Northwest1988
Topic Author
Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:10 pm

Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:08 pm

Hello all,

We see a lot of attention to airports like SXM, DCA, TGU, and etc for their unique spotting locations. They provide some amazing views. What about some smaller airports or less famous ones? While in Hilton Head Island HXD this past weekend we stopped at a gas station which is situated right at the end of the runway. You can almost touch the planes as they fly over.

Here is the video and picture I was able to get:

https://youtu.be/fQl8Hbr56-0

https://flightaware.com/photos/view/708 ... ate/page/1

HXD only has airline service on American Eagle and the Dash 8 is currently the only plane they fly there and general aviation. While nowhere near as impressive as a 747 landing at SXM, it is still exciting to see. What are some other airports that provide unique viewing of planes coming and going that may not be as famous as the other big airports?
 
ual763
Posts: 555
Joined: Sun May 14, 2017 11:46 am

Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:11 pm

BWI has an amazing park right under the approach end of 33L. I find that with all the cargo operations there, they have much more variety than DCA. Really nice place.
From flying to the NOTAM office
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:29 pm

Lanzarote (ACE) is very similar to St. Maarten, the runway is right up the beach. There's a foot- and bikepath that runs from Puerto del Carmen all the way along the airport to Playa Honda. Under the approach path you can always find some spotters. I know, I've been there myself a couple of times. The planes pass really low over your head.
 
QF1607
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2016 12:10 pm

Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:31 pm

PER has a viewing platform that is only 100m away from the main taxiway and 320m away from Rwy 03, if planes are using that runway it makes for some great photos and videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NisoPIAW8Es
 
georgiabill
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Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2003 11:53 pm

Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:34 pm

MHT has the aviation museum and perimeter road to catch action on 17/35
 
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Markie73
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Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:43 pm

The small Greek island of Skiathos (JSI/LGSK) has some excellent photo and spotting opportunities during the summer months as the end of the main runway is located near a main road, there are some photos of arriving and departing airliners in the photo database here on Airliners.net.
 
Blerg
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Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:42 am

Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:44 pm

Larnaca (LCA) has a beach right in front of the runway so planes fly right above you. Belgrade (BEG) installed a platform for spotters so you can nicely see the terminal and the runway.
 
GuruJanitor
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Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:50 pm

Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:07 pm

The top of the hill at the Colline du Chateau in Nice is great when the planes are landing on the 22's. Great spot to be in what feels like arms length to the Emirates a380. Also on the Promenade des Anglais by the Le Meridien is great too, as that is right under where they make the turn to final.
 
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flyingturtle
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Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:39 pm

Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 5:40 pm

My nearest airport is BSL. You see gazillions of U2 319s, but BSL is also the base of Jet Aviation, a company that specializes in outfitting business and government jets. A few years ago, the 747-8i ordered by Prince Abdulaziz al-Saud was outfitted there. And then it stood around, awaiting a sale.

And then, a freighter every now and then.

David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
Zidane
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 2:44 am

Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:55 pm

In the Caribbean there is UVF, a spotter's dream once you get the right spot (there's plenty). Here's a video of mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS5rYLse9yc
A highway, beach bar, and windsurfer club reside at RW28's end, it's active during occasional weather phenomenon. The daily 747s were a real treat.
http://flightaware.com/photos/view/9595 ... asc/page/1
http://flightaware.com/photos/view/9595 ... asc/page/1
http://flightaware.com/photos/view/9595 ... ws/page/80
http://flightaware.com/photos/view/9595 ... ws/page/13
 
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Blimpie
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Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:30 pm

ual763 wrote:
BWI has an amazing park right under the approach end of 33L. I find that with all the cargo operations there, they have much more variety than DCA. Really nice place.


If by more variety you mean WN instead of AA, then yes :) As for air cargo, well, from 04:30 till about 07:00 you get a similar mix that one might find at IAD, otherwise everything is other than WN is some AA mixed small, DL MD's, a sheepload of regional, again all AA and DL, and an occasional Air Canada. After 16:00 you got a couple of intl, but not so much more variety than what you get at DCA. :)
Now get the hell off of my lawn your dang kids!
 
Armodeen
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Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:39 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
Lanzarote (ACE) is very similar to St. Maarten, the runway is right up the beach. There's a foot- and bikepath that runs from Puerto del Carmen all the way along the airport to Playa Honda. Under the approach path you can always find some spotters. I know, I've been there myself a couple of times. The planes pass really low over your head.


AGP is very similar. Aircraft on very short finals will fly directly over the road from the inland approach (with plenty of opportunity to pull over and stand among the lights) or the beach if approaching from the south.
 
ual763
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Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:41 pm

Blimpie wrote:
ual763 wrote:
BWI has an amazing park right under the approach end of 33L. I find that with all the cargo operations there, they have much more variety than DCA. Really nice place.


If by more variety you mean WN instead of AA, then yes :) As for air cargo, well, from 04:30 till about 07:00 you get a similar mix that one might find at IAD, otherwise everything is other than WN is some AA mixed small, DL MD's, a sheepload of regional, again all AA and DL, and an occasional Air Canada. After 16:00 you got a couple of intl, but not so much more variety than what you get at DCA. :)


Idk man, I've seen it change the last few years. Sure, SWA will be the majority of what you see. But, BWI gets the MD-10, A300, & 767 on occasion from FDX. IAD, only gets the 767s and occasionally an A300. BWI also, gets some DHL, UPS, Atlas, among others which IAD doesn't get. Not as many RJs at BWI as at DCA. But yes, nothing beats Gravelly Point in my opinion.
From flying to the NOTAM office
 
george77300
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Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:49 am

What about Phuket. That literally is up against the beach the same as SXM but it gets about a million daily widebodies including B747, B787, B777, A350 and A330 just from Thai on what seems to be a random schedule on the 30 minute flight from BKK. Also EK, QR fly there among many others. Far more traffic especially widebodies than SXM yet almost identical layout up against beach.
A306 A313 A319 A320 A321 A332 A333 A343 A345 A346 A388

B712 B733 B734 B735 B738 B742 B744 B752 B763 B772 B77E B773 B77W

AT75 AT76 C208 P46T SR20 SR22 TBM8

BA EI EK EY FR GT IG JQ KX PG PW QF QR SQ TG TP U2 UA VS WY ZB
 
SyracuseAvGeek
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Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:05 pm

Syracuse, NY. While the planes coming in and out aren't that impressive. It's one of the only airports I know of that has a public observation area that has a clear view over the perimeter fence. Can get some great shots there.
"I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list."
 
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ACCS300
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Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:42 pm

MRY used to be amazing when they had more mainline service as jets would rotate immediately in front of the small terminal's outdoor viewing platform when departing 28L. Remember enjoying countless UA 727's and 737's when I was a kid.
 
Newark727
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Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 6:42 pm

Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:31 pm

LAX is one of the best large airports for spotting - so much so, I think, that it tends to overshadow a lot of the peripheral airports in the Southern California area. For instance, Ontario International (ONT) - there's a nice open area at the approach end of the 26 runways that supports a wide range of focal lengths, and the San Gabriel mountains are fairly close by, making a good prop when approaches and departures are the right height. Peak times are around December 20th, when UPS hires on lots of extra capacity for the Christmas rush.

ONT will always be close to my heart as it was there that I got probably the best shot I've ever made:

Taken in (rather rare) reverse pattern operations. I'm not sure this exact angle is viable anymore, as there's been some new construction in the vicinity since.
 
Newark727
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Re: Best small and lesser known airports for plane spotting.

Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:17 pm

Elsewhere in Southern California, I've been visiting a bunch of different general aviation airports. Now most of the spotters here probably don't pay a lot of mind to Cessna 172s and Piper Tomahawks, but the upshot is that you can get really close to the action, much more easily than you could at a larger airport.
Image
Here's an approach to runway 24 at Fullerton Municipal Airport (FUL.) I would estimate that the distance from Artesia Avenue (the public street I was standing on when I took this) and the runway threshold is no more than about 200 feet (61 meters.)
Image
Fallbrook Community Airpark (L18) is absolutely tiny - the single runway is just 2,160 feet (658 m) long. That limits the size and volume of traffic, but I love the setting. You park right next to the runway, on a hilltop - the runway is slightly below you.
Image
This is the airport that time forgot - Flabob (RIR) in Riverside. In addition to the retro quality of the facilities, it's fairly open, making it easy to walk around the hangars and check out all the projects people are working on. If you can, fly in - the downwind leg for runway 24 is an experience not to be missed.
Image
Wedged in between state highway 126 and the Santa Clara River is Santa Paula Airport (SZP) in Ventura County. On the first Sunday of every month they have an open house, and it seemed to be quite well attended when I visited. Much like Flabob, the vintage aircraft are accompanied by equally vintage infrastructure - it's a completely different experience from the large commercial airports.

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