting. Some are in the aviation industry in their line of work, and some have nothing to do with aviation at all! However, they do all share a love of planes and aviation

How does someone get involved?

Easy! Just click the link to the forum, join up, and introduce yourself in the "Open Discussion" category. We love making new friends, and would love to hear from you, how you heard about us, and about your interest in aviation.

What is the white 737 parked on the north side of 8L / 26R?

It is a former Air force 737-200 that is used by the fire department for training simulations.

How can I help to spread the word about HoustonSpotters?

You can print out and distribute our flyer here:   HoustonSpottersFlyer.pdf

Do they need aviation knowledge to plane spot?

No, but some basic knowledge does help. For those new to plane spotting, we have created a Spotting 101 section on the site under the Spotting Resources section. In there, we have articles about the basics of airport operations, such as the alignment of runways, how to read and use zulu time, plus much more.

What does the term "JAB" mean?

A JAB is an affectionate term meaning "Just Another Bus". It refers to a plane that we see ALL the time, same old thing, such as the venerable 737 with the standard airline paint job. Part of what makes spotting fun is looking for something different and something special. Some people can't be bothered to photograph JAB's, but they are good practice for photo technique, and you never know when a JAB will have something out of the ordinary, such as a different color replacement panel, or special logo or sticker on the side, so stay alert!

Are there any rules or guidelines?

Yes, many airports have tight security restrictions in place, and there are rules to follow when traveling to an airport. Check out the Spotting Guides under Spotting Resources for detailed information on the major Houston area airports.

Why plane spot in Houston?

Houston is the 4th largest city in the country by population. There are two major commercial airports with major airlines such as Continental, Southwest, JetBlue, KLM, Air France, American Eagle, AirTran, British Airways, as well as many other general aviation airports. There are even more smaller airports all around the city which many people are unaware of.

We are very lucky in Houston to have the Houston Airport System (HAS). HAS has been very cooperative with spotters, by reopening the Lee spotting park, and allowing viewing from the parking garages (with prior approval). We would like to extend our thanks to HAS for their cooperation!