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Spotting In Austin  
User currently offlineKAUSpilot From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1976 posts, RR: 30
Posted (14 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 1425 times:

Hi, I just got an old SLR camera from my dad and would like to use it to get started in this hobby.

I was wondering if anyone familiar with ABIA (ILS!) could give me some pointers about where I should go. I have heard a "spotting area" mentioned but I can't seem to find it.

Also, any hints or tips about when any interesting A/C will be arriving here in AUS would be much appreciated. I'd really like to get some shots of a 757 because I've never seen one before and they're my favorite heavy at the current time.

3 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineILS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (14 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 1389 times:

From AUS_Spotter.

Spotting on the West runway (17-R/35-L) is possible but isn't very exciting in my opinion. From the official viewing area you can see aircraft arrive and depart on the East runway as well as aircraft on the West runway (although far away, you can still tell what they are). You also can see aircraft taxi and all the aircraft at the gates.

On the North end of the West runway (17-R) you will see planes approaching that runway and that is it.... no touchdowns no taxiing and no departures.

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Photo © Jason Knutson

On the South end of the West runway (35-L) you will see planes approach, touchdown and depart. I've only actually spotted at this location once due to the fact that it isn't very safe due to it's close location to a very busy road (Burleson Road).

Okay...on to the locations.

The spot at the North end of the West runway is a cemetary. This isn't a very obvious spot and I didn't know about it till a friend showed it to me. If you take Hwy 71 West towards Austin from the airport, exit on 183 South and immediately get into the left lane. Take the first cross over you come to and go across the Northbound lanes. A single lane road will lead between 2 fences and into a cemetary which is at the end of the runway. I'd suggest having a scanner or something to listen to here as it is pretty boring when there are no aircraft coming. If airplanes are landing from the South (common during the winter) don't even bother with this spot as the only thing you will see are airplanes flying over you at about 1000'.

To view from the South end (only good when planes are landing from the South). Continue South on 183 and take a left on Burleson Road (I think there is a sign that points to the General Aviation area just before this intersection). Not too far down Burleson you will see the end of the runway. I pulled off into the grass and sat for a while but didn't feel safe with all the traffic zooming by so I left and haven't gone back since.

The spot I use the most is the official spotting area as it has the most action. My second choice is the cemetary spot, especially when I'm trying to get photos of a cargo plane.

There are other areas where I've sat and watched planes for a while and all I'm going to say is to explore the airport. Go in the GA entrance and drive around. As long as you don't go behind a gate with the red warning sign on it, no one will say anything. I've been in places where I didn't see another car the entire time I was there and Aviation police would see me with my camera and wave as they drove by.

Now, here is my take. I like the spotting area on Golf Course Road. However, when there is a north wind, they approach over Burleson VERY close to you. However, I got heckled by the cops for spotting here. The spotting area is reasonable enough. I have seen AA and CO 757s in the morning at like 6 AM waiting for departure around 7 AM and at around 7 PM. So, you can have an opportunity to see them. Frontier is a nice, new airline flying A319s into AUS. I also saw Vanguard for the first time the other day and I like them. This was on Burleson around 5 PM. I have also seen Champion 722s and Transmeridian 722s, but they are rare. Also, when there are storms in Houston, loads of CO heavies come in. Also, what kind of camera did you buy?

 Big thumbs up


User currently offlineKAUSpilot From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1976 posts, RR: 30
Reply 2, posted (14 years 3 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 1365 times:

Thanks, for the reply ILS!

My Flying lesson today got cancelled, so I drove all around the airport trying to find the official spotters area. No Luck. Could you give me directions?

I saw the cemetery today and was thinking that would be a good spot, but I didn't really explore that area too much.

You guys are crazy if you stand on the side of burleson! The way people drive in this city, sheesh. And plus don't those 12 foot high fences get in your way a little bit? I'm not sure what kind of camera I have, but it's pretty old cannon with a zoom on it. Beyond that I dunno what to say about it, but I know my dad has used it for at least 10 years or so. Maybe if I refine my photography skills enough this site will accept one of my photos someday?!?!?! Undoubtedly I still have a lot of learning to do before my photos are up to par.

I spend a lot of time at signature, so I bet I could get some good shots on the tarmac out there, or maybe I could even take a few from the taxiways while I'm taxiing to the runway.

Yeah I saw a frontier A319 the other day, the livery on those is impressive! Thanks for the info about the times for the heavies ! ! !

User currently offlineAUS_Spotter From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 286 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (14 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 1346 times:

Official spotters area is at the end of Golf Course Road near the State Pooling board. Heading East on 71 go past the main airport entrance and take the first right...this is golf course road. Spotting area is all the way at the end on the left.

If you want to see heavies (cargo mainly) you will need to spot on the West runway (cemetary). All cargo uses the West runway since that is where the cargo area is located. On occasion a AA 757 will use the East runway. The CO 757 almost always uses the East runway for its morning departure.


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