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Why To Be Careful Spotting; I Learned The Hard Way  
User currently offlineChris28_17 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1439 posts, RR: 10
Posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 3369 times:

(this is alot of reading... but its interesting  Smile )


Little background here, by far my favorite spot in ORD has been 27R, unfortunetly this summer has found me so busy that only twice have i had the chance to go up spotting in ORD and both times they were using the wrong runways... Well, today was my day, i havent been to good ol' 27R in close to a year!!! back then, i used to go there all the time, never once was even approaced, i spent entire afternoons there at 'ol 27R.

Now the story.

Then there was today, my opportunity, like serving a starving man with a lobster dinner, i couldnt pass it up. Maybe JP posted a day too late... I woke up, called ATIS, "... in use, ILS rwy two-seven-right approach..." heck yeah! the winds finally start shifting around sept-oct and finally my patience pays off.. So i hop on a plane, and its off to 27R i go...

on my way i could see in the distance planes landing on my runway! heck yeah! this is awesome! but with my scanner in hand and the time around 2:30, this was a very slow time of day, i would have to be patient for the afternoon rush to begin around 330... by the time i finally made it down there, the traffic has ceased on 27R... so i found a nice place to sit down, and listen to my scanner....

No more than 10 min later, with lights flashing and sirens blaring, airport security was pulling over next to me. Guy got out, very nice guy... asked me for my ID and what i was doing... i gave him my airport ID's and drivers license, he went to do some checks on me.... a few min later 2 more ORD police pulled in, lights, sirens, the whols shibang.... I was happy as can be, "they are checking me out, nothing bad will happen" Well, pretty soon they tell me "we have to wait for the supervisor"... "okay, no problem i say... sup. will be understanding... i thought"

Pretty soon sup. and 2 more airport police show up.... "do you mind if we search your bag?"... "no prob guys!! here ya go". While they were searching, one of the po-po's was looking at my camera saying how much he loves photography, "nice guy, he'll let me stay... i thought"

Well supervisor had made his verdict. Judging by how nice the others were, i thought he was joking.
"we need to confiscate your film" ....
"uhh... really? why?
"because your on city property and you cant take pictures withouth the written permission of the city... and we shouldnt allow you to have that camera here at all, in fact we need to take that too... "
"you can pick your stuff up on monday"
"monday? i dont live here, im from indiana"

i looked around smiling, i honestly thought it was a joke... it wasnt a joke.. i was speechless...

but i got lucky, before i got an answer, about 3 chicago city police vehicles pull up... they also took my ID's and did some checks on them (thats 3 times now they did a background check) There were now a total of 9 police vehicles and 15 cops.... the city cops then did another search of my bag.... they saw the scanner... "you shouldn't be having this out here, we are going to have to take this" I explained that it wasnt mine and i had it only under the condition it was brought back Tonite.... they conceded the scanner...

after that i had to empty my pockets... they patted me down and asked "do you have any sharp objects or needles... etc.." of course i didnt...

The city cops gave me a break. IN fact, they told me after the background check and bag check, that i could stay "theres no law against taking pictures" then an arguement broke out between the city cops, and airport supervisor... all the while me and the other airport cops (who were cool guys actually) were talking about photography, and then some hot girls drove by gawking... i said "they want me" that got a laugh out of the guys....

finally, the jury had reached a verdict. I can stay!!! can you believe it??

of course you cant... after the city cops drove away (after writing a report getting my phone number, SSN number, ect... all sorts of crap) all that was left was the sup... he was pissed, his authority was questioned by the city guys, he would not allow me to stay as the city cops said i could... i HAD to leave, RIGHT NOW... i said "i thought those guys said..... "
"DONT YOU GET IT KID? i said get out of here, consider yourself lucky"

so i did, that was it... i left.... i made some friends, and some enemies.... and im lucky i got to go home with my camera, scanner, and film!


what a day...


i shot about 10 pics from in the terminal, and went home...

Moral of the story, "STAY AWAY FROM ORD!... "

it will be a long time before you see any of these pics from me again... sorry...


Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Chris weldy



Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Chris weldy



Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Chris weldy





CHRIS






hope you enjoyed my little biography....





35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJasonm From Australia, joined May 2000, 238 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 3084 times:

Chris,

That's the most amazing post I've ever read on here!! I don't know how I would react if I was in that situation. Good to see you kept your cool though! Well done!

Jason Milligan
Melbourne Australia


User currently offlineThomasphoto60 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3938 posts, RR: 22
Reply 2, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 3075 times:

Great story Chris! And a lesson that we all can (and hopefully will) learn from.

As Joe Pries stated in an earlier post we should all stay clear of the parimenter fences as well as other sensitive areas of airports here in the states, at least for the near future. Here at IAH the 'off airport' viewing areas are still open, suffice it to say though, I dare not approach the fence near 27 with my tripod and big lenses.

As for myself, well even before these horrific events, I had begun to burn out on plane photography and after the attack, well I was numb for about a week and frankly did not care if I ever saw a plane again. I am beginning to emotionally recover from this now, but my cameras (aside from work) will be used for photographing other things.....at least for the time being.

I am not 100% convinced that this hobby will ever return to what it was before 9/11...at least here in the states. Lets face it, most airports that allowed us to photograph around their parimenters only tolerated us for the most part, now its a whole new ball game. As Chris's story implies, some airport managers/ supervisiors may become overzealous with these new tighter security measures, regardless of what the law states and crack down on what some no doubt see as an easy nusiance to get rid of. That said however, I would hope though in time that some US airports take a European approach to the spotter/photographer. After all Europeans have been living under the specter of terroists much longer that we have and over the years some airports (AMS/ZHR/GVA/FRA, ect...) seem to have found a happy medium in providing a high level of security while allowing spotters and photographers to enjoy their pastimes.

Just my musings.

Thomas





"Show me the Braniffs"
User currently offlineTbar220 From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7013 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 3047 times:

Chris, I think thats a great post. I think it definitely has the quality of being one of the articles on a.net. You should really go deeper into this, and write out a cool article and submit it to Johan. A lot more people would read it and enjoy it as much as I did.

Great story! Although you did have to suffer through the ordeal...

 Smile Tzvika  Smile



NO URLS in signature
User currently offlineA380-200 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 3030 times:

There were a coulpe of Tornado fighter/bombers at EMA yesterday but no chance of a shot.

Although the regular security seem to have become a little more "interested" over the past week or so there was a regular police patrol vehicle (not just a local lightweight either...a full blown armed response unit) positioned right beside the fence where they were parked making it clear to all that casual observers (and photogs) were not welcome.

This is definately new for EMA.

Regards,
Dean


User currently offline5280AGL From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 414 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 3009 times:

Ummm, can we say violation of constitutional rights!? So much for the land of the free.

Great story Chris


User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 18
Reply 6, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2997 times:

5280, read more carefully.
Chris was on private land, which means he was tresspassing.
It also means the airport security guys had no jurisdiction of course, but that is another matter.



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineStaffan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2995 times:

If they confiscated the camera and film, they'd have to develop the film in order to look at the photos - Free processing guys!!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Staffan


User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 18
Reply 8, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2992 times:

LOL. They could of course charge the processing under government prices, which are highly inflated.
$100 to have a roll of slides processed?



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineWanderlust From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2964 times:

Hey Chris...I was actually at ORD taking pics yesterday with no problems. I was sitting in the parking lot of the USG building at the intersection of Lawrence and Mannheim. A GREAT spot (for approaches), and there were several other people there too. I was there for a couple hours in the morning, and never got harrassed.

Like what was mentioned in the other thread...stay away from the perimeter fences and move away from the airport a bit. There are tons of other spots if you look around...

Sorry to hear about your bum trip!


User currently offlineBrownphoto From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 151 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2957 times:

Attn Jwenting:

I believe you are not correct.

If you are in America, and someone demands you turn over your film, and equipment, that is THEFT.

Why don't YOU come over to my house, and I will have a couple of my police friends come over, and I will have them take away your stuff. As a matter of fact, I'll want your wallet too...

What? No way you say?

Well why not?? You are on private property!

As a professional photographer, I have been asked several times for my film - and I have never given it over. You need to calmly state that the equipment is your private property and any attempts to take it will result in a theft report at the nearest station house. PERIOD.

More than half of this problem is from overzealous security and yes even Police Officers and Sherrifs, or Gardai, who believe they have the power to "legally" steal.

Well, it's time to let them know, that they do not.

Joe Brown


User currently offlineFlygga From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2952 times:

Joe,

Your film and camera could be confiscated by the police as evidence. If you are tresspassing that is usually a misdemeanor and the police have the right to take it as evidence if they arrest you. Even if they just give you some kind of ticket, that is still an arrest. Of course your film and camera would be returned to you after the case has been settled in court. Trust me, I work in law enforcement here in California.

Richard Silagi

PS: Chris I commend you for remaining calm and polite with the police. If you acted differently, this story could have been a lot worse.


User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 18
Reply 12, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2937 times:

Joe, if you invite me in, it is another matter. It no longer is tresspassing at all.
A wallet might be confiscated as evidence as well, for example to check for ID papers (and other things that might lead to a clue as to why you were really there, especially in the current slightly paranoid situation).

You're free to report the equipment as stolen if it is confiscated by the police, but most likely you will be laughed at. Just ask the people taking it for a receipt stating they received this and that in good working order. If it is then returned broken or incomplete sue them for damages (that is the American way, isn't it, as we are now seeing with people sueing AA, UAL and Boeing for operating and building aircraft).



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineDazed767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5494 posts, RR: 51
Reply 13, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 2932 times:

Chris....how can I be more like you?

User currently offlineB-OTCH From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 139 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (12 years 11 months 4 days ago) and read 2945 times:

God, there are only 2 people in the world that would happen to, you and me.

We wont get hassled by the man in SXM!!!

B


User currently offlineBO__einG From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 2771 posts, RR: 18
Reply 15, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2917 times:

That Is the best Story Ive ever heard in Months!

It certainly socks my plane stories..
I think this WOULD be an fantastic Article Chris.

As for my airport, I do know a few spots that are now high risk areas so I aint goign there as much but at times I will take a risk by bringing some things I shoudl not bring like my Scanner or my 4 feet ladder.. hehe
Usually Ill be at the approach so ladders arent even needed and some spots at the airport have double fences so security not need to concern once at all.

Bo

Great Story as WE all say!! Im glad that nothign bad happened to you except the security..
ya know, COPS ARE NICE!
At school I brought my scanner and got it confinscated and when I got it back a police officer who works jointly with the schools went up to me and he was interested in it, he told me to bring it back to school regardless of the risks and show him some frequencies especially the cop channels.
Unfortuenatly they were digitalized  Sad

Bo



Chance favors the prepared mind.
User currently offline5280AGL From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 414 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2901 times:

I am no lawyer but it sounds like a potential wrongful search & seizure case to me. Especially if they actually would have taken your stuff.

I would eat their asses for lunch baby.


User currently offlineChris28_17 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1439 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2890 times:

Ahh... glad you liked my story! here are some replies...

****

Chris was on private land, which means he was tresspassing.

actually i was on city land, neither aiport or private.. a road goes perpendicular to the end of 27R and i was on a grassy area next to it... the airport cop said "i was on city land and needed permission from the city to take pictures on it"


Wanderlust>>>
Hey Chris...I was actually at ORD taking pics yesterday with no problems

where the heck where you? i assume over at 27L, i've heard thats not a really good spot (and you have to have a car) so i've never checked it out... whats it like??

Chris I commend you for remaining calm and polite with the police

Hey i work with an airline, i have to deal with crappy passengers, i'll tell ya, when things are going to crap, its the people that are nice and understanding that i will hook up with travel vchr's, upgrades.... etc... Unfortunetely i was only one officer away from convincing them to let me stay...

Chris....how can I be more like you?

its just one of them thangs you just cant learn...

We wont get hassled by the man in SXM!!!

between you and me, we're bound to get hassled... but come on, it is a public beach, right?

Maybe we should make some official looking "spotting permits" and take them down with us, just in case  Wink/being sarcastic


I am no lawyer but it sounds like a potential wrongful search & seizure case to me.

i thought the same thing, i am glad that they are keeping an eye out for unusual things, and i had no problem at all letting them search my stuff, there wasnt anything there... the thing that was annoying, was after going through background checks and searches for around an hour, being a total pain in the ass, you would think they would have such intamate knowledge of me that they would have allowed me to stay... JUST TELL ME TO LEAVE!! dont fuck around with me and then make me leave... (hahaha... saying that brings back some old memories.. )


CHRIS


User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5049 posts, RR: 15
Reply 18, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2870 times:

They cannot confiscate due to being on private property as long as you are on the correct side of the fence. And I never heard of a city banning outdoor photography. if the city tells you "no pics" on city property by the airport, then they have to ban photography at the City Park, on any city street, and you know they wont ever do that. Except under Martial Law...which i fear we may be headed for but we are not there yet.

What about this: calling the airport p.r. dept and ASKING permission to take pics near the perimeter fence, not on their property, and they give you written permission from airport management. Then all you do is show the airports permission to the cop...they should leave you alone. Think it would work, to call the airport beforehand & ask permission?

bruce



Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
User currently offlineDSMav8r From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 579 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2873 times:

Chris,

I also agree that this was borderline unlawful search and seizure. I have had similar events happen to me at ORD as well, but nothing this extreme. ORD airport police are notoriously overzealous, that is nothing new, but its seems as if they kicked it up a notch. That is why everytime I shoot at ORD, I always bring along my wife (who is an attorney) and she can hash it out with those witty cops.  Smile

I hope this does not become commonplace at all major airports in the U.S., because people will not tolerate it. It sickens me to think that some of these airport cops will use 9/11 as an excuse to harass and intimidate people (especially us photogs and spotters). Increased security is one thing, but when you start to violate personal liberties and freedoms is another.......


Aric Thalman
Omaha, USA



To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home
User currently offlineWanderlust From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 39 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 2862 times:

Chris wrote:

where the heck where you? i assume over at 27L, i've heard thats not a really good spot (and you have to have a car) so i've never checked it out... whats it like??

-----------------------------------------------------

Yep, I think it was 27L (I'm not too familiar with the airport - I'm still learning). And actually, it was a pretty good spot - I was so happy that I damn near broke my arm from patting myself on the back so hard.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Seriously, it was about as good as it gets for approach shots. Very comparible to the NWA cargo lot @ LAX in terms of closeness to aircraft and sun angle. So yeah, you have to have a car to get to it. Even though approach shots aren't my favorite, I'll take it. It seems as if that is all that is gonna be possible at ORD for a while.

Trouble is, I live two hours from ORD, and I'm gonna be PISSED if I drive all the way out there to find out some other runway is being used. You mentioned calling ATIS...what is that, and how can I get the number?

Any other info you have on ORD would be greatly appreciated. (BTW, this is 'Scooter' - since the move, this site doesn't recognize my old username. So, I've had to resort to my old 'dammit, I'm pissed off and gonna flame like mad' username.  Wink/being sarcastic ) Give me a shout next time you head to ORD (or any other airport in this area).




User currently offlineJoe pries From United States of America, joined May 2000, 1957 posts, RR: 53
Reply 21, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2886 times:

in my 13 years of doing this i had 2 very bad experiences- one at jfk when i did night shots by the fence of af cargo 74- i had two cop cars roll up- no lights- and they got out, cocked their shotguns and had me walk backwards to my car (hands on the hood)- they said they had a report of someone cutting the fence. after showing them my pics (back then i was shooting prints- ouch) they took off. the other incident was at DTW- i was at the green lot with bill hough and a local friend, Joe W and some undercover cop broke our balls unbelievably- we thought we were in nazi germany for the 1/2 hour interregation by this p.o.s.
the key is to always remain calm. and Chris- STAY THE HECK AWAY FROM ORD for now  Smile

Joe


User currently offline5280AGL From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 414 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2862 times:

airport cops are just insecure about the size of their weiner's. Seriously though, they must have nothing better to do or something. I know I would get off by flashing my mighty airport police badge around and harassing photographers! Wow, what an ego trip that must be! Now I know why you don't see too many of these moron's attending MENSA meetings!

User currently offlineSJC-Alien From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 919 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2857 times:

Can somebody post any rules from any airport in the USA that says Police can confiscate your property without a warrant, if you aren't arrested? We still have some rights left, don't we...?

Secondly, I might have said,,," gee 15 cops out here, who is watching the other fences..?"  Big thumbs up

Of course I'm just joking.....any Mad magazine smart aleck answer wouldn't be prudent, unless you have big ones...

SJC Alien



User currently offlineBO__einG From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 2771 posts, RR: 18
Reply 24, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2856 times:

hehehe goodness..
Its gotta be hard out there in the states..
here in calgary the city is a big wank..
nothing happens and the airport is heightened but not overdone.. you would of made it on the news!
and u can sue em as always if all goes bad..

what would happen if you actually did resist the supervisor and stay?
U said cops gave permission and ur on city land,.,
as far as l know they cannot touch you.. am i wrong?


I find it rare for security 2 drive out of the fences to catch you.. here at yyc l get warning from guys who are standing other side of the fence..

Bo



Chance favors the prepared mind.
25 Brownphoto : Richard - I did not read where he was threatened with arrest. If he was arrested, then yes, the camera, bag and scanner could all be taken as evidence
26 Post contains images Dazed767 : I've only had one bad experience...out on the ramp at MCO, a friend went on board to get us some drinks. Someone decided to leave a door open for too
27 Chris28_17 : Scott!!!! haha i had no idea it was you man, i cant find your email addy, send me a quick mail dude, we'll chat about ORD... chris28_17@hotmail.com --
28 Post contains images BO__einG : oblong object up his ass eh? Haah, what a word.
29 Flygga : Joe, First of all I want to clarify, I am not a sworn law enforcement officer. I am a civilian communications officer, but in my job I still have to h
30 Post contains images Planeboy : Incidents such as these should be immediately reported to the FAA and this is why I say this... 1 - cops with "little weiners" are dangerous 2 - Does
31 PSU_DTW_SCE : Joe - I was just curious to hear about your bad incident at DTW in the Green Lot. I used to shoot from there before they closed the lot for the new ro
32 B-OTCH : Im thinking about printing up some business cards, to make myself more legit. I carry around a sample of my pics to show in situations like this. "Thi
33 Flygga : I have business cards and for the most part are not a help with security people. If I get stopped by security or the police and they are questioning w
34 ChrisKSDF : The ORD ATIS telephone number is: 773-601-8921 Chris
35 Brownphoto : First of all I want to clarify, I am not a sworn law enforcement officer. I am a civilian communications officer, but in my job I still have to have t
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