‘Plane-spotting helps my autistic son’

Media caption‘Plane-spotting helps my autistic son’

Calum Thomson stands transfixed as an Emirates 777 takes off during Glasgow Airport and roars into a skies directly over his head.

The 18-year-old is no foreigner to a airport, carrying spent a best partial of a decade spotting planes in a association of family members.

But currently is a special day for Calum.

Airport officials have postulated a internal plane-spotting village singular entrance to a Graveyard – a limited area with a ideal viewpoint of Glasgow’s runway 05.

Calum is there with his father Tommy and dozens of other members of a Glasgow Airport Spotters Group (GASG).

The eventuality is something of a yield for Calum, who has classical autism. The commotion leaves him disposed to hyperactivity, obsessional poise and remarkable outbursts of emotion.

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Calum looks adult to a skies as an aircraft approaches a Graveyard during Glasgow Airport

Glasgow-based Tommy, 48, a penetrating photographer who takes Calum out spotting roughly any day, says a airfield is his son’s “happy place”.

He says: “Calum’s autism manifests itself in carrying to watch, track, sketch and video aircraft, that helps him control his emotions.

“He likes to take cinema of a liveries of aircraft and lane them all on opposite apps.

“He is constantly essay down registrations and moody tracks, that is a reward since it helps his propagandize and also helps him de-stress.”

Image copyright
Kevin McGonigle

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Planespotters were postulated singular entrance to a Graveyard to observe and sketch planes such as a Emirates 777 during tighten quarters

Tommy says plane-spotting has helped Calum “in some-more ways that we can substantially describe”.

“When Calum’s in a meltdown, it’s like a whirlwind going off in his conduct – we can’t pronounce to him or reason with him,” he says.

“The airfield helps take things behind to normal – he’s some-more relaxed, he’s some-more ease and a biggest reward is his amicable communication (with other spotters).

“It helps him learn how to speak to people, how to correlate with people and around his peers as well.”

Image copyright
Martin Lupton

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An Emirates 777 prepares for take-off during Glasgow Airport

Calum and his father are distant from alone in their passion for a hobby.

GASG boasts some-more than 1,000 members, many of whom are also partial of a organisation Scottish Aviation Photographers (SAP).

GASG director Tommy Donachie, 41, from Renfrew, says: “We have a extended operation of members.

“You have plane-spotters, pilots, belligerent organisation and we have people from all over a universe who are only meddlesome in aviation.

“A large commission are people who indeed work in a airport.”

‘I wanted to be a pilot’

Tommy Donachie, like many others in a forum, grown an seductiveness in plane-spotting during a immature age.

“My father used to move me down here,” he recalls as he surveys a airfield from a Graveyard.

“Growing adult in Renfrew in a 80s, a planes afterwards were a ruin of a lot noisier – they used to shake a houses, that got my attention.

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Tommy Donachie recalls a days when houses in his village would shake as planes upheld over

“I wanted to be a commander though we didn’t utterly get a grades.

“Then we got into cycling and would cycle around a airport. we put a camera in my bag and it grown from there.”

One prominence for him was a day a world’s biggest newcomer craft stopped off during Glasgow.

He says: “The A380 came here in 2014 – we had thousands of people all around a fence. It was a busiest we have ever seen a airport.”

Glasgow Airport contribution and figures

Image copyright
TET Photography

  • The airfield has about 90,000-100,000 moody movements per year
  • Notable visitors have enclosed a A380 and Tui Dreamliner 787-9. The space convey Enterprise did a fly-over during Glasgow in a 1980s
  • There are dual moody schools and dual ubiquitous aviation companies formed there (Signature and Gama)
  • The Scottish Air Ambulance Service is also formed during a airport

Unusual moody movements

Image copyright
Kevin McGonigle

Fellow director Kevin McGonigle says organisation members warning any other in allege to engaging or surprising moody movements, generally those that engage a biggest aircraft.

He says: “Everybody likes what we call a heavies – a likes of a Emirates and a Virgin jumbo that come in.

“Getting yourself into a good position for a good shot of a aircraft is unequivocally what it is all about – and a good shots we can get since of continue phenomena.

“It’s like a hunt – we are always examination for opposite things and it’s good to locate things that we don’t see a lot of.”

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Kevin McGonigle says plane-spotting can be “like a hunt”

Kevin acknowledges that some competence see aviation enthusiasts as geeks though says a hobby is not as “anoraky” as people competence think.

He adds: “I used to have a diminutive grin during a guys on bridges that like to take a names of a certain haulage company’s trucks, and apparently we have people that like trains.

“But any to their own. we like to consider everybody out there has a diminutive bit of geek in them – and it only so happens a middle geek is aviation and photography.”

Image copyright
Tommy Donachie

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Members of a watchman organisation contend they are always looking for a best shots of aircraft

Image copyright
TET Photography

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The spotters organisation updates a Facebook page frequently with cinema submitted by members

The opening of a cemetery outlines a flourishing regard in family between a plane-spotting village and officials penetrating to say a confidence and reserve of a airport.

For GASG director Michael McQuade, a Glasgow-based bureau worker, both sides can advantage from a closer relationship.

He says: “They can offer us entrance to areas that we can’t get to ourselves so we can get opposite shots like we are today, looking loyal down a runway.

“On a other hand, they know that we know a details and outs of a airport.

“If something doesn’t demeanour normal, they ask us to news it. we consider that’s operative for both sides.”

PC Alan Sneddon, from Borders Policing Command during Glasgow Airport, has been operative with a organisation for a past year.

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PC Alan Sneddon says a military acquire a “extra set of eyes” offering during a airfield by spotters

He too believes a good attribute between a parties is beneficial.

He says: “It is always profitable for a military to have an additional set of eyes in and around a airfield.

“I know that they are there 24 hours a day and they are peaceful to supply information to a police, so it is an event for us to rise village relationship links with them and rise comprehension links with a organisation members and other members of a public.”

Airport officials are deliberation extenuation a plane-spotters entrance to other limited areas of a airfield in a future.

Ronald Leith, conduct of Aerodrome Operations during a airport, pronounced it was penetrating to serve rise links with a community.

“We have grown good relations with a many enthusiasts who revisit a airport, and this is utterly loyal of a Police Scotland colleagues formed during a campus and a possess confidence teams,” he said.

“Those who do revisit mostly act as an additional set of eyes from a confidence viewpoint and on arise will yield useful information on any poise they hold surprising or out of place around a airport’s perimeter.”

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Tommy says a airfield is his son’s “happy place”

In a meantime, Tommy says he will continue to take Calum along to a airfield as mostly as he can.

“As prolonged as it keeps assisting him, I’ll keep bringing him, and I’m utterly certain other autistic kids and adults out there would advantage from it,” he says.

“He loves anything to do with aircraft – he’s there, he’s happy. What primogenitor wouldn’t be happy if their kid’s happy? So it’s easy – it’s a no brainer.”

Image copyright
Tommy Donachie


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