PART 1 // A Community-Made Airport Spotting Guide // A Guide for an Airport Near You


#1

[EDIT October 24, 2018: Airports will no longer be added to this list. (This topic has reached its character limit.) To post new information about an airport, please go to Part 2 (unless editing a current post). The link for Part 2 is listed here: https://community.infinite-flight.com/t/part-2-a-community-made-airport-spotting-guide-a-guide-for-an-airport-near-you/261981?u=racerclc

You may continue to ask questions about airports on this topic. You also edit airports that you have already previously posted.

I will now be deleting the original topic description to make room for edits on existing airports. Don’t forget to check out Part 2!

Thanks for the amazing support you’ve given to this topic!]

[Notes from @racerclc on September 26, 2018:]

  • If you have questions about spotting at a particular airport, you’re welcome to post it here! Someone might be able to give you a good answer.
  • Follow @Dylan_M 's example: Feel free to edit your airport post at any time, just let me know when you do so that I can update it in the main post. Thanks!

[Original topic-description/post can be found on Part 2.]

EHAM // AMS // Amsterdam Airport Schiphol // Netherlands // @Mika

@Mika

KBWI // BWI // Baltimore-Washington International Airport // Maryland, USA // @HiFlyer

@HiFlyer

KCLT // CLT // Charlotte Douglas International Airport // North Carolina, USA // @Pilot_urp @racerclc

@Pilot_urp

@racerclc

KJFK // JFK // John F. Kennedy International Airport // New York, USA // @GaplessHiding

@GaplessHiding

NZWN // WLG // Wellington International Airport // New Zealand // @TheCoolPilot

@TheCoolPilot

RJGG // NGO // Chubu Centrair International Airport // Japan // @SimpleWaffles

@SimpleWaffles

TNCM // SXM // Princess Juliana International Airport // Saint Maarten // @racerclc

@racerclc

YBSU // MCY // Sunshine Coast Airport // Australia // @ET_Mavic

@ET_Mavic

YBTL // TSV // Townsville Airport // Australia // @Pilotcorn09

@Pilotcorn09

YMML // MEL // Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine Airport) // Australia // @Velocity23

@Velocity23

Thanks, everyone!


PART 3 // Community-Made Airport Spotting Guide (Q&A and Guides!)
#2

Airport: KLGA

Location 1: Planeview Park

Info: This is one of the best locations to spot at KLGA. If Runway 04 is active for the day, aircraft will fly directly over you on short final. For Runway 22 takeoffs, aircraft will also fly over you.

Pros: Great view of aircraft
View into the airport
You might see Trump’s 757!

Cons: Many trees
Poles
Noise from highway

Here is an example of what you might see at Planeview Park:

Location 2: World’s Fair Marina

Info: This too is a great location. Shall Runway 31 be active, aircraft may still be in the left bank following the Expressway Visual. Aircraft will be at around 300-400 feet, as the runway is still across the Flushing Bay. On some days though, aircraft will not follow the Expressway Visual and will pass directly over the buildings in Flushing. If you get lucky and have a long camera lens, you might get the privilege to catch a shot with an arriving aircraft (Runway 31) and a departing aircraft (Runway 04) in the same shot!

Pros: Awesome view of arrivals and distant departures
You can see the arrivals in the left bank for short final

Cons: Many overpasses of highways can block your view
Lots of garbage

What you may see at World’s Fair Marina:

What aircraft will I see?: KLGA is a small airport, nearby KJFK and KEWR handle all the international flights. You should see many Delta, American, Southwest, Spirit, Air Canada, Westjet, Alaska, and occasional F9 aircraft. Every once in a while, you may see a small GA aircraft or private jet. All in all KLGA is a great spotting airport, but not a good airport in general haha.

Aircraft Size Range: The aircraft you shall see might range from the smallest of GA Aircraft to a Boeing 767-300.


#3

Airport: CYYZ



Location 1: Airport Road

Located around the threshold of Runway 23 on Airport Road, this is the single most popular spot at YYZ. It’s perfect for every lens size and skill level. Airport Road runs almost perpendicular to Runway 23, so based on the time of day you can move along the road so you’re never backlit not really, but we’ll get to that later, and you can get all sorts of angles. There’s also a parking garage you can use (but not park in) in the late afternoon. You can come to Airport Road with anything from a phone to a 150-600mm. Generally, most (and that most is very important) heavies will land and takeoff on 5/23 as it’s the longest runway, but see the aircraft section down below. Line ups are possible, but they may haze a bit. Facilities are completely provided for, you want food, there’s a Wendy’s and a convenience store. Bathrooms? No big deal. Parking? Easy. About a million spots in any store parking lot. The only issue here is light poles and large trucks that can get in your shot, so just be careful. I don’t have an example of a picture right now, but honestly they vary a lot based on distance and angle.


Overview:

Pros:

  • Good variety of angles
  • Low planes
  • Line ups and arrivals
  • Usable throughout day
  • Many Facilities

Cons:

  • Hard to get touchdown and rollout shots.
  • Poles and traffic


Location 2: Dixie Road

Not as popular as Airport Road (and for a reason), Dixie is the second main spotting place. Located at the threshold of 05 and running parallel to Airport Road, it’s essentially the same thing. The difference is that on Dixie, the planes are much higher. To put it into perspective, from Dixie to the touchdown zone of 05 is about 1 km or 0.62 miles, and from Airport to the touchdown zone of 23 it’s about 0.72 km or 0.45 miles. It’s a noticeable difference. Line ups here are very difficult, you need a long lens as the planes are about 1700 feet from you, and there’s a mountain of ILS equipment in the way. I took probably 10+ line up shots and only two were usable. It’s a tiny window. On Dixie, there aren’t a whole lot of facilities. However, one very convenient trick I’ve found out is to park on Director Gate (the only place, really), and then when you need a quick snack or need to use the bathroom, just drive out onto Dixie and turn right and then drive about half a kilometer to a Tim Horton’s / Wendy’s combo building. Then, you can go back and take smaller roads back to Director Gate. Here’s an example of a shot from this spot (once again you can move for different angles:


Overview:

Pros:

  • Many angles
  • Facilities in the area
  • Usable all day

Cons:

  • Planes higher than Airport
  • Traffic (poles less of an issue)
  • Hard to get line up and touchdown


Location 3: Fedex Crash Gate

I have no idea what the official name of this spot its, but it’s pretty cool. It’s at the end of Bramalea Road next to a FedEx Ramp and a crash gate. There’s one key difference between here and the other two spots - it only works at a specific time. Since at this spot, you cannot cross the runway centerline, it only works in the afternoon, and that’s fine and all in the summer when the sun sets at 9:00 pm and you get great lighting, but as it progresses into September and October this spot isn’t usable until 3:00 pm to 3:30 pm and the sun sets around 6:30 pm. There’s also a fence you need to shoot through, which can be difficult and ruined quite a few of my shots. The benefit of shooting here as opposed to Dixie or Airport is that you can get both arrivals and departures on both 05 and 23, as well as taxi shots and shots of the FedEx aircraft on the ramp. For runway 05 operations, landing aircraft will pass by you generally either smoking up the runway or popping a wheelie, which makes for some nice shots, however it’s not easy to frame the aircraft as they are still clocking 130+ knots. For departures, they’ll come by mostly at a leisurely pace. A CRJ or ERJ might nearly be airborne by the time it passes you but a 777 might be like halfway down it’s roll in terms of speed. For runway 23 departures, generally heavies will rotate before you and lift of the runway split seconds before you can start shooting, while light aircraft may be far overhead. For 23 arrivals, you will need a good camera and a long lens, as you’re shooting aircraft a mile and a half away on touchdown. They will all vacate on the exit before you which means it’ll be hard to get them without haze. Here is a shot from here (unedited, don’t bash too much):


Overview:

Pros:

  • Touchdown shots with airport background
  • Taxi shots
  • FedEx Ramp shots
  • Departures and arrivals in both directions

Cons:

  • Fence (don’t think about bringing a ladder, it’s 12 feet tall easy and will get you kicked out)
  • Planes very quick
  • Not conducive to phone spotting, need a camera
  • Only usable at a certain time


Aircraft:

Let’s talk about the variety of planes that come to YYZ. If you plan a visit, here are some aircraft and their approximate arrival and departure times (these are off the top of my head so they are estimates)

  • Emirates A380: 8:20 am arrival, 2:30 pm departure
  • Etihad 777-300ER: 8:55 arrival, 3:00 pm departure
  • KLM 747-400, 787-9, 777-200ER: 12:00 pm arrival, 5:00 pm departure
  • Air France 777-300ER: 4:00 pm arrival, 6:45 pm departure
  • Lufthansa 747-400: 4:45 pm arrival, 6:05 pm departure
  • Korean 787-9: 9:45 am arrival, 12:40 pm departure
  • EgyptAir 777-300ER: 7:25 am arrival, 12:45 pm departure
  • IcelandAir 767-300 and 757-300: 6:00 pm arrival, 7:30 pm departure
  • Plus Ultra A340-300: 7:20 pm arrival, unknown departure
  • PIA 777-300ER and 777-200LR: 1:50 pm arrival, unknown departure
  • Ethiopian B787-8: 8:25 am arrival, 10:30 am departure
  • China Eastern 777-300ER: 1:45 pm arrival, 4:00 pm departure
  • China Southern 777-300ER: 6:00 pm arrival, unknown departure
  • Hainan 787-9: 3:00 pm arrival, 5:25 pm departure
  • El Al 767-300ER: 2 times a week, Monday and Thursday, arrival times vary but generally seem to be between noon and 11:00 pm. Check FR24 before you go. Also police activity tends to run high when these ones are inbound.

And of course, all the Air Canada, WestJet, and Air Transat you could ever want to see.



Issues with authorities:

Ah yes, the best part of spotting. But luckily, at YYZ, it isn’t really an issue. The 3 spots mentioned above should be of no issue (unless you bring a ladder to FedEx or have little kids that are running and jumping everywhere). Also - don’t bring a soccer ball to FedEx. This whole family of like 20 came along and this one kid came with a soccer ball and was kicking it at the fence, which, when you’re trying to reduce shake, doesn’t help. Also nailed me in the head once when I was shooting. Luckily just a WestJet. Please don’t. It gets everyone kicked. The other time authorities run high is with El Al. If you want to spot on the 6s or 24s, it’s a little more difficult risky and I’ve never tried but I know spotters frequently get kicked out.



The Community:

One of my favorite parts of YYZ is that there’s always a crowd around the spotting areas. At each of the above spots there’s normally like 5 people with cameras and like 10 more spectators (except FedEx - there’s like 10 cars but only like 5 people at the fence (normally). One reason authorities don’t bother people normally is because there’s so many people there at once so you don’t look suspicious and they don’t mind.



Lighting and Weather:

This is my least favorite part about YYZ. Generally, winds are either NE or SW resulting in 05 and 23 operations, respectively. But lighting is where YYZ hits you. In the summer, it’s not too bad, but in general, 11 am - 2 pm is really hard to spot because the light is coming from directly above which means you’re backlit from all sides (yikes) no matter where you’re standing. YYZ is only spotable from early morning to 11 and then from 2:30 ish to sunset (as the year goes on, push the 11 back to 1 and the 2:30 back to 4:00). Weather is a toss up. Pick a day with partly cloudy skies but be aware they can change in an instant because of the lake.



Best Time:

With all that said, what is the best time to come to YYZ? I would recommend from 7:00 am to 11:00 am or from 3:00 pm to sunset. Not only will these times lead to the best lighting and aircraft variety, but they will also provide the most stable periods of weather and wind. For spots, I recommend getting arrivals on Airport or Dixie depending on winds and after 4:30 pm ish head on over and give FedEx a try.



If you made it all the way here, wow. This was more like an essay than a quick guide but I hope you learned something and if you have more questions don’t hesitate to PM me.


#4

Airport: KBWI

Locations: Thomas A. Dixon Jr. Aircraft Observation Park, BWI Gold Lot, BWI Marshall Daily Garage, Concourse A/B Spotting Deck, Mathison Way

Info:
Observation Park: Good for arrivals on 33L from about 10 A.M. till night, Departures off 15R all day long, lens suggestion would be at least a 75mm lens.
BWI Gold Lot: Good for arrivals on 33L 10 A.M. till night, departures off 15R all day, lens suggestion is probably at least 50mm zoom
Daily Parking Garage: Good for departures off 15R all day, I would suggest a pretty long lens (at least 200mm)
Spotting Deck: Good for taxiing and parked planes in between concourse A and B for all of the day, lens suggestion would be basically any lens, even the shortest
Mathison Way: Good for departures off of runway 28, landings on 10, most of the day long, lens would have to be pretty long as well, around 200mm or more.

Aircraft: LOTS of 737s, A320 family, some regional jets, largest regular aircraft are A321, B752, B788, A333, A300, MD-11, 767. Occasionally a charter 747 or 777 comes, also Egyptian Air Force C-130s come by a couple times a month.


#5

I’ve been working on a map that includes spotting locations at airports for a while. I’ll try and throw the link in when it’s more complete.


#6

Airport: YMML

Location: Runway 09 Threshold (McNabbs Rd)

Info: This is easily the best spot for departures during the winter, with runway 27 almost always in use, you can get some great shots of departures. Want to see some heavies? No problem, with runway 34/16 also in sight, you can get some great shots with a 300mm lens.

What to expect: Planes departing right over your head, and a nice view of heavies on Rwy 34/16.


#7

Airport: YBTL

Location: Runway 01 Threshold (Ingham Road)

(Had to add phot cause people would not know where it is. If you go there now, it is green grass. Please let me know if i need to take this picture down)

Info: This spot is the best spotting place because the planes come in real low. This is the runway the planes land every day unless in the morning. Up to about 7:00am AEST, they land from the other side (Runway 19). Can get busy sometimes. If your lucky enough, you might be able to see RAAF planes because YBTL is a RAAF base for Australia.

Aircraft to expect: 737-800/700, 717,Dash-8 Q400, Embrear 175, C-17 Globemaster III, RAAF Helicopters, A320, C-130J, Fokker 50


#8

Airport: JFK

Location(s): Terminal 5 Parking Lot, Cargo Plaza, Costco

Info:
Terminal 5: This is hands down my favorite spotting location. It offers a great view of runway 13L/31R (directly in front of you!), and has access to the terminal for food and restrooms. Since it is the JetBlue terminal, JetBlue offers free bag carts and wheelchairs which you can cough cough nab. There is a reasonable chance that security will come and kick you out, though. You can always call the Port Authority beforehand and tell them your intentions of planespotting. You need a 135mm+ lens minimum.

Cargo Plaza: This is also another great spot. Nestled right before runway 13L, it offers an amazing view of planes flying low overhead. There is also parking nearby if you go and check. This area is still on airport grounds, so be sure to respect the area (especially the runway lights leading up to the threshold). There should be a nice grassy area where you can spot. You need a 55mm+ minimum for this area (unless you want wide angle shots)

Costco: The Costco located at 605 Rockaway Tpk. is close to the approach end of runway 31R. The planes fly decently low overhead. You can also walk into the Costco for food and restrooms as well. You need a 135mm+ lens minimum.

What to expect: A wide variety of planes, ranging from the BA Airbus A318 all the way to the Boeing 747, with many aircraft in between. Basically, name a commercial aircraft, you’ll have it!


#9

KCLT Airport Overlook

Link

https://www.tripsavvy.com/thmb/DlJcLNJlpYz2Rw5oZ7WcvdFBidc=/960x0/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc()/20140911_153450-56a121b05f9b58b7d0bc4b5e.jpg

About this location

This Is one of best spotting locations in the states and gives yo access to Charlottes most used runway R36/18C.You get to view all aircraft and airlines taking off and arriving at Charlotte.Afternoon is the best time to come as the heavies from and to Europe are all chillin.
I’ll edit this later gtg

we need this to be a wiki so Regulars and up can help input spotting locations


#10

If you would like to contribute to a Wiki, head here: https://www.spotterswiki.com/index.php/Main_Page
(unless I don’t know about a feature where the creator can make a post a Wiki??)


#11

You have to be a regular (TL3) or ask a moderator in order to make your post a WiKi.


#12

Airport:RJGG
Location:Skydeck(observation deck)

Info It has a nice mix of Japanese and other Asian carriers,also with airlines from a far,such as Lufthansa,Finnair,Ethiad,United,and Delta.
The Skydeck is the best location,just 50 meters from the runway and taxiways,being close to the runway and gates. Light is best at morning or evening. I recommend a Samsung S8 or S9,or an iPhone X if you want phone photography,and a 200-300MM lens if you have a camera. If you are going with family while you take photos,then there is the exhibit called Flight of Dreams,displaying ZA001,the first 787 prototype. It has multiple restaurants and shopping areas,with some paper airplane making stands. Definitely worth it.
What to expect: A lot of ANA and JAL aircraft. On the domestic side,you can expect a lot of ANA 737-700/800,ANA Q-400,and JAL 737-800. On the international side,you can expect some afternoon medium hauls from South Korea,Guam,Taiwan, and China,with some early morning or late evening long hauls from Abu Dhabi,Honolulu,and Detroit.
IF YOU ARE VERY VERY LUCKY,YOU MAY SEE A DREAMLIFTER!!!
image image
Credit:http://www.centrair.jp/interest/visit/entertainment/skydeck.html
http://www.centrair.jp/en/services/enjoy/
https://community.infinite-flight.com/t/my-day-planespotting-at-chubu-centrair-airport-ngo-rjgg/242494


#13

Airport: NZWN

Location: Park at end of Courts Street

Info: This is probably one of the best places to spot at Wellington International Airport. The park sits right in the middle of the one and only runaway at NZWN which means you can catch planes that are taking off, landing and taxiing. No problem of which runaway the departures/landings are at. There is a fence which separated the runaway and park but to look over it just stick your lens through or stand on one of the benches.

What to expect: You should expect a few A320’s, 737’s, Cessna 208’s and quite a few Dash 8’s and Atr-72’s. If you’re lucky you may catch the Singapore airlines 777, the largest aircraft that is scheduled to fly in and out of NZWN. However, Wellington being the capital, you may catch government and military aircraft as well as private jets. The main airlines flying to Wellington are: Air New Zealand, Sounds air, Jetstar, Qantas and Singapore Airlines. Expect quite a few crossing landings as well!


#14

Airport: YBSU

Location: Runway 36 Threshold

Infomation: This is one of my favourite places to spot at my local airport, it is close to the airport terminal, and you are able to stand at a gate inlet so your spotting photos are not obstructed by the metal fencing. You will also be in an area where no not many people will be looking at you thinking “what a looser” 😂, because a lot of the locals along the street parallel to runway 36 are spotters!

Aircraft: Jetstar A320, Virgin Australia 737-800 & 700, Qantas Link 717, Aliance Airlines Fokker 50, Air New Zealand A320 (Only from the 6th of July to the 28th of October), Cessna 208 Caravan (SkyDiving), many GA aircraft (some CRJ-200’s) and the very occasional low fly by of a Australian Airforce 737-700 with a radar dish.

This google maps photo points out the location you have just read about.


#15

I’ll add some info to @Pilot_urp 's post about KCLT.

The Airport Overlook is on the west side of the threshold of 18C. As far as I know, this runway is almost always used for take-offs (usually from the 18 side), but rarely is it used for landings. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any other legal spotting locations because trees seem to surround the entire airport. However, you may be able to get some through-the-fence views from a fitness trail (AKA a sidewalk) that heads north from the Overlook. The only legal parking spots in the area are at the Overlook. Expect to see around 10 other come-and-go visitors (not usually aviation people, maybe they’re just hanging out there a few hours before their flight) during the weekend.

The main airline you’ll see is American Airlines, and their main jets flying into/through Charlotte are CRJs, ERJs, the full A320 family, and A333s. For every 4-5 AA jets that you see, you’ll probably see one United or Delta jet. I think Delta usually operates regional jets (Boeing 717 or CRJs), and I think United operates 737s in Charlotte. You may also see UPS and Prime Air planes occasionally since Charlotte is a major city for Amazon Prime.
[Edit: I think that Lufthansa might also operate A330s to/from Charlotte.]

If you plan on video-taping or taking photos, keep in mind that the Overlook is not right up next to the runway; the Overlook is 500-800 feet away from the runway itself. For filming, I recommend that your camera has at least 2-3 times zoom if you don’t want the fence and other distracting elements to disrupt your footage. If you want to get full-frame shots of the departing aircraft, I’d recommend using at least a 200mm lens.

You shouldn’t have a problem waiting for a plane to take-off. During rush hour and on weekends, there could even be 4-6 planes in the queue. You’ll likely see planes constantly taking-off every day up until around 8-9pm.


#16

I’ve seen the dream lifter there and the 787
The sky deck is amazing and so is the food
RJGG#1 fav airport

U beat me to suggesting RJGG ha


#17

Yeah,I actually saw both of them taking off on a plane,but you have to zoom in x1000 to see it😂😂😂


#18

I’ve spotted there recently!


#19

TNCM / SXM
Princess Juliana International Airport (St. Maarten)

1297973050215_ORIGINAL
source: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjOiJXr0dbdAhVIzFMKHZjABfYQjRx6BAgBEAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Ftorontosun.com%2F2017%2F07%2F13%2Fnew-zealand-woman-dies-from-jet-blast-near-saint-maartens-princess-juliana-international-airport%2Fwcm%2F612381f6-bec6-4ead-a527-7ae3f53ad0c8&psig=AOvVaw2gFsImEIRB6cUtdOhq-XkT&ust=1537981462491788

Disclamer: When I visited this airport, I wasn’t as interested in aviation as I am now, so some of this info may not be 100% accurate.

I’m sure everyone’s heard of this airport before (or at least has seen pictures of it).
St. Maarten’s largest airport, SXM, features a runway that’s close up to the beach; only a small road separates the fence from the sand. Expect the area to be pretty crowded, especially during holidays. If you visit there during a cruise, I believe that the drive from the cruise terminal to the beach is around 30 minutes.
A plane will probably land or take-off every 5-10 minutes during busy holidays. You’ll probably be seeing all sorts of Caribbean and non-Caribbean airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, and KLM.
From what I remember, about a third of the arrivals were private airplanes, and the other two-thirds of arrivals were airliners.
At the beach, they have a chalkboard sign that shows the arrivals and departures that day; it’s a helpful tool if you don’t have any access to internet. But if you do have internet, https://flightaware.com/live/airport/TNCM is a great link to take a look at.

Sorry that I don’t have a ton of information to give. If I can recall any more information in the future, I’ll try to remember to add it here.

[Sorry if you wanted to see a KLM 747, @Pilot_urp and @KPIT told me that they don’t operate a KLM 747 to St. Maarten anymore. But planes like A330s still fly in!]


#20

I think KLM terminated service there a little while ago.
i think that is plenty of accurate info
Nice job