KSJC Planespotting Question

Hey guys. Anyone from the Bay Area or have ever been to KSJC? I was wondering where the best spot was to get a great shot of both departures and arrivals for a nice PlaneSpotting video!

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I’ve spotted at KSJC once, and I know one pretty good location.

There’s this small parking lot, across from an In-N-Out, which offers a location to spot arrivals 30L/30R, departures 12L/12R, and you can shoot through the fence to capture aircrafts taxiing. You get to be very up-close to the aircrafts on taxi-way Whisky, which is mostly GA and private aircrafts.

KSJC Parking Lot Location

You can also go onto Airport Blvd to spot the aircraft fly overhead when landing 30L.

I only spotted there once, while the aircraft were landing 30L/30R. I’m not sure how well you can go planespotting when departing 12R/12L. But I think it will still be fine.

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Thank you so much! I was thinking about going sometime this weekend.

Just a couple of questions:

  • Does it usually get crowded in that spot? I was thinking about going between 9-11 AM since there are a lot of early weekend arrivals.

  • Has anyone told you to leave the area after some time? Like is there a limit to how long you can stay in that area?

Also those are amazing pictures! What camera do you have?

I’m sure @GlobalFlyer1 and @BigBert10 can tell you!

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@GlobalFlyer1 is your guy here.

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I may know San Jose (SJC) like the back of my head, but I don’t spot. @GlobalFlyer1 is the best person to ask in terms of this

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Ok got it!

I went spotting there December of 2019. I spotted in the morning aswell.

There weren’t a lot of people there. There were one or two other spotters when I was there, and there were others who would come and stop by for a few minutes to watch the aircrafts.

I don’t think that there is a limit while spotting at the parking lot. If you were to go spot at Airport Blvd, police might come question you because it is next to a busy road. But if you stayed in the parking lot, you shouldn’t encounter any problems. Total I stayed there probably around 4 hours

Also, thank you! I use a Canon EOS 500D, with a 55-250mm lens.

I would probably continue asking around, maybe find a local who’ve been there many times. I’ve only been there once.

Have fun this weekend! Hopefully you’ll get some great catches!

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This website might be helpful for you! I spotted at location #2.

https://www.spotterguide.net/planespotting/north-america/united-states-of-america/san-jose-norman-y-mineta-sjc-ksjc/

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Because of the layout of the runways, there aren’t any really good places to get videos of both takeoffs and landings, unless you shoot through a fence which security doesn’t like…

But, if you’re fine with switching spots there are some good locations.

First one for landing would be a little parking lot in front of the In-n-Out and Starbucks, right next to runway 30L. You should be able to see all the arrivals on that runway, though sometimes pilots will request 30R and those will be slightly harder to capture. In my experience, it’s usually only Southwest that requests 30R. Note that this location is currently closed, but you can park at the In-n-Out and walk a little to get there. My suggestion is not to go in the morning or early afternoon here, since all your pictures will come out backlit, golden hour or late afternoon would be a perfect time to come here though.

Second one is for both landings and takeoffs depending on which runway they’re using. If they’re using the 12s, it’s one of the best spots, and if they’re using the 30s you’d only be able to see the planes after they’ve rotated or if they’re exiting the runway. It’s a closed employee lot, and security doesn’t have an issue with it unless you come too close to the fence.

And the last spot, this one is primarily for departures since there are a lot of light poles blocking the arrivals, but you should be able to see them exiting the runway. It’s the roof of “parking lot number 2,” and you will have to pay but no cops or anything should come here so long as you follow the guidelines like wearing a mask, and actually pay. It’s about 6 floors high and it’s pretty good, but unlike the other spot, don’t cone here in the late afternoon or evening, since your pictures will also be backlit. Morning time would probably be the best to visit here, and there are some mountains in the background but nothing too special like snow or anything.

There is technically one more location, but security doesn’t normally like people to be there. The place is currently closed, but when things reopen I recommend it! It’s Daily Lot number 5 or 6, and it’s perfect in the morning. You shoot through a fence, but you see departures and landings, and most 737s or smaller will rotate right in front of you. When aircraft are coming from the gates really close by, you’ll see them pass just like 50 feet away or less, and it’s pretty cool. Best time would be morning, otherwise they’re backlit, and I don’t have many pictures from this location since mine were taken in the afternoon so they’re pretty bad… (@Highlander24, just edited this in since I forgot about it).

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You could still tag me because …SJC
but I’m reliable for spotting info

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Thank you so much for the suggestions.

I’ll do evening time on Saturday then for the arrivals and then do Sunday morning for the departures.
Wow you and @Bryan4558 take some amazing pictures haha. I have a Canon Rebel t7 but I do not have a tripod for precision filming and pictures.

I finally decided to film some planes here because I literally live 20 minutes away from the airport but never got the chance to actually film since I’m always flying out of the airport.

I’ll most likely post the pictures by next week after I edit them. Thank you all once again.

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Heading out to KSJC right now @Bryan4558 @BigBert10 @GlobalFlyer1

Be on the lookout for pictures uploaded next week :)

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Just a tip, if you plan to catch any heavies, FedEx flies a 757 and 767 Monday through Thursday, and just the 767 on Friday. UPS also flies a 767 from Louisville from Monday through Thursday, and one from Seattle on Friday.

For now, BA will begin a 747 service on August 1, American begins CRJ flights on August 5, and ANA resumes Tokyo Haneda on August 1. Air Canada doesn’t resume service until September 8, and their CS300 service has been postponed indefinitely

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Thank you so much!

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