Which Images to Upload
AirHistory.net is a photo archive that documents the history of aircraft and airports. It is not a photo gallery nor a photographer's portfolio. To us, what matters most is the subject of the image, not so much its photographic quality.
The aim of AirHistory.net is to create an archive that will ultimately hold photos of every aircraft ever built, in all its colour schemes and markings, in every configuration it ever flew, at every event or in every country they ever visited, and in every collection of preserved aircraft of which they were part.
It is an ambitious aim and cannot be achieved without aviation enthusiasts, like us, willing to share their collections. And it means also sharing those photos that might not be best photographic quality but which score marks for their rarity.
If you have excellent photographs, then that is all the better because we do appreciate great photos. But if your photography is less skilled, you will not be turned away. We want to see any photos that help AirHistory.net to meet its aims, and we very much welcome your contributions.
This somewhat unusual approach comes with somewhat unusual acceptance policies, and this document will explain those policies.
Technical image file requirements
We only accept jpg / jpeg image files, with a maximum file size of 2 MB and a maximum pixel size of 1800px. In general, we do not accept photos below 1000px in size on the longest side, and we encourage uploaders to try to use 1200px to 1500px as a standard baseline, depending on image quality. For exceptionally rare photographs, we may accept images as small as 600px on the longest side.
The preferred width/height ratio for the images is 1.5:1 (e.g. 1500 x 1000px), but common ratios such as 4:3 or 16:10 are also accepted.
Quality and Screening
We ask photographers to send photos that are the best possible quality within the file size limit mentioned above. We understand that not all photos are taken in ideal conditions and that can affect the quality. We do understand that the quality of old photos can be badly affected by deterioration of films and prints and were often taken with simple camera equipment. The subject of your photo is more important than its quality.
What we do ask is that photos not be sent straight from the camera or the scanner. You should make an effort to edit your photos to get the best possible image. Please make an effort to ensure that your photos have as good a crop as possible, a straight horizon, good contrast and brightness, no colour casts, and is free from dust and blemishes.
Images of aircraft that are cropped should be well balanced, well composed and motivated rather than being submitted when small portions have been missed in the taking. Deliberate cropping through important features such as logos, windows, fins, engines etc is generally not allowed. This does not preclude such images being submitted when they are old or rare to the database.
Aviation history as told by photos is the primary aim of this site. We want to accept most images of aircraft not yet present in our database. For this reason it should be fairly simple to get photos accepted of aircraft that are not in the database, but less simple for aircraft that are. For example, an older photo or a photo of a rare aircraft can be accepted even if it's lacking in quality or has a fence or other object partially blocking the aircraft. But if your photo shows a common or well-documented aircraft, our quality standards will be higher.
For this reason, before uploading, please always check the database and consider if your image adds to the database. Maybe your photo adds to the aircraft's history or adds to the detail or quality of the portfolio of images we hold. If it does, our quality standards will be lower. If it does not, they will be higher.
Photos will be reviewed and if it is thought they could or should be better, they will be temporarily withheld from the database and you will be given the opportunity to improve it. Our aim is to help contributors and guidance will be given to improve your photo. If a photo is unlikely to be accepted, you will be told.
Please see our How to Edit your Images guide for more information on how to get the best result from your image.
The procedure of uploading your images to our website is explained in our How to Upload your Images guide.
Types of Photos we are (not) looking for
AirHistory.net documents aircraft and airports, it is not a portfolio website for photographers. This website is a historic aviation database, and for that reason the photos must show a recognisable aircraft or airport structure, and we strongly prefer the aircraft's colours, titles and other markings to be reasonably visible. Also they should preferably add something new to our database. Photos that do not comply with this will generally not be accepted.
Nose-on and tail-on photos
Aircraft photographed from (nearly) straight ahead or straight behind will almost never show the aircraft's colours, titles and other markings. This means that such photos will generally not be added, unless a unique feature of that particular aircraft (e.g. unusual antennae, sensors, pods or other equipment) can be viewed best from that angle. Please use the comment section at the end of the upload page to explain to the screeners.
Nose and tail photos
Photos that only show the nose or tail of an aircraft will generally only be accepted if they reveal details (e.g. nose or tail art) that cannot be seen clearly in a photo of the whole aircraft. One or two photos will be enough and there is no need to photograph every aircraft with the same details.
Creative art photos
Most creative photos will not be accepted. This includes aircraft silhouettes, contrails, window views, fish-eye or other extreme wide-angle views and all other photos that are taken purely for their artistic value or effect. They might look great but have no historical value for the database, so they will not be added.
It is the same for photos that have been converted to black and white or to HDR, or that have been through one or more of the many other artistic filters and effects found in photo-editing programs. Such converted photos will not be added, but we may have a great interest in their original, unconverted versions.
Aircraft interiors (cabins)
We accept some interior photos, but with restrictions on numbers and subject matter. We do not normally add photos of cabins unless they are historic, that is 1950s or earlier, and then only in limited numbers. We do accept photos of cabins that contain unusual features such as test equipment in a prototype, or military consoles. Photos of airliner seats, galleys, toilets and inflight meals will not be accepted.
Photos of cockpit interiors will be accepted but with limits on numbers. A few photos of an F-16 cockpit will be enough to illustrate an F-16 cockpit. If the F-16 cockpit you wish to upload is significantly different from those already present in the database, please explain in the comments section at the bottom of the upload page.
Close-up photos of markings such as logos, squadron badges and nose art that cannot be seen in detail on photos of whole aircraft are welcome. One or two photos illustrating them are enough and we do not want a close-up of the same markings on every aircraft that carries it. Photos should include enough of the aircraft to show the location of the markings. Series of walk-around photos showing close-ups of parts of an aircraft are not accepted.
Types of Flying Craft we are looking for
AirHistory.net accepts photos of all aircraft that were originally designed to be manned, including unmanned versions of these designs. Aircraft range from small ultralights and microlights to huge airliners, from hot air balloons to the Space Shuttle, from pre-World War I antiques to the latest military fighters.
In addition, we also document airport histories, which means photos of airport structures such as hangars, terminals, control towers, and of airport overviews, may also be acceptable. Indoor terminal and hangar photos will not be accepted.
This does not mean AirHistory.net accepts any aviation photograph, and there are some flying craft the database does not cover. We also may choose not to use photos if we feel that they add nothing new to the database.
Only drones based on manned aircraft or converted from manned aircraft will be added to the database.
Balloons and Airships
Balloons and airships will be accepted, but only if they are able to carry a person. Weather balloons, tethered advertising balloons and sky lanterns will not be accepted.
Ultralights (fixed-wing & flex-wing)
For database reasons, these types of aircraft will generally only be accepted if the aircraft has an identification such as a registration, serial number or construction number, that can be used to trace its history. A small number of photos of unregistered examples may be accepted, if the aircraft type is not yet represented in the database.
These ultralights might also be known as trikes, microlights or nanolights.
Gyrocopters (auto-gyros or gyroplanes)
Gyrocopters, also known as autogyros or gyroplanes, are accepted. This includes unpowered gyrocopter gliders (manned rotor kites or gyrokites).
Paramotors, paragliders, hang gliders and parachutes
We do not accept these types of flying craft.
Pre-World War I Pioneering Aircraft
AirHistory.net accepts photos of pre-World War I aircraft on a case-by-case basis. This was a period in aviation when the knowledge of what would work and what would not was not yet available.
Flying manned replicas of any scale, whether constructed to original plans or from new plans and materials, will generally be accepted in the database.
Models / Non-flying replicas
Only (nearly) full-scale (1:1) models/replicas (FSM) of manned aircraft that actually existed may be accepted. The replicas must be externally accurate but may be constructed from alternative materials and be internally different from the aircraft it represents.
Other than official mock-ups (see below), full scale representations of aircraft that never existed will not be accepted.
Models of any scale other than nearly full-scale, static or flying, will not be accepted. This includes all radio-controlled and control-line models.
Only full-scale mock-ups produced by aircraft manufacturers will be added to the database. This includes mock-ups of projects that never got off the drawing board.
Ekranoplans / Wing-in-Ground Effect vehicles (WiGs or GEVs)
These types of vehicles are not true aircraft, and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. A minimum weight limit will also apply. Chances of acceptance are greater if the craft is designed to (temporarily) operate as an aircraft, i.e. outside the ground effect zone (corresponding to International Maritime Organisation Types B and C).
Spacecraft are only accepted if they are re-usable and flown for terrestrial landing by an on-board pilot. Currently these are Space Shuttles, Buran, SpaceShipOne and Two, and similar designs.
Simulators will only be accepted if they are constructed from a real aircraft or major parts of real aircraft. The conversion to a simulator is part of the history of that aircraft and its identity should be part of the database. Other types of simulators will not be accepted.
Rockets and missiles
We do not accept rockets or missiles of any size.
Emergency training aids
Photos of emergency training aids that are not real aircraft but do resemble an aircraft may in certain cases be acceptable. However, these are considered to be airport structures (see below) and must be uploaded as such. Photos of training aids that do not resemble an aircraft will not be accepted.
Airport photos we are (not) looking for
We are generally interested in overview photos of airport aprons and runways, and when taken from the air or some other elevated viewpoint they can be particularly interesting. In addition we may also be interested in photos of air traffic control towers and in exterior overview photos of airport terminals and hangars. Photos of emergency training aids that resemble an aircraft may in certain cases also be acceptable. Photos of training aids that do not resemble an aircraft, or of other airport structures such as ILS antennas, runway lighting, radars, airport vehicles, general airport office buildings etc, will not be accepted.
Aircraft carriers are not considered to be airports and so we do not accept photos of the ship itself or details of it, such as its superstructure (flight control tower, bridge etc). We do however accept photos of aircraft and their operations on aircraft carriers.
Limits on number of photos of the same aircraft or airport
AirHistory.net is an aviation database and photographic library and, unlike most other sites the intention is to include photographs of as many aircraft as possible whilst avoiding multiples of similar images. Generally speaking an uploaded image should add to the history of that particular aircraft as documented in our the database.
For that reason we do impose limits on the number of photos of the same subject. We are trying to avoid seeing 20 photos of the same aircraft at the same air show, or photos of the same aircraft in the same markings taken on every visit to the local airport. We also avoid walk-arounds and sequential shots.
The aircraft itself is paramount so please check before uploading if the image you have is similar in appearance and data to one of the same aircraft already on the database. If it is too much like an existing photo and close to the same date, it will not add to this aircraft's documented history and it might not be added for that reason. In general a few pictures of the same aircraft in the same markings in the same time period will be sufficient.
That same aircraft in the same markings taken a few years earlier or later does add to the history of the aircraft, as do even small changes to a livery, titles or configuration. If your photo adds to our historical database and helps to better document that airframe's history, please upload it.
When we have enough photos of a particular aircraft in the same markings and configuration and time period, AirHistory.net may restrict further photos to unusual locations or important moments in its history for that aircraft.
Photos of an aircraft taken about the same day are only acceptable if they are distinctly different, such as showing the aircraft from both sides or photos of it on the ground and in flight. Flight photos include take-off, landing, fly pasts and air-to-air. We are not looking for unusual angles, unless they show a unique feature of that particular aircraft (e.g. unusual antennae, sensors, pods or other equipment) that can be viewed best from that angle. Sequences taken only a few seconds apart are also not what we are looking for, unless the sequence itself is important. For example, a wheels-up landing may deserve several sequential photos, but a regular take-off, landing or fly-past will not.
Images taken in museums need to be substantially different to other shots of the same aircraft at the same location that are already on the database, or they must have been taken several years earlier or later.
It is therefore important to check first to see what we have in the database before uploading.
You can do so by using our regular Search page or our Advanced Search page.