Sponsor Message:
Aviation Hobby Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Closest You Can Legally Get To A Runway?  
User currently offlineMjsmigel From United States of America, joined Oct 2002, 56 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 5887 times:

What is the closest you can legally get to the approach zone on a runway, without of course being on an airplane or working for an airport?

My own experiences...

Back in the late 1980s the best area I knew of was DFW's Runway 18R approach end (on the northwest side of the airport). The spot was among the approach lights, 950 ft from the runway threshold, and looked DOWN on the runway slightly (all this data is for those of you who haven't been there). It was a tremendous thrill to watch the 767s and 747s come overhead, and you could actually hear the wake vortices following DC-10s about 20-30 sec after they passed overhead. Around 1994 the airport owners decided to close the road to public access and created a very tame viewing area on the southeast side that's a good 1/4th of a mile to the SIDE of Rwy 35C. :-( It sucks so much that I only visited it once, though it's probably good for casual photography with a telephoto lens.

Over the years I tried scouting out viewing areas at SAT, LAS, OKC, FAI, etc, and had no luck finding anything remotely similar to the old DFW 18R vantage point. In many cases I couldn't even find a spot near the approach end that wasn't hidden by some embankment or a huge fenced buffer zone.

In your opinion, what is the BEST airport for spotting at, and the WORST, in terms of viewing areas? My "worst" pick is San Antonio, hands down -- I circled the airport by car and was never able to even get a glimpse of the runway except from busy Hwy 281, and no place to park there.


11 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 17
Reply 1, posted (13 years 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 5784 times:

only experience at CUR and AMS. You can get to within 100ft of the runway in some places, within 200ft in many places.

I wish I were flying
User currently offlineAirhead711 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (13 years 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 5732 times:

There is a park directly across the street(maybe 100ft) from the threshold of runway 33L at BWI.It's an excellent spot to get approach shots and there is a playground so the kids can play while you take your photos  Big thumbs up

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Timothy O'Bryan
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Scott Hoggard

Scott H

User currently offlineAirOne From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 611 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (13 years 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 5719 times:


Focusing on a small no commericial service, I was biking in Kelly's Island on Lake Erie in Ohio, and actually biked up and down the runway and inbetween a few planes parked there.


User currently offlineUS AIRWAYS From United States of America, joined May 1999, 432 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (13 years 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 5709 times:

You can get pretty close to the threshold of 1R at SFO by walking to the end of a footpath of that little park that they have there on the bay, and the walking down Old Bayshore Highway a bit.


Go Eagles!
User currently offlineMjsmigel From United States of America, joined Oct 2002, 56 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (13 years 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5653 times:

Way cool... is there a site somewhere that lists all of these tricks for getting close to runways at various airports?


User currently offlineSpark From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 431 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5589 times:

The parking lot behind Runway 1R and 1L at SFO is closed. You used to be able to get close to the runways there. The Bayfront park puts you about 500ft from the 1R (possible a little further).
The best place I've seen at the three Bay Area airports is on the frontage street at SJC. You can get a pretty good view of the runway, and are very close it.

User currently offlineJcxp15 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 997 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5576 times:

You can get oh about 25-40 feet from RWY4 at LGA...

User currently offlineApuneger From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 3032 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (13 years 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5572 times:

At Antwerp Deurne airport (EBAW if I'm correct), a Belgian regional airport, the threshold of the runway is, well, very very close to the street next to it.

You can get within like 5 feet or so of the runway, no problem with that...


Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
User currently offlineUS AIRWAYS From United States of America, joined May 1999, 432 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (13 years 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5552 times:

Forgot to mention Hog Island Road/Island Avenue at PHL. I was actually just down there the other day, when we had some unexpectedly warm weather and clear blue skies. You get a great view of 27L/27R (only a couple hundred feet away), and if 17 is active for landings, commuters and bizjets fly only 2-300 feet (maybe even less) or so over your head on approach. If any of you are ever visiting here, make sure you stop by. It's the Island Ave. exit off of I-95, just before your get to the airport. You'll get some great shots.


Go Eagles!
User currently offlineUSAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (13 years 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 5553 times:

In Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica, the airstrip splits the town in two so in order to transit the town you need to walk across the airstrip...it is served by SANSA so it is a commercial airstrip but the terminal bears more resemblance to a bus stop  Big grin

FLL has a decent spotting area near runway 9L...about 300 ft. away from the action but excellent for photography...most of a.net's FLL shots come from this area, and it is usually jam-packed with spotters...plus the airport has graciously installed a loudspeaker connected to the tower so you can hear whats going on in the tower frequency...


Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
User currently offlineKarlok From Netherlands, joined Mar 2002, 839 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (13 years 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 5521 times:

In Amsterdam you can go close in my opinion.

Top Of Page
Forum Index

Reply To This Topic Closest You Can Legally Get To A Runway?
No username? Sign up now!

Forgot Password? Be reminded.
Remember me on this computer (uses cookies)
  • Aviation hobby related posts only.
  • Back all your opinions with facts.
  • No adverts of any kind. This includes web pages.
  • No hostile language or criticizing of others.
  • Do not post copyright protected material.
  • Use relevant and describing topics.
  • Check if your post already been discussed.
  • Check your spelling!
Add Images Add SmiliesPosting Help

Please check your spelling (press "Check Spelling" above)

Similar topics:More similar topics...
You Can't Sabotage PSS 777 posted Wed Aug 16 2006 00:52:45 by Glom
What Can I Look Forward To? posted Sat Aug 5 2006 23:43:49 by PJFlysFast
How To Get To Rockaway Blvd Costco? posted Wed Jun 28 2006 06:00:53 by UN_B732
Now You Can Be A Airliner... posted Thu May 5 2005 20:23:09 by Airfly
FS2004 - I Can't Line Up On Runway...HELP! posted Wed Jul 28 2004 16:43:55 by N754AN
Can Anyone Link To Yahoo Briefcase Photos? posted Sun Mar 28 2004 06:21:28 by Concord977
Help Please,I Can't Add Downloaded A/C To FS2004 posted Sat Mar 6 2004 13:31:57 by Wing
Where Can I Find A Radio To Hear The Pilots? posted Fri Dec 12 2003 16:46:05 by A340600
Can FS20xx Get Any Better? posted Wed Nov 6 2002 00:21:11 by Lehpron
What's The Very Best Model You Can Buy? posted Wed Apr 24 2002 17:58:44 by GWB

Sponsor Message:
Printer friendly format