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Plane spotting an A380 from 200 miles away

  • 29-05-2022 10:34am
    Registered Users Posts: 807 ✭✭✭

    I set a new personal best yesterday for the greatest distance I've spotted a plane from, and I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience.

    I was watching the sunset from my location south of Westport and I noticed a TA jet coming over the horizon in the northwest, lit up by the setting sun. It was exactly 10pm. Using Flightradar, I determined the plane to be a JFK-DXB A380, see below:

    I kept watching it for 20 minutes and it passed almost overhead at 10.20pm. According to Flightradar, its average speed during those 20 minutes was about 500 knots, meaning that when I first spotted it, it was over 190 miles/300km away.

    I've never seen a plane from that far away before, has anyone else? :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,786 ✭✭✭Comhrá

    I recall my next door neighbour, an air traffic controller in Shannon, telling me he watched the lights of a high altitude aircraft going overhead Shannon on a frosty clear night and followed the lights until the jet was overhead Belfast. Probably a similar distance.

    Amazing how far you can track high flying large airliners in very clear weather conditions.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,105 ✭✭✭10-10-20

    Good spot, sounds about right given the lighting conditions.

    I had a DIY collinear antenna connected up to flightaware and I picked up flights above London the odd time. Those frequencies are direct line-of-sight, and the aircraft was at ~12,000m and London is 447km (278mi) from my location. In theory I could have seen it had I the altitude of the antenna on my roof.

  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭The Reader

    Sitting in my garden on a clear overheard sky in the border counties I note the extraordinary frequency of overhead planes some actually at 15 minutes intervals. What is actually interesting is that some planes have variations of speed and height, noise levels etc. as they penetrate through the sky I take it these flight paths are planes to and from our USA neighbours into Europe. Will Flightradar assist in determining more data on them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,105 ✭✭✭10-10-20

  • Registered Users Posts: 34,814 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato

    Does the Space Shuttle in orbit count as a plane 😉

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,453 ✭✭✭sam t smith

  • Registered Users Posts: 353 ✭✭masit

    Spotted a plane 1 clear winters morning as the sun was rising. With the orange sky and the contrails I could see a plane making a turn. Checked it out on Flightradar and it was just passing over the coast in South Wales. I was on highish ground at the time.I measured it out on google earth and from my location in Longford it measured 250km's give or take a few km's

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 9,859 Mod ✭✭✭✭Tenger

    A shame because I saw it docked to the ISS once, its approx 250 miles up. (first pass it was close, 92 mins later it was docked)