Sunny Day Spotting @KMSP

Today, I decided to head over to KMSP’s official spotting location to watch some planes! If you’re ever in the area, I’d highly recommend it. It’s got a nice panoramic view of the runways, a big field, picnic tables, and optional spotting location. The only issue with photography is the 7 foot electric fence, topped with barbed wire. Some of the photos are impeded by that fence. Towards the end, I ended up standing on a bench to get a better vantage point.

It was the perfect day to spot, about 72 degrees F, (22C), clear blue skies, and a gentle breeze.

About the Official Spotting Location

This is an amazing thing that MSP offers. It’s a large space, located right in the airport. Just follow directions to Cargo Road, then drive it to the dead end, which is this. I’ve circled the location in red:

(Photo from Wikipedia)

They also have a cool (albeit outdated) guide to the various planes common (and less common nowadays) at MSP.

For more information, visit their website:

Aircraft Viewing Area | MSP Airport


To start it off, we have a great view of Terminal 2, along with its lineup of Southwest and Sun Country planes.

Delta A220-300 rocketing out for Houston (KIAH), stowing its gear after a quick takeoff run. This was one of the quietest takeoffs we saw today, especially compared to the A321-200 we saw just a few minutes later.

Nice Delta 737-800, lifting off for sunny Cancun (MMUN)! It’s been broiling hot here, with highs yesterday in the upper 90’s, so I bet its actually cooler down in Mexico!

Stunning Delta A350-900 landing after a 9 hour, 8 minute flight from Munich (EDDM). The reverse thrust was so quite, one of the quietest on any wide body.

Super loud Delta A321-200 cruising out for Phoenix (KPHX). The takeoff was a little wobbly, despite the lack of any winds. I was listening to KMSP Clearance Delivery on LiveATC, and the controller told the crew that the winds were only 3 knots. Seemed like it was quite a heavy plane, as it took quite a bit of the runway to get off the ground.

This is the worst photo I took, but thought I’d include it. It was the smoothest landing of all day, as this A319 buttered in from the land of @United403 (KJAC). The landing was absolutely perfect- perfect flare, right on the touchdown zone, just enough float.

A Sun Country 737-800 departing for San Fransisco (KSFO). This was actually the first of their 738s to be painted in that specific livery, which is now outdated. Sun Country is phasing this one out for their new, more modern livery, affectionately dubbed the “Tide Pod” paint scheme.

Southwest Boeing 737-700, taking off for a short trip to Chicago-Midway (KMDW). They banked right almost instantly after leaving the ground, before the gear was even fully stowed.

USAF Hercules from the 934th Airlift Wing, based here at KMSP. The transponder wasn’t on, so I have no idea where it was going. Another spotter, a self proclaimed “expert” said it was a 767.

I have to include this so we can commend the crew of this Delta Boeing 717, after an attempt at going over too Philadelphia.

Just moments after rotation, something went funky with the #2 engine, and smoke started shooting out the back. I switched ATC channels, and the pilot said that he thinks a bird was ingested into the #2 engine, and that they had to divert back to Minneapolis. After looping around, they came into land, and absolutely buttered it, quite a feat on the 717. As a precaution, they rolled out the fire trucks, which was pretty dramatic.

Luckily, they got them a replacement 717 to fly over to Philly, and they were on their way in under 45 minutes after landing!

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Don’t forget to bring a step ladder next time! 😁

If you don’t have one, you can camp down by the entrance to Fort Snelling, just park down in the park and then walk up the path. If they’re running 30s, you can get some fantastic pictures, especially during golden hour.


Oh wow! Thanks for the tip!

you rang?

Very nice shots! Are they using 22?

That doesn’t quite work out, Munich a) doesn’t have a service to MSP and b) only sees Boeing 767-400s from delta atm, so it must have come from somewhere else


That’s super weird… I’ll have to look into it.

No, it was 30L/R ops.

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