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Heathrow Spotting Information #2  
User currently offlinespotterjoe From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2010, 22 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6609 times:

I know there are about a million LHR posts on here, but bear with me  

Now the summer is here and the weather is getting better I am planning a few trips to LHR. I have visited Myrtle Avenue so know how to get there, but I haven't been anywhere else.

I have heard about several places near T5 (Caffe Nero and an embankment) for 9L arrivals, but how do you get there on public transport (I don't mind doing a bit of walking)?

For 27R arrivals, where is the best place to view the aircraft? Also, is it worth spotting 27L takeoffs from Myrtle Avenue?

Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently onlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6603 times:

In answer to your questions....

1) Forget anything actually at T5 this time of year as the heat-haze will be terrible. Also, near the smoking area I believe that your shooting wondow is very narrow, with only certain times of the day being good. You can walk from T5 to the embankment I guess but there's a lot of motorway and I imagine no public transport whatsoever.

2) Before 18:30(ish) the best place is the roundabout at the maintenance area (where the old road used to cut through) or the huts a little further up. In the evening the north side is okay - I'm not entirely sure of the locations but I believe they are pretty easy to suss out.

3) 27L take-offs can be done if you shoot through the fence on the parallel road to the A30 (near the end of Cains Lane) but again at this time of year heat-haze is a problem. Best place would be the Esso further up the A30, but even that isn't perfect during the summer months.

Karl


User currently offlinespotterjoe From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2010, 22 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6511 times:

Does anybody have directions from the T5 tube stop to the embankment as from what I can see on google maps its all motorways and slip roads I will be on foot. Any info is appreciated. Thanks!  

User currently onlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6491 times:

I believe the only option is to try and walk along the motorways, etc.

Like I said in my original response, not easy!

Karl


User currently offlinelegoguy From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2006, 3311 posts, RR: 40
Reply 4, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 6458 times:

I wouldn't recommend anyone trying to walk along the motorway, that's just asking for trouble. I've attached a quick basic stretch of the path from T5 to the various spotting places for RWY 09L. Basically turn right when leaving the ground level of T5 and follow the footpath.

Upon reaching the taxi rank, you can cross the road (to the blue star squiggle). It is a large grass embankment and often used by spotters. You need quite a short lens from here (50-200mm)

Alternatively you can carry on walking until you reach a set of traffic lights and a bridge where you can cross the road and stretch of water. Upon crossing the bridge, turn left at the round about and try crossing the dual carriageway. Be careful as there is usually a constant stream of traffic with only a few gaps safe for crossing. Once on the other side of the dual carriage way, simply walk to the bridge and turn right and go up the embankment (red squiggly star on the map below).

Sometimes the motorway police move you on from this embankment as they don't like folks being close to the motorway, especially near a break zone, so they will ask you to move towards the field in front of the embankment, marked with the yellow squiggly star.

I hope this helps some what. After 6.30pm you can go to the roundabout and cross to the other side (or even go to the centre of the roundabout), and from there you can easily catch all the arrivals until sunset.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8001/7386971548_e89d48061e_o.jpg

Lastly it might be worth mentioning that spotting is possible from the very top deck of the T5 drop off area outside the departures, just cross the road and go to the far wall on the right side, there are usually a cluster of spotters there which is hard to miss. You will have to time your photographs through the lamp posts but it should be easy enough to nab a photo. Included below is a sample photo from this area.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5326/7007615400_2645b882e2_c.jpg

Cheers,

Dave



Can you say 'Beer Can' without sounding like a Jamaican saying 'Bacon'?
User currently offlineAlexC From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2007, 60 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 6450 times:

Fat chance of any heat-haze so far this summer! And walking on a motorway is not allowed,

User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12046 posts, RR: 47
Reply 6, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6404 times:
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Quoting JakTrax (Reply 1):
1) Forget anything actually at T5 this time of year as the heat-haze will be terrible. Also, near the smoking area I believe that your shooting wondow is very narrow, with only certain times of the day being good.

Notwithstanding the light this time of year, the smoking area is not the best, IMHO. Better is a paved area across from there looking towards the 09L approach:

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Photo © Steve Brimley
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Photo © Steve Brimley


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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Steve Brimley
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Photo © Steve Brimley



Yes, the smoking area is difficult as you only have a very shot time to get your shot (the plane has already passed you):

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Steve Brimley
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Photo © Steve Brimley


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Steve Brimley
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Photo © Steve Brimley



Personally, I think the T5 departues level gives better photos than the motorway embankment or the field by the road.



Hey AA, the 1960s called. They want their planes back!
User currently onlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6403 times:

The embankment is okay but a little distant for effective summer use. I find the aircraft way too high in the field in front of the embankment, but of course there's no heat-haze!

I've never actually tried the T5 spots as I've always been told they're no good. Those images of yours look fine Steve, so I may have to give it a whirl in the winter.

Cheers,

Karl


User currently offlineG-CIVP From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 1288 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6402 times:

As others have mentioned, heat haze is awful at LHR during summer. Second, shooting during the day, e.g. arrivals on 27L, will result in the infamous grey bottoms.

User currently offlineCaptainKramer From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2012, 225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6381 times:

Hi spotterjoe,

If you want to take shots of taxiing and departures from 27L the best time is in the morning provided it is the week for morning departures and prevailing winds warrant it's use. Afternoon departures from 27L are backlit. To get there exit Hatton Cross Station and walk along the innermost perimetre road were single lane traffic travels in both directions. Head towards T4. Just before arriving at the tall concrete jet blast barrier and well left of runway 27L you can shoot up against the fence. You will need a small box or milk crate to stand on to get above the metal sheet that runs along the middle of the fence (designed to block vehicle drivers view) or you can shoot below, so long as the grass has been cut!

Your best bet is to take your shots then move across to the other side of the road to wait for the next aircraft you want to shoot, to keep the police at bay, although I haven't had any problems, with the Olympics around the corner this may change. Heat haze wont be such an issue with aircraft taxiing out of T4, but definitely a problem for aircraft lining up from the other side of 27L.

If you want shots of aircraft airborne from 27L then the ESSO petrol station is the place to go. Just go to T5 by tube, then exit left out of T5, you will pass a bike rake on your left, walk along the foot path keeping runway 9R on your left side when you come to a round about turn left, cross the road and follow the footpath the ESSO station will be off in the distance it is a good 20 minute walk. There is a grassy area just beyond where you can take your shots between large gaps in the lamp posts.

If you want dramatic departure shots and 27R is in use then after 5pm, I highly recommend you walk out of T5 follow the red path illustrated in legoguys aerial view of T5, but instead of crossing the bridge keep walking along the footpath ahead until you get next to the Thistle Hotel carpark. There on the grass you can shoot dramatic takeoffs of Heavy Metal, but only after 5pm when the sun will illuminate the side of the aircraft facing you and when the sun is lower it will illuminate the belly. Narrowbodies are still good, especially well lit belly shots, but they will be much higher of course.

Hope this helps.


User currently offlineJW777BA From UK - England, joined Jun 2012, 6 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 6210 times:

Its very hard to spot at LHR. For me, the only places are Myrtle avenue and the stand by the hotel. I once stood right under the 09L threshold, and the police and BAA looked at me like I was a terrorist   I was eventually moved

User currently offlinespotterjoe From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2010, 22 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 6206 times:

From what I have read, the T5 departure level sounds like the easiest place to get to, and to be honest, I am not too crazy about taking pictures (I am more of a rego taker). Anyway, all this may be irrelavant as 27L might be used for arrivals!

Thanks for all the information guys, it's a real help!


User currently offlinespotterjoe From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2010, 22 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 6205 times:

Sorry guys, forgot to mention in the above post: Is it likely that the police will move me on from the T5 drop off, and are there likely to be other spotters there, as I feel more comfortable spotting with company.
Thanks !  


User currently offlinePRM From Ghana, joined Apr 2002, 348 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 6201 times:

Quoting spotterjoe (Reply 11):
From what I have read, the T5 departure level sounds like the easiest place to get to, and to be honest, I am not too crazy about taking pictures (I am more of a rego taker).

Rego taking should be OK, but just be careful if you swing around a long lens up there. I got moved on from there in April by a pair of 'Community Officers' saying photography was not allowed. In effect this is BAA property, so I'm sure it's true, but probably now being more regularly enforced due to the approaching Olympic Games..... I eventually wlaked off to the embankment for some peace.


User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12046 posts, RR: 47
Reply 14, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 6155 times:
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Quoting spotterjoe (Reply 12):
Sorry guys, forgot to mention in the above post: Is it likely that the police will move me on from the T5 drop off, and are there likely to be other spotters there, as I feel more comfortable spotting with company.

I've never had an issue any time I've been there, including chatting to police on their patrols. I've been there on my own and with other spotters/photographers around.



Hey AA, the 1960s called. They want their planes back!
User currently onlineJakTrax From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 4936 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6142 times:

Community Support Officers? Pah! I would've told them where to stick it!

Ask them to show you the bye-law which states that you can't take photos. It won't exist, I can almost guarantee! It might be private property but it's a public place, and you're not trespassing by being there.

Karl


User currently offlinescbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12046 posts, RR: 47
Reply 16, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6139 times:
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Quoting JW777BA (Reply 10):
Its very hard to spot at LHR. For me, the only places are Myrtle avenue and the stand by the hotel. I once stood right under the 09L threshold, and the police and BAA looked at me like I was a terrorist I was eventually moved

I've been taking photos at Heathrow since the mid-late '70s and I've NEVER had a problem. Maybe I've been lucky.

Have you considered joining the Heathrow Airport Watch scheme?
http://www.met.police.uk/heathrow/aviation_enthusiast_scheme.htm

I know some people think it's a waste of time, but if it saves you being bothered just once, then it's worth it IMHO.



Hey AA, the 1960s called. They want their planes back!
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