"People literally try to see if they can touch the planes," she said. "In our office, when they're taking off or coming in, it's almost like it was an earthquake."
But paradise for plane spotters also has its dangers.
When airliners prepare for take off and rev their engines, daredevils will stand against the airport fence and hold on. The jet blast is powerful enough to throw people off the fence and onto the ground.
Spotters say their hobby is more than a celebration of aviation. It's about fully recognizing the majesty of machines that give us the super power to defy gravity.
And, perhaps surprisingly, it's also about camaraderie.
Yes, that is correct. Plane spotting at popular vantage points comes with a social bonus. "When you have a group of 20 people with a lot of different personalities and people from all walks of life, it's a very diverse group, and we have a great time," said Derner.
Some plane spotters will even hook up on occasion, Derner said, because obviously there's nothing more romantic than a roaring Airbus A380 blotting out the moon and lighting up the night sky.
Derner said he met his girlfirend, his "Babe-raham Lincoln" if you will, a year and a half ago when she responded to his tweets about plane spotting. Oh yeah, and she's a pilot.
Koske, who's a Chicago radio host when he's not chasing aircraft, made a long anticipated journey to Los Angeles last September to visit Imperial Hill, the primo vantage point for spotters at LAX. "To finally go out there and spend four days spotting, sun up to sun down, was just great."
What's on his bucket list? Amsterdam, a spotter-friendly airport with aircraft rarely seen in the United States.
Excellent, as Wayne might say.
Tips As promised, here are a few plane spotting tips shared by Derner, Koske and aviation enthusiast Rob Mark at Jetwhine.com:
1. In general, stay off airport grounds. Airport security for obvious reasons can be very sensitive about curious strangers wandering the property with expensive photo gear. Worst case: you could be arrested and your equipment could be confiscated. Best case: you could be politely asked to leave. Some airports such as Amsterdam and Frankfurt offer public observation areas.
2. "Always carry ID and wear a smile," said Derner. Police patrolling areas around the airport may question you. Most of the time, they're OK with plane spotting activities. But sometimes they're not. Rule of thumb: be nice.
3. Some of the best spots are located in parking lots of private businesses. If asked by an employee, you must leave.
This isn't a ranking list or obviously a comprehensive list, but here are a few good plane spotting sites:
1. Eagle County Airport, Colorado: The Costco parking lot at 170 Cooley Mesa Road, Gypsum, Colorado
2. O'Hare International Airport, Chicago: southeast of the airport at the USG Building parking lot near Mannheim Road and Lawrence Avenue
3. LaGuardia Airport, New York: Landing Lights Park, south of the airport off 25th Avenue between 78th and 79th streets; Planeview Park south of the airport on 23rd Avenue next to Vaughn College