This is my maiden post, so here goes.
As a spotter I have seen the changes in security due to world events. It gets complicated as to what is and is not acceptable.
At Heathrow I have been moved on by security when spotting on the perimeter. The authorities shut down the ‘Queen’s Building’ roof, which was the official place to spot from. Everyone dispersed around the perimeter and onto public Green spaces. So the police have much more of a problem looking for spotters who are now dispersed around a wide area than they would have had if they were all in one place.
On the other hand my local field is Manchester (MAN/EGCC) where the powers that be have taken a ‘pro-active’ role where they have provided in association with the local spotting society a viewing area that is secure with a parking lot,raised mounds that are behind, but above fence level for decent photography, take away food, toilets, an aviation store where books,etc can be bought from. It is classed as one of the best spotting facilities here in the UK.
The Police at Manchester also realise that we as spotters have a role to play and ask that we report anything suspicious, as we know about airfield operations and are well equipped with note books, camera’s, binoculars and scopes and probably we as spotters are as well equipped for discrete surveillance than the Police are as we blend in, and there is also a telephone Hotline number to report anything that we consider suspicious.
If all airports/airfields took such a ‘pro-active’ approach security could be increased without cost and we would actually pay for spotting in a decent secure area.My gear wasn’t cheap ($1600 for camera Canon 350D/300mm lens and $400 for telescope, plus note books,etc)
Everyone wins: The Police are not chasing us around, so can concentrate on other things and the spotters are all in one place having fun in a safe environment.
But most of the time at other airfields/airports we are treated with what is basically contempt as potential terrorists which is totally wrong.If the authorities and the spotter’s could work out an overall plan that is worldwide and not just an individual airport policy we could have teamwork and resources that only the security services enjoy. We have a passion for airplanes, why would we wreck what we love to do and we would be the first to report anything suspicious that would have a deterimental effect on our hobby.
I realise this is more of a novel than a note.