A shot in the dark

Hello all,

This really is as the title reads, a shot in the dark. I was outside this morning which was a beautiful sunny day with clear blue skies. So I pitched up a spot in the garden, poured a drink and got me binoclars and a notepad.

I live in the North-West of Scotland so there’s not a huge amount going. However I did see between 0943 and 1129 eight planes.

So of those eight planes, the one that seems to stick out as having a very tiny chance of sucess of identifaction is…

Unknown four engined aircraft that was heading out over the Atlantic (certain of this as the only land around is the inner and outer Hebrides)

This plane had light coloured body and blue engines

Time past was 1056am

She was the second of three planes within 41 minutes to fly the almost exact same route

Also can I add that the first of the three mentioned above was also four engined, went past at 1038am and whose body appeared to disappear into the sky, so my thinking is that she was painted blue and thus this played a trick on my eyes.

Any information on the two planes mentioned would be most welcome



This is a very generic description, but fortunately there are only a few kinds of planes that would commonly be found doing overseas flights, and of those I only know of Boeing 747, Airbus A340, and Airbus A380 that have 4 engines instead of 2 or 3. (Anybody know of others?) So are you familiar with some specific aircraft models, i.e. if it were a Boeing 747, would you know?

The main Europe-US routes all seem to pass somewhere over the British Isles, so it’s not unusual that you’d have overseas flights over your house.

Chances are this will happen every day, same flights, so you may be able to get another look and get a better ID.

If you can take good photos of them, that would help a lot. There’s another thread devoted to High-Flyers photographs. (I linked to an example; you can leaf through previous pages to see what the thread usually receives.) Uploading photos and linking them into a post on this thread may take a web-samurai. You can ask for help posting once you get them onto Photobucket or Flickr.

Maybe someone else here can advise you how to set your computer on FlightAware so it maps the flights going over your house in almost-real time. Then when you see something, you can run inside and get 1-2 guesses for which airline and flight it was. That would narrow the possibilities a lot.

Maybe this?

Frank Holbert

They aren’t very common (actually, never were) but you also have the IL-86 and IL-96.

It may have also been a military aircraft such as the C-135.

Might be the key here… any guesses?

I would say a British Airways 747 although the fuselage is blue on the bottom…

Whoops, this wouldn’t work. I forgot that FlightAware can’t track anything outside the US; its data source is the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The data are only available when FAA controllers are managing the flight.

Thankyou all for your advise. I’ll keep trying, although its been a week and there hasn’t been a time were the weather was good enough and I was free.

Only after I had posted the thead did I come up with a better question:

How many aircraft (commerical) on any given day, travel across the Atlantic between Europe and North America?

For as you can see in my first post I mentioned that four of the eight planes I saw between 0930 and 1130 were heading that way.

So its got to be hundreds?


You have dozens upon dozens of commercial flights.
British Airways alone has over a dozen flights. There’s multiple flights from the NYC area to England place their daily (or more) flights from other USA destinations such as ORD, LAX, IAH, and SFO. Lufthansa has at least a dozen flights.

There are also lots of general aviation flights. Also, don’t forget the many military aircraft that cross the pond.

About 750; 19% B763 and 17% B772.

You were one of “those” students in school, weren’t you Mark? Freaking over-achiever…


Thankyou :slight_smile:

So if I see four or five, i’ve just scratched the surface