Acoustic emission (AE) testing is an increasingly popular technique used for nondestructive evaluation (NDE). It has been used to detect and locate defects such as fatigue cracks in real structures. The monitoring of fatigue cracks in plate-like structures is critical for aerospace industries. Much research has been conducted to characterize and provide quantitative understanding of the source of emission on small specimens. It is difficult to extend these results to real structures as most of the experiments are restricted by the geometric effects from the specimens. The aim of this work is to provide a characterization of elastic waves emanating from fatigue cracks in plate-like structures. Fatigue crack growth is initiated in large 6082 T6 aluminium alloy plate specimens subjected to fatigue loading in the laboratory. A large specimen is utilized to eliminate multiple reflections from edges. The signals were recorded using both resonant and nonresonant transducers attached to the surface of the alloy specimens. The distances between the damage feature and sensors are located far enough apart in order to obtain good separation of guided-wave modes. Large numbers of AE signals are detected with active fatigue crack propagation during the experiment. Analysis of experimental results from multiple crack growth events are used to characterize the elastic waves. Experimental results are compared with finite element predictions to examine the mechanism of AE generation at the crack tip.