Ever since the Wright Brothers first caught air in 1903, aviation has amused and amazed the human kind. Aviation spotting has not only become a hobby for many people, but a lifestyle some would argue. But the lives for aviation spotters in Hong Kong is about to be challenged.
The big metal birds of the sky – no matter if it’s a commercial airplane, big cargo planes, small hobby planes or even jetfighters – it has always fascinated the crowds, when an object heavier than air is lifted of the ground and reaching for the sky. For many the physical laws behind aviation is even still a mystery.
So it is actually not that strange that aviation spotting is a thing. But for most people, planes are just the noisy birds in the sky drawing a long tail of cloud after them. But for the few, the world of aviation is essentially about beauty and passion.
For Paul Chow aviation spotting is more than a hobby, it’s a life style. He is the founder and president of the Association of Hong Kong Aviation Photographers and he is traveling all over the world just to catch a glimpse of some of the rarest planes.
In the future though, it seems that Paul might need to do a bit more travelling than he is used to, in order to pursue his desired planes. Because his favorite plane spotting location for the last six years, Hong Kong International Airport, do not share the same enthusiasm towards aviation spotting. In order to expand one of the runways, the airport authorities at Hong Kong International Airport plan to tear down Terminal 2 – the place with the most breathtaking views over the whole airport area and where Paul has spent hours and hours doing what he loves the most.
According to Paul, the days of aviation spotters in Hong Kong are now counted.
“We’ll be vanished someday. Maybe within the next three years” Paul concludes while knowing, that it will be a struggle for him to make his lifestyle survive in Hong Kong.
And though finding new spotting locations around the airport could seem like a solution, restrictions due to the high security level makes it difficult.
“To find new spotting locations in Hong Kong is really difficult because there are too many restrictions around the airport island. Hopefully I can find more by myself and if I succeed I will share this information on our website.”
So it seems that Paul and his friends from the Association of Hong Kong Aviation Photographers, will have to fight to keep their lifestyle alive in Hong Kong. Otherwise Paul will need to find another place to spot his favorite plane – the Boring 737 – amongst the many other metal birds.