InnocuousFox
Topic Author
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Spotting At SFO

Wed Mar 17, 2004 12:50 am

I am going to be in SJC next week, but I have a day to myself. I was gonna run up to San Fran. Last time I did this, I drove right past SFO but I didn't have time to stop. Is there a place - or a couple of places - that I could do some nice spotting/photography there? I particularly like doing runway shots but I also like doing overviews of the airport. I guess I would like to do the typical on-airport shots from a viewing platform, parking garage, etc.; perhaps some nearby the airport pics and then some from... say uphill of the airport. Any ideas?

I have some overview photos of SFO from here at A.net so if you want to reference locations on those, it would help.
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
jumbojet
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:03 am

there is some information on this website.

http://members.aol.com/planespot/144.htm

Not sure if it is still accurate though. Also, try www.planespotting.com the website is down right now but contains lots of useful info on plane spotting at all airports all over the world.


 
as739x
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:14 am

Yes Fox....exit on the south side at Millbrae Ave. Then turn right (if coming from the south) towards the hotels. Make a right on Airport Blvd. then make the first left into the Marriott parking lot. The first entrance from the west has free parking. You can view the planes from the walking path. If you walk towards the airport there is a little park. If you walk away from the aiport on the path you can walk for mile along the Bay watching the planes.

Other spot: Exit on the west side of the airport at San Bruno Ave. Take SB Ave. west and park by the Unocal 76 station. The walk up to the overpass. You can stand under the departure path of the heavy's departing to Asia, Hawaii, and some Europe.

Those are my favorite....If you have a scanner tower is 120.5 and ground is 121.8 and when busy also 126.25

ASSFO
"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
 
RareBear
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:21 am

The park that As739x mentioned offers some great views of the heavies landing on 28L and 28R, since there's nothing but water between you and the runway. If you are taking photos, you will need a medium tele lens for full-frame shots.
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InnocuousFox
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:00 am

Great! Between Mapquest and this picture, I found the park you are talking about. That will work!


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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © AirNikon



Any hillside overviews of the field?
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
Hodges
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Spotting At SFO

Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:18 am

Almost any place on the top of the hill is great for watching. It's been a few years since I've been there, but there's a walking/biking path that has a great view of the airport, though I'm not sure of the name of the park. All I remember is the view form it, a rope swing, and falling off the swing.
A relative of mine lives in San Bruno. When I stayed at his house, I woke up to 747s taking off outside of the window. It's one of the best places to live if you don't mind paying horrible prices for housing.

Regards,
Erik
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roots
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Wed Mar 17, 2004 3:03 am

I'll add more detail to what As739x already said. The park on the eastern side of runway 1's is called Bayfront Park. This is right across the street from Westin Hotel. There's also a free parking area on the Westin lot for park access... make an immediate left turn as you enter the hotel and the parking area will be on your left.

From there you have unobstructed views to runway 1's:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © I. Gunawan
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © I. Gunawan



and the eastern part of 28's:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © I. Gunawan
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © I. Gunawan



Or you can also park at Marriott Hotel just further east. There's a jogging/bike trail that runs along the bay. If you walk further east you can see rwy 28's threshold. There are some nice restaurants there with views to rwy 28's (Elephant Bar, El Torro Mexican, etc).


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © I. Gunawan



Another viewing location is the Millbrae BART/Caltrain station parking structure (also on Millbrae Avenue) directly across 101.

If you want to go up the hills, you can try the Millbrae hills on the south side of the airport. The area is residential area and you can drive around to find a good view. I've been there only once before and I can't remember the details.

Have fun!
 
timz
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Wed Mar 17, 2004 7:45 am

The parking area east of the airport is maybe 600-700? meters from runway 1R and a good 1000 meters from 28L. Maybe 1500. So you'll need long lenses.
 
as739x
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:20 am

Another though just occured to me. Try to take the bus to the car rental garage. Go to the top floor and the big boys departing 29L/28R should blow your hat off. ( well not exactly...no pun intended to the car rental) Damn close though.

ASSFO
"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
 
roots
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:13 am

I've been up to the car rental garage before, but I got harassed by those car rental employees. I kept a low profile and hid my camera in my bag, but they eventually knew what I was up to. They didn't do anything but a few of them were staring at me so I felt uncomfortable and left.

Perhaps it's OK if you're just spotting, but I was taking photos at that time (and my lens was the 70-200 f/2.8 white Canon lens).

Here's the view from up there:

 
HikesWithEyes
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:46 am

Another good spot is Junipero Serra park.
Not sure of the exact directions...but you could probably
find it on Mapquest.
It has to be a fairly clear day, but you get a good overview of
the airport. Binocs would be handy to have.
First, benzene in my Perrier, and now this!
 
InnocuousFox
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:19 am

"Another good spot is Junipero Serra park"

Interestingly enough, I recongnize the street name since my aunt/uncle-in-law live off the Stanford campus and are about 3 blocks from Junipero Serra. However, I suspect your park is much further northwest.
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
mandargb
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Mon Mar 22, 2004 2:45 pm

The hill people are mentioning is called "Coyote Pointe Park"
It is on the south of runway 28L/R. (Take Peninsula avenue exit towards the bay)
Good part about is this you can actually see the planes as taking a U turn at the end of their "downwind leg" somewhere over Dumbarton bridge. (about 15+ miles south of 28L/R).
In very clear whether you can make out how they are doing these things in pattern.
It nice to see parallel landings to 28L/R in clear weather.
 
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legacyins
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Mon Mar 22, 2004 3:22 pm

Another good area for the 28 departures is up the road at the Tanforan shopping center. It is about three miles up the road off of 380. Park up on the roof next to the Target store and you will have a view of aircraft flying over your head. Also, no one will bother you.
 
InnocuousFox
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RE: Spotting At SFO

Tue Mar 30, 2004 1:31 pm

Well, I spent about 2 1/2 hours right there on the walkway that is closest to both the 28s and the 1s. It was cloudy at first but then cleared up. Unfortunately, my digital camera only has a 10x zoom and so the quality isn't quite as nice as I would like. That was a great shot to watch, though. I had my scanner on me and was listening to tower most of the time. It is amusing to watch them do the crossing runways!

I wanted to stop up at Coyote Pointe, but we didn't have time. Thanks for all your help, people!
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!