AeroTime News virtually travels to Porto, Portugal, whereupon we talked to Diogo Monteiro, or as is he better known in the planespotter community, oportospotter.

The Portuguese spotter is from a family of aviators and is set to continue the tradition not only by taking stunning pictures at his hometown of Porto but also by flying jets one day, as he is currently a trainee pilot, aspiring to fly commercial aircraft in due time.

While pilot courses are definitely not an easy task, Diogo still manages to take some of the most beautiful pictures out there.

(All pictures provided are courtesy of @oportospotter, follow him on Instagram right here)

[ oportospotter]

When did you first get into planespotting? How did your journey begin?

The first contact with planespotting was very institutional. It was my habit to go to the airport from time to time on the weekend to see the planes taking off and landing, but only as an observer and never to photograph them or anything like that. I took my camera with me and the first photos appeared in the summer of 2013 but I only started taking things more seriously a few years later.


[ oportospotter]

In addition to being a planespotter, obviously your next association with aviation is the fact that you’re a trainee pilot at the moment. Did planespotting push you towards becoming a pilot or vice-versa?

The airport was, and still is, in a way a second home for me. My parents work for TAP Air Portugal, so I have had close contact with aviation since I was a baby. My grandfather was an Air Traffic Controller in the Portuguese Air Force and, later on, he also joined TAP. I always liked going to the airport and seeing people, hearing the noise of airplanes, and the smell of jet fuel, that little adrenaline and stress that surrounds the entire aeronautical environment. It was a world that I gradually discovered and I was not forced by my family to follow. It was love at first sight, completely.

[ oportospotter]

Based in Portugal, where TAP Air Portugal is also based, I could assume that your first planespotting picture included the Portuguese airline’s aircraft. If not, which airline was the first to pop up at the end of your lens?

Yes, I can't lie. My first photo was of a TAP Air Portugal plane. TAP has a special place in my heart and whenever I can, I try to photograph an airplane of my flag carrier, something that is not difficult in Porto Airport (OPO), since most of the air traffic at the airport belongs to TAP Air Portugal. TAP's livery manages to be minimalist but not in the traditional minimalist of black and white. They use various shades of green and red, colors of the Portuguese flag, which allows the colors to be framed quite well in any environment, whether it's sunny or cloudy!

[ oportospotter]

Do you think you have any advantages in terms of rare aircraft arriving at Porto, Portugal, when compared to the major European hubs like Heathrow, Frankfurt or any others?

Unfortunately, Portugal is not very popular when it comes to rare movements. Lisbon usually has a few flights with special planes, but they are very sporadic. In Porto, we have the classic Airbus A300F with DHL colors appearing from time to time. In the past, we had regular flights of Air France Boeing 747-400F and Boeing 777F. Sometimes we are surprised by the arrival of an Antonov An-124 Ruslan, which, although rare, is already a well-known visitor at Porto. In 2019, the Airbus Beluga XL visited Porto, which was its debut in Portugal. A magnificent plane! However, we have lost some traffic to the classic European hubs, it is sad but that is the current reality.

[ oportospotter]

One thing that is very clear in your pictures is the sky – seemingly, the sky is very blue over Porto’s airport! Do you visit other airports, perhaps outside of Portugal, to see some grey skies?

Portugal is known for its good food, hospitality and, obviously, the weather! The spotting trips I have made so far have been few, but they have allowed me to observe different realities at different airports. I have already visited Rio de Janeiro and its two airports (Galeão International Airport (GIG) and Santos Dumont Airport (SDU), which is also known for being the Brazilian St. Maarten), Toulouse (TLS) and finally Zürich (ZRH), which was my favorite destination for spotting so far!

[ oportospotter]

Is there any particular picture that you feel was the most creative that you have taken so far?

I always try to explore new angles, new incidences of light and new modes of photography. This is what makes photography unique because it is also a way to express oneself. That is why I always try to be creative and different in the photos I take. There are some that I personally prefer, such as the photo that I took of a Boeing 767, which belongs to euroAtlantic Airways. While it might not be my best photo, I really liked the surrounding environment and the colors in the final workflow.

[ oportospotter]

Being a trainee pilot, has that sparked a new way to appreciate aircraft? Maybe you are more inclined to try out new angles when planespotting?

Yes, pilot training is demanding, rigorous and, above all, intense. We have a vast theoretical part to learn before starting to fly an aircraft, and part of this wide range of material is to know how an airplane works: what are its components, instruments, aerodynamics, and so on. With my deepening knowledge, I was able to understand the plane better. Whenever I find a good opportunity to photograph something while flying, I do it. Not with my camera, because it is not practical inside a small Cessna, but with my iPhone. Whenever I do it, I always see if all the security conditions are met. Safety and responsibility are fundamental elements of aviation!

[ oportospotter]

Is there one particular airline and aircraft combination, possibly even fictional, that you would love to see land at Porto?

I'm a big fan of vintage aviation. Airplanes like the Boeing 707, Lockheed L-1011, L-1049G Super Constellation, DC-10, MD-11, and the classic Boeing 747. Whenever I see photos of these models, I am always fascinated with the beauty and perfection achieved in their designs. Having an airplane of this caliber here, at Porto Airport, would be fascinating. Now, if I could combine an airline with an airplane model, I would love to have photographed a Swissair MD-11. I'm a fan of three-engine planes and a fan of Swiss aviation, so that would have been the best of both worlds for sure!

[ oportospotter]

Was there any particular experience related to aviation that you will always remember fondly?

Yes! I have two. The first and most recent one was on November 28, 2018. I went to Lisbon to take an exam at the Portuguese civil aviation authority regarding my pilot course. That same day, TAP Air Portugal would receive its first Airbus A330-900neo. This would not only be the first model for TAP, but it would also be the first worldwide model of this aircraft to be delivered. So I left the Portuguese CAA building and went to a spotting location at Lisbon Airport (LIS) where I met a friend and we both saw the arrival of CS-TUB for the first time in Portugal. It was a really good feeling!

The other was before I started my pilot course, back in September 2017, when Porto hosted the Red Bull Air Race. My friends and I did a 3-day spotting operation. We walked around the City of Porto all the time and we had excellent memories, as well as excellent pictures!

[ oportospotter]