Perth: A plane spotter’s paradise

Published on 16th October 2018 at 11:26

There are a couple of things that set Perth apart from Australia’s other major cities – it basks in more hours of sunlight, has the highest number of Quokkas per capita and it’s the only Aussie city with a nonstop link to the UK via our Dreamliner service.

It’s also where you can see one of the widest arrays of our jet fleet, including the Fokker 100, Boeing 717, Boeing 737, Airbus A320 and A330, and Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Recently, plane spotters have also been treated to sights of our Boeing 747.

Our 747 VH-OEG. Photo by Scott Macander.

Base Operations Manager Scott Macander is a Perth local who likes to keep his eyes (and lens) on the skies.

“Working around aircraft, people can take for granted what a marvel of engineering they are.”

“There’s also a sense of capturing a particular plane for posterity.  We’re already welcoming a new era of aircraft and eventually some, like the 747s, will be a distant memory.”

While stormy skies can make for some dramatic shots, Scott’s favourite time to shoot is the ‘golden hour’ – just after sunrise or before sunset.



The Qantas Dreamliner landing in Perth at the ‘golden hour’. Photo by Scott Macander.

While the 747 is a sentimental favourite for plane watchers, Scott’s also a fan of the 787 Dreamliner’s curved wing design as well as some of our special liveries like the Indigenous artwork on one of our 737s and 787. There are also the two ‘Retro Roos’ to look for – modern aircraft that celebrate our liveries from the 1960s and ‘80s.

Scott’s got the best view in the house – direct from the tarmac. A very close second is the Perth Airport Viewing Area – an elevated observation deck only 320 metres from the runway. Self-confessed avgeeks are spoiled with views of aircraft landing on runway 03, taking off on runway 21 and taxiing by at close range. You can find out more about runways (including how they get their numerical names) here.

A small but dedicated community of plane watchers can often be found here, waking up early for the first landings of the day or turning out in numbers for special flights like our inaugural Dreamliner service from Perth to London.

A fun fact for the flight fanatics: the viewing platform’s pathway is 120 feet long – the same distance as the Wright Brother’s first flight and the shelter has been modelled on the curve of the 747s fuselage. Photo by Brenden Scott.

You can read more Roo Tales here.