LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of planes fly in and out of LAX every day and certain flights bring out plane spotters. This is a group of aviation enthusiasts who track and take photos of different planes.
Luca Flores is a plane spotter and spends time on the patch of grass by the In-N-Out on Sepulveda Blvd. where many marvel at the underbellies of various flights. Flores and other plane spotters use flight tracking apps to see when certain planes will be at the airport.
He is well-versed in flight patterns and models with hundreds of hours spent spotting, but he is only 15-years-old, while many of his counterparts much older. He started taking photos of planes at the young age of 10.
His parents support his hobby, even driving him to and from the airport.
“I know a lot of people whose parents aren’t quite understanding of why we love this so much. I am really, really lucky that my parents have helped me buy camera equipment and fund trips,” said Luca.
But it’s not only a hobby, he hopes to turn it into a career. Right now, you can find his photos on various aviation sites and he is already working on becoming a pilot.
Luca often goes to Clutter’s Park. He considers this the best view in the nation. At least 10 plane spotters are there taking photos and videos. They have become friends to Luca, even though at first the age difference seemed massive.
“At first, I wasn’t taken too seriously. I was just a little kid in middle school. But as my friends have seen my passion and my life go on, they garnered more respect for me,” said Luca.
They are all in awe at the rare occurrence. Strong winds forced the flight patterns to change, so now the planes will be landing and taking off in different directions, which Luca says doesn’t usually happen at this time of day, “so, it’s really special when that does happen here.”
The LAX plane spotters have become a community, even traveling to different airports around the country together. Now, they have an official Facebook group sponsored by LAX to connect and share their photos. Luca appreciates their support.
“A lot of times, plane spotters are looked at strangely because we are close to the airport with cameras and they don’t know what we are doing. It’s great to have the outreach from the airport and to know that what we are doing is appreciated,” said Luca.