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Things Might Get Tougher For Spotters  
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2672 times:

I watched a report this morning on CNN about a gang of of thieves in Brussels, who will cut through a fence (or simply drive through it), force a taxiing aircraft to stop, board it, and steal any valuables on board. This has happened apparently several times in Brussels, and has also happened in Paris CDG and other places.

The response is probably going to be stronger and more-difficult-to-see-through fences., and spotters on the fences, especially those with ladders, are going to attract much more attention than they used to.

In addition, this weekend in Geneva, I caught a visiting spotter cutting a hole in the fence with heavy wire cutters! The guy was German, but I didn't get a name, and I chewed him out royally, and threatened to call the police on him, at which he disappeared (I'll probably find a hole in some other fence over the next few weeks).

This is the kind of crap that is going on more and more, and will inevitably cause airport security to restrict access and visibility (and I can't say I blame them for it).

So if you see someone with a wire cutter, especially if he's from out of town (he doesn't care if they get strict after he's left), don't hesitate to call the cops. If you don't have a cell phone handy, beat him senseless. I'm sorry I let that guy off so lightly - he'll just do it again elsewhere. A bigger impression is needed.


17 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineLGW From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2550 times:

Yeah, something along these lines happened to me. Not to do with a fence but what happened was me and a mate where on the car park at LGW and there where a group of about 5 kids about 18 years old and they approached us and my friend had his tripod with him and one of the kinds asked if he could have a look at it. My friend said he could and he was looking at it when an Aer Lingus A321 was on finals and the kid pointed the tripod at the 321 and pretended to shoot at it. We grabbed it off him and told him what a stupid thing he had done and that it wasnt funny in any way and then 2 BAA guys came up to us and said they had seen us on the CCTV pretending to shoot an aircraft out the sky! The kids just ran off laughing leaving me and my friend to deal with the BAA blokes. They escorted us off the car park and walked us through the airport to the viewing gallery and, took the rolls of film off us which where in our cameras! Then told us not to do it again! It wasnt even us!

So, now everytime we try to use the car park we normally get the "BAA guys" come up and tell us to leave. It was one of the few good spots at LGW and now its hard to use all because some inconciderate people think its funny to mess around

I guess you will never stop idiots but as Cflak says, act when you can and dont let them ruin this hobby


User currently offlineJan Mogren From Sweden, joined Dec 2000, 2043 posts, RR: 46
Reply 2, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2549 times:

 Pissed  Pissed  Pissed

AeroPresentation - Airline DVD's filmed in High Definition
User currently offlineEDIpic From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2533 times:

What jurisdiction does BAA have over the carpark, LGW? Check your local byelaws. If you go to the car park, which I presume is outwith the airfield perimeter and the BAA staff ask you to move, tell them to call the police and allow the police to make a decision.
If the poilce move you on, you will be entitled to an explanation.


User currently offlineGerardo From Spain, joined May 2000, 3481 posts, RR: 27
Reply 4, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2520 times:

Last week I was at ZRH on a location, which isn't one of the typical spotting locations. We were only 3 spotters there. Suddenly two police officers came along and asked for our ID-cards and controlled them. They also wanted to know, what we were doing there.

I asked, why they were doing it (BTW, they were very polite, nothing wrong with it) and they said, on the typical spotting locations, like the Heliport, they wouldn't do this kind of control, but on a such remote place.

I find it good, that the police makes some controls. There are many locations at any airport, where an idiot or an militant terrorist could do lots of harm to an airliner.

I remember some years ago at ZRH, that some activists climbed the fence and blocked the runway, just when an aircraft, which was carrying refugees back to their home country, was about to take off.


dominguez(dash)online(dot)ch ... Pushing the limits of my equipment
User currently offlineBO__einG From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 2771 posts, RR: 16
Reply 5, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2516 times:

Here in Calgary, Some demented retard drove his truck thru 2 barb fences.. yes 2 Fences (Very Strict) and drove ont he runways taxiways and etc, gogin crazy.. Cops and Airport guys chased him down and arrested him.
My God an A320 had to abort landing cuz he was on the runway driving like a maniac!


Follow @kimbo_snaps on Instagram or bokimon- on Flickr to see more pics of me and my travels.
User currently offlineDa fwog From United Kingdom, joined Aug 1999, 867 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2499 times:

Well, at LHR just over a week ago I got moved by airside security from taking pictures through the security fence for the first time ever. I've previously chatted to both security staff and the Police while I've been taking photos by the fence at Heathrow, and their line has always been: no using steps or ladders by the fence, no damage to the fence and please don't drop litter.

This time it was different: "I can't let you take pictures through the security fence. I'm not accusing you of doing anything wrong, but some of your 'colleagues' have cut holes in the fence to put their lenses through. So for that reason I have to ask you to leave." Basically, he told me that there had been so many cases recently of people cutting the fence, that they are taking a tougher line. And of course, who suffers? Us. He was very courteous, and prepared to talk to me about the reasons (generally, the security staff at LHR have always been very reasonable, if unyielding), and generously offered to allow me to take photos from the other side of the road (which, of course, was as much use as a chocolate teapot).

I have a feeling that photography at Heathrow is going to get more difficult again anyway (from anywhere other than the official roof area on top of Terminal 2), beacuse of recent events in London.

User currently offlineBlackened From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2490 times:

I agree with you Charles. Such guys can destroy it all! But I would say most of the spotters are normal and peaceful people. I'm glad we have viewing decks here and such spotter friendly airports as Basel or Zürich. At BSL there are some holes in the fence and the airport officials seem to leave them like they are! More destruction can be avoided by doing that.  Big grin

User currently offlineAndyEastMids From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 1107 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2480 times:


Whilst understanding of the issue in general, if the perimeter road around LHR is a public road, and I believe that it is (certainly on the north side), I am kind of mystified about the basis on which the security staff can insist on anyone leaving. Whilst in some countries including the USA "loitering" may be an offence (and we're not loitering anyway, we're engaged in the legitimate business of taking pictures), as far as I know it is not yet an offence in the UK. Whilst I appreciate security staff can make life difficult, I am intruiged as to what approach these people can take to INSIST photographers leave a public area.


User currently offlineDa fwog From United Kingdom, joined Aug 1999, 867 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2466 times:

The problem is that a lot of the perimeter road at LHR is *not* a public road. It is actually within the environs of HAL (Heathrow Airport Ltd), and at various points around there are signs telling you that you are entering an area that is subject to the byelaws of the airport (though they're not very obvious, large, or well-sited).

I think you are right that the perimeter road on the north side is a public road, so it may be that we will all be ok there. However, on the south side it's not, and more importantly, on the west side, where the great spot is for getting a/c holding for 09R (on the odd occasions when the wind is blowing the right way), you are definitely on airport land. And I know for a fact that the fence has recently been damaged here - when I was there in May somebody had cut a huge hole in it, so it's not surprising the airport are getting peed off with spotters.

Regrettably, all of the pics below were taken from areas on the perimeter road that belong to Heathrow Airport - which gives you some idea of what great spots we could lose if they decide to enforce this restriction indefinitely.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Chris Sheldon

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Chris Sheldon

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Chris Sheldon

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Chris Sheldon

User currently offlineAndyEastMids From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 1107 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2449 times:


Yup, thats why I specifically mentioned the north side. I think that the south side and west side in particular are all on airport land and I can understand the basis for photographers being moved from these locations  Sad

On one occasion, someone in officialdom (not police) even attempted to move me from the little park at the end of Myrtle Avenue. Admittedly it was fairly soon after the mortar attack some years back, but none the less I told them that as far as I was concerned I was in a public place well away from the perimeter, and intended to stay put. They'd already driven several photographers off. It is surprising how intimidation is sometimes used by people who really don't have juristiction to move people on, and in such cases how standing one's ground soon results in them picking on someone else or leaving you alone.


User currently offlineAndyEastMids From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 1107 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2447 times:

Actually, it is sad that the airport authorities don't recognise the needs of photographers and provide a vantage point that is reasonable for photography, rather than the rather crap facilities (Queens Building / top of T2) that are actually provided at places like LHR. If the airports provided official viewing locations in places that were reasonable for photography, none of the serrupticious sneaking around the fences would be necessary and they could avoid all the agro.

It is possible - Miami and Fort Lauderdale have provided camera ports in the fence at the strategic locations, so why not LHR and the likes?


User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2450 times:

Here in Geneva, we almost got a tremendous wish granted only to see it dashed at the last minute.

Some of my spotter collegues got into negotiations with the airport authorities to grant a weekly access to one of the raised wooden observation posts about halfway down the single 12,000 foot runway. The idea would be that those who want to go would have to show up at a certain time and place each Saturday, would be escorted out to the post, and would have to stay there until some hours later when they would be escorted back (as the post is in the middle of the airport, there can be no possibility of come-and-go as you please). The post would have been beautifully situated for fantastic unobstructed landing and takeoff shots just 30 or 40 meters from the edge of the runway.

Negotiations fell through when the airport authorities got worried about insurance (in case one of us gets sucked into an engine or something), and the idea that maybe the first couple of weeks would get a bunch of people, but after a while they would have all this setup for just 2 or 3 people per weekend.


User currently offlineG-CIVP From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1552 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2420 times:

Just a couple of observations, re LHR and LGW

Normally if there has been terrorist activity on the British mainland, the BAA does tighten up. A good indicator of the how stern the BAA are going to be is if the Queens Buildings shuts. If the QB closes, then they're going to be pretty uncompromising. Normally, if terrorist activity cools down, then "normality" soon returns.

What is slightly more perturbing on this occasion is that some plonkers have been cutting holes in the fence. As Da Fwog notes, this sort of activity will kill off all perimeter spotting, photography, for everyone, PERMANENTLY. Also, it is worth noting that cutting, defacing the fence would be classed as criminal damage in English law.

As for the car parks at Gatwick, I think they're owned by NCP. Again, its private property and you can be asked to be moved on and you haven't got much come back. As for taking the film, thats a bit harsh. What was the precise reason given for this?

User currently offlineAndyEastMids From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 1107 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2406 times:


Agreed - taking film is overly harsh. Had it been me, I think that they'd have got a "foxtrot oscar" if they'd asked for the film, and I've have been quite happy to have had a debate with the police rather than the overly officious BAA guys with big hats over that had they not dropped their request to hand over the film.


User currently offlineG-CIVP From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1552 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2396 times:

Andy - I'd do the same.

This goes for anyone else who has hassle at British airports from security or anyone else. If your challenged, or unduly threatened call the police. Common sense really but you've got alot of rights under British law and most British bobbies are quite pleasant, (as long as you lay off the strong language!) contrary to popular belief!

One footnote. One big popular mis-perception at LHR is that the road between the BA hangers near Hatton Cross is a "public road". It isn't. Its BAA property and they can ask you to leave unless your on "legitimate business".

User currently offlinePaulc From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1490 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2364 times:

At Tokyo Narita, where departing passengers are stopped and vehicles searched before even getting to the terminal. the viewing areas do have small purpose cut holes which are ideal for camera lenses.

English First, British Second, european Never!
User currently offlineSoundtrack From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 284 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (14 years 9 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 2328 times:


That would have been a great accomplishment had you got permission to be that close to the runway at Geneva. The possibility must have been very exciting - shoot, I would have jumped on a plane and joined your group if this was possible.

It is rare to get close like this - had it been possible. Too bad.

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