Mjsmigel From United States of America, joined Oct 2002, 56 posts, RR: 0 Posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4455 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.
Airhead711 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 249 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4300 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
Spark From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 431 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (12 years 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4157 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.
US AIRWAYS From United States of America, joined May 1999, 432 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (12 years 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4120 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.
USAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 52
Reply 10, posted (12 years 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4121 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
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