How and when did HoustonSpotters start?

HoustonSpotters started in 2007 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 a Facebook page and group, and have almost 2000 members between the two.

What do you offer on your website?

We offer a home for Houston area aviation enthusiasts to learn about plane spotting and the various areas around the city to spot planes.

What is plane spotting?

Plane spotting is the hobby of watching the day to day operations of airports and aircraft, and optionally 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 Facebook group?

Any photos of planes or aviation related action in the Houston area (within 50 nautical miles of downtown Houston).

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?

You can join the group, as well as like the Facebook page:



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

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

Do I 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 United, Southwest, JetBlue, KLM, Air France, American,  British Airways just to name a few.  There are even more smaller general aviation 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!