The People

“It’s really the community that makes this hobby fun.”

If you ever scroll through your Instagram feed and you see a person refer to themselves as a “#avgeek,” you’ve found yourself a plane spotter and aviation enthusiast.

 

Screenshot of Instagram #avgeek. Ian Webb, 2018

 


The plane spotting community uses #avgeek (community slang for aviation geek) to create a connection between spotters who don’t know each other. The same way that sports, TV, or fandom fans will use sloganed hashtags to find other fans to create conversation, plane spotters and enthusiasts will use the #avgeek to create new conversation in the industry.

For these self-proclaimed #avgeeks, Airliners, JetPhotos, and other aviation photography databases are some of the most prestigious and widely-known homes for aircraft photos in the spotting community.

However, their selectiveness and dated platforms have turned some spotters off these systems and switched to alternative platforms like Instagram and YouTube where they have a tighter grasp over the content they put out.

With platforms like these proving to be successful for entrepreneurial-style engagement and fanbases, many spotters are using these platforms to springboard their passion into a full-scale career.

Take Raj Stevenson, founder and owner of London Spotter. Stevenson started his career as a spotter with an Instagram account he kept on his own.

Then in early 2017, Air France launched their new Boeing 787-9 on a trial basis with flights from London to Paris. Stevenson was lucky enough to be one of the passengers on board for the short haul flight.

 

LondonSpotter.co.uk screenshot. Taken 4/22 by Ian Webb. All rights reserved to LondonSpotter.

 

After posting his review and photos of the aircraft on his Instagram, the #avgeek community began to share it. Air France caught wind of his review and picked it up.

Since then, Stevenson has been running LondonSpotter.co.uk as a source for aviation news and photography, a business that’s making money and gaining Stevenson notoriety in the industry.