Cubsrule
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Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 02, 2006 11:47 am

On a recent trip to MSP, I discovered the observation deck above Concourse D. It's nice and quiet, and the views of the ramp as well as 12L-30R are pretty darn good. Do other airports in this country boast similar facilities? Despite being a frequent NW flier, I had no idea it was there.


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jacobin777
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 02, 2006 11:51 am

Quoting Cubsrule (Thread starter):
On a recent trip to MSP, I discovered the observation deck above Concourse D. It's nice and quiet, and the views of the ramp as well as 12L-30R are pretty darn good. Do other airports in this country boast similar facilities? Despite being a frequent NW flier, I had no idea it was there.

SJC has one in Terminal C


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jsposaune
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 02, 2006 12:08 pm

There's one at ABQ, right in the middle of the terminal. Pretty nice, from what I remember. (Its been 5 or 6 years)
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airwave
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 02, 2006 12:44 pm

In the upper level of the main terminal at ABE, there's both a terrace room and a cocktail lounge that (used to, at least) have views of the tarmac and the departure building. And they're both before security.

Of course, you'll be lucky to see much of anything--ABE isn't known for a high level of ramp activity, lol, but I figured I'd at least note it, haha.

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hawaiian717
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 02, 2006 12:52 pm

Quoting Jsposaune (Reply 2):
There's one at ABQ, right in the middle of the terminal. Pretty nice, from what I remember. (Its been 5 or 6 years)

Yes. It's past the security checkpoint, so you'll need a ticket to get there. It's right where the A and B concourses meet, above the food court; stairs to access it are on both sides.

From what I understand it was designed for the pre-9/11 era when family meeting arriving passengers could go to the gate, this gave them somewhere else to sit, enjoy the view, and maybe buy some food and drinks.

A photo I took of it last year:

http://www.spotterswiki.com/index.php?title=Image:Abqobs-inside.jpg
 
hawaiian717
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 02, 2006 1:00 pm

Monterey Peninsula Airport in Monterey, CA (MRY) also has an observation deck. It's outside, on top of the baggage claim area. There is a glass partition between you and the ramp, you can either shoot through it or settle for departure shots; most aircraft will be in the air by the time they reach the terminal building if they depart on runway 28L.

The left photo was shot on climb out, the right through the glass:


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MyAviation.net photo:
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comairguycvg
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 02, 2006 3:49 pm

Tri-City, TN (KTRI) has one Smile
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MKEdude
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 02, 2006 4:19 pm

MHT has one, upstairs right before security.

Both BTV and LGB have excellent views from the bar.
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FutureFO
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 02, 2006 10:04 pm

They were doing construcyion on the area around the one at TRI. Unfortuantely the Obs deck is a rare item at airports in the US.



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rdu777
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 02, 2006 11:15 pm

There are two observation decks at RDU. The first on is outdoors looking towards rwy 23R/5L and is great for morning photos. The second deck is located on the second level of the new general aviation terminal and overlooks the Gen. Aviation flightline and rwy 23L/5R. This deck is great for afternoon photos. Both are wonderful in my opinion.

[Edited 2006-05-02 16:17:43]
 
N864DA
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 02, 2006 11:23 pm

HPN has an observation deck right above the terminal. It faces the main runway, 16/34 and the view is excellent though it is not always open. Another good airport with an observation deck above the terminal is ALB. That one is fully enclosed but the windows are very clean. The area itself is spacious and has benches. Takeoff shots from 1/19 are possible.

N864DA
 
f16arm
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 12:56 am

Cvg also has one in con. B, one side overlooking the ramp and con. A and the south side overlooking 27/9, the app. end of 36R/C, the FBO, tower, and comair maint.
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Mir
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 1:13 am

Quoting N864DA (Reply 10):
HPN has an observation deck right above the terminal. It faces the main runway, 16/34 and the view is excellent though it is not always open

Some photos from said observation deck:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v438/miyridian/101_0192.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v438/miyridian/101_0190.jpg

It does have a wire fence though, difficult to shoot through (I have a smaller camera so the lens was able to fit through the holes).

GRR has an enclosed observation deck, but traffic is very sparse. That's about all I can think of that hasn't already been mentioned.

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Cubsrule
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 1:18 am

Quoting F16arm (Reply 11):
Cvg also has one in con. B, one side overlooking the ramp and con. A and the south side overlooking 27/9, the app. end of 36R/C, the FBO, tower, and comair maint.

Where exactly are those? CVG is another airport I frequent (at least unless the DL hub disappears).
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nateDAL
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 1:26 am

The parking garages at IAH double as observation decks.
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HPRamper
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 1:38 am

Quoting Hawaiian717 (Reply 4):
Yes. It's past the security checkpoint, so you'll need a ticket to get there. It's right where the A and B concourses meet, above the food court; stairs to access it are on both sides.

And elevator access as well. ABQ is great for spotting, better than most would expect. Plenty of USAF activity, F-16s several times a day as well as big military heavies occasionally.

Quoting ComairGuyCVG (Reply 6):
Tri-City, TN (KTRI) has one

To watch those Saabs, Dashes and the infrequent RJ ...one of the few decks I've actually been on.
 
DLKAPA
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 2:12 am

ABQ also has two outdoor areas, one northwest of 3/21 overlooking the touchdown zone on 3, the other directly east of the touchdown zone of runway 17, facing that runway and the north side of the eastern concourse...which ever one that is.

And don't forget LAS, they're very spotter-friendly as well.
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cxb744
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 2:25 am

The top of the terminal 4 parking garage at PHX is great for viewing both the north & south complexes, especially in the afternoon.

PS - I wish they would reopen the observation deck on top of the Encounter restaurant at LAX. Far chance.
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CVG72
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 2:29 am

The Udvar-Hazy center at IAD has one. It's not too bad, except for there wasn't a lot of traffic when I was there.

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jetpixx
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 3:44 am

CLE used to have a great observation deck. When the airport first opened, one could traverse the entire roof of Concourse B. Later in the 70s and 80s, the deck was confined to the end of the concourse above where the Southwest gates are now. Currently, the outdoor area has been closed, although there is a small glass-enclosed room where you can get a few looks of the field, but since 9/11 it has not been the same unfortunately.

PDX does not have an observation deck, but it is nearly the same on top of the parking garages.

I have also visited the MHT deck as mentioned above - and that is a very enjoyable area. You can go there without having to pass through security, which is very nice.
 
cptspeaking
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 3:51 am

Quoting Rdu777 (Reply 9):
There are two observation decks at RDU. The first on is outdoors looking towards rwy 23R/5L and is great for morning photos. The second deck is located on the second level of the new general aviation terminal and overlooks the Gen. Aviation flightline and rwy 23L/5R. This deck is great for afternoon photos. Both are wonderful in my opinion.

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Fly2HMO
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 3:53 am

Quoting NateDAL (Reply 14):
The parking garages at IAH double as observation decks.

Same for MEX on the north garage and for PHX, although I've been told to put the camera away by f***ing rent-a-cops at both airports for taking pictures from the garage...  Yeah sure
 
HPRamper
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 4:46 am

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 21):
although I've been told to put the camera away by f***ing rent-a-cops at both airports for taking pictures from the garage...

That's because only terrorists take pictures of planes at an airport  redflag 

Quite lame.
 
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tjwgrr
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 5:46 am

A few photos taken from our viewing area at GRR:


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Photo © Steve Kempf - Jetwash Images
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Photo © Doug Owens
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One I took:

Direct KNOBS, maintain 2700' until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 26 left approach.
 
cgnnrw
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 5:54 am

Quoting Airwave (Reply 3):
In the upper level of the main terminal at ABE, there's both a terrace room and a cocktail lounge that (used to, at least) have views of the tarmac and the departure building. And they're both before security.

Of course, you'll be lucky to see much of anything--ABE isn't known for a high level of ramp activity, lol, but I figured I'd at least note it, haha.

MDT also has a small corner with windows set aside as an observation deck. Yes, on a busy day you count the endless RJs, Turbos coming and going. If you're really lucky you'll spot one of the 2 daily Air Ontario DHs from Toronto giving MDT that "international" flair.
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DCA-ROCguy
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 6:14 am

ROC's concession atrium has great views of 10/28 activity and the ramp between the concourses. This area used to be open to the public, but since the consolidated central security checkpoint was opened in February 2005, it is now available to only ticketed passengers.

Fortunately, the airport graciously moved the airport management offices and opened a new viewing atrium on the west end of the landside area by ticketing. It has great views of runway 22 action and the cargo area. I for one really appreciated this step, because they didn't have to do it.

N864DA--I agree, the ALB observation deck is great; every airport should have one like it. You can see practically the entire airfield from up there. An airport official told me that its existence is accidental, though. It was designed to be the location of a big sit-down restaurant.

But after it was designed, and I think even before 9/11 (since the terminal opened in 1998) a restaurant was determined to be untenable since people want to get through security before concerning themselves with food. So it was turned into the observation deck and art gallery.

Too bad the outdoor part of CLE's B concourse observation area isn't open anymore. I used to love to go out there and take in the action on my visits there.

Jim

[Edited 2006-05-02 23:17:48]
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DCA-ROCguy
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 6:26 am

Speaking of ROC....anyone remember the restaurant in the atrium area of the old terminal? The floor was elevated three feet or so. Thus, even though the terminal was at ground level, you could see clearly onto the apron through the high windows. My parents used to take me there for dinner as a kid. I saw lots of American and Allegheny planes through those windows.

Unfortunately the outdoor observation area on top of the old AA concourse closed when I was a baby and I never got to enjoy it.

Jim
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Danairbus
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 6:31 am

BWI also has an observation deck behind the delta ticket counter.
 
aa61hvy
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 2:01 pm

DFW has an area, but not a deck per se. It's an area off the airport at the intersection of taxiway echo romeo, right near 35/17C. Awesome place. The planes taxi right by you.
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N766UA
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 2:03 pm

Quoting F16arm (Reply 11):
Cvg also has one in con. B, one side overlooking the ramp and con. A and the south side overlooking 27/9, the app. end of 36R/C, the FBO, tower, and comair maint.

I've been to CVG a dozen times in the past 2 months and haven't seen any designated observation decks.
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deltagator
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 2:15 pm

Quoting Rdu777 (Reply 9):
There are two observation decks at RDU. The first on is outdoors looking towards rwy 23R/5L and is great for morning photos. The second deck is located on the second level of the new general aviation terminal and overlooks the Gen. Aviation flightline and rwy 23L/5R.

How do you get to these spots?
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comairguycvg
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 3:08 pm

Quoting F16arm (Reply 11):

Cvg also has one in con. B, one side overlooking the ramp and con. A and the south side overlooking 27/9, the app. end of 36R/C, the FBO, tower, and comair maint.

I think what he means is a window viewing area that's inside the airport and not outside. I take my lunch break about once a week in the B concourse and like to sit by the windows and watch flight ops while I eat.
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HPRamper
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 10:13 pm

Quoting Jetpixx (Reply 19):
PDX does not have an observation deck, but it is nearly the same on top of the parking garages.

Some of the best places for spotting at PDX aren't on airport property. 82nd Avenue runs directly past the end of 10R-28L, this is the runway the widebodies and military aircraft use in addition to the normal stuff...it's a good place to be when the FX MD-10s and 11s take off and land. I've seen them pass over the road at no more than 150 feet.

The Sextant on Marine Drive is also neat, it's not quite as close but it is situated between the approaches to both runways, so aircraft are going by on either side of you while you're out on the deck sipping a cold one  Smile
 
SBN580
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 03, 2006 10:54 pm

SBN (South Bend, IN) has one, but it is not open air. It is a nice glass enclosed lounge with seating and piped in tower audio. There is also a photo gallery of South Bend aviation history there.
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Cubsrule
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Thu May 04, 2006 1:49 am

Quoting ComairGuyCVG (Reply 31):

I think what he means is a window viewing area that's inside the airport and not outside.

Yes... at MSP, it's just a glass box on top of Concourse D. Nothing fancy except the great views.
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717-200
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Thu May 04, 2006 2:07 am

Here at SEA there isn't realy an observation deck but the Pacific Marketplace
(post security) is a good place to watch the coming and goings of both of
SEA's parallel 16R-34L and 16L-34R runways, and it overlooks QX's hub
ramp ops. A great place for fans of the Dash-8. A really cool idea would
be to put an observation deck on top of the Airport Administration Buliding
that sits atop of the A-Gates. It would have great views of not only the B
and S-Gates ramps but Mt Rainier, Puget Sound, and Downtown Seattle. It
could be like the spotters deck at LGW.
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anair80
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Thu May 04, 2006 2:08 am

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 30):
How do you get to these spots?

Here is the website: Crosswinds Cafe this one is by RWY 5R/23L, and the other one is by the main RWY, 5L/23R RDU Observation Park
 
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United787
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Thu May 04, 2006 2:12 am

Quoting Tjwgrr (Reply 23):
One I took:

What a great looking plane and livery, the only thing I like about NW is their livery, it is the best, by far. And the 330 is awesome looking, I hope the 787 looks that good when it is built.

I am surprised that an A330 would service Grand Rapids, is that normal?


Did ORD used to have an observation deck between T2 and T3?
 
Cubsrule
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Thu May 04, 2006 2:16 am

Quoting United787 (Reply 37):

I am surprised that an A330 would service Grand Rapids, is that normal?

DTW diversion, no doubt.
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fxramper
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Thu May 04, 2006 2:18 am

Quoting AA61Hvy (Reply 28):
DFW has an area, but not a deck per se. It's an area off the airport at the intersection of taxiway echo romeo, right near 35/17C. Awesome place. The planes taxi right by you.

What about Skylink?  Smile

I mean, your getting about 80% AA traffic, but I always get great shots riding around on that thing!  bouncy 
 
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tjwgrr
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Thu May 04, 2006 2:29 am

Quoting United787 (Reply 37):
I am surprised that an A330 would service Grand Rapids, is that normal?

Although we do get the occasional NWA A330 diversion, that particular photo wasn't a diversion, but rather it was a training flight when NWA was first taking deliveries of the A333. Crews were shooting practice approaches, touch and go's, and full stop landings. Was pretty awesome.
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Smalbany
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Sat May 06, 2006 3:50 am

Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 25):
But after it was designed, and I think even before 9/11 (since the terminal opened in 1998) a restaurant was determined to be untenable since people want to get through security before concerning themselves with food. So it was turned into the observation deck and art gallery.

I'm quite happy they did that! (I may go there tonight actually ... )

Another thing to mention is that they pipe in the ATC frequencies over the PA system in the observation area at ALB. I really think that's a nice touch. It's lost on most of the folks hanging out waiting for a flight - but I sure like it.
 
Smalbany
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 09, 2006 9:53 pm

Well, here's an update:

I did go to ALB on Friday. I marched in from the parking garage and went to go up the stairs to the Observation Deck ... they had the whole thing sheet rocked over. No Stairs! They also had a sign next to the elevator saying that the observation deck was closed Sad

I went back to the parking garage and pouted while I took photos from there.

I saw an article in the paper today that said that the stairs and the observation deck will be closed while they expand the security area and make some other improvements to the terminal. The observation area should reopen when the construction is completed. Here's a link to the article:

http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=479811

In case anyone cares or was planning on going to the observation deck at ALB

Dan
 
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United_fan
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Tue May 09, 2006 10:57 pm

Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 26):

Yes,Jim. I remember that place. My parents used to take us there to watch planes in the 70's and 80's . Remember the heat-runs that ths kids stood on? I have a pic of my grandparents walking out to an AA 727-100 in a snowstorm. Remember the TV chairs??
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DCA-ROCguy
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 10, 2006 12:03 am

SmAlbany: Thanks for the link! I'm glad to read that they're expanding the balcony. I thought when I was last there in October 2004, they needed more meet and greet space. Glad the closure of the observation deck is only temporary. Also, a parking-marker system in the garage will be a good addition. I found the one in BWI's daily garage very helpful.

Take a look at the ALB page at the Old and Abandoned Airport Terminals website:

http://oldterminals.topcities.com/albany.html

Contributions of material are welcome!

Scott: Yes, I remember the TV chairs, and the heat runs! When I was little I needed to be on top of the heat run to see over the yew bushes planted outside. My grandma used to take the early-morning AA 707 to fly ROC-CLE-LAX to see our relatives in LA. We used to watch her board, and then I'd still get home in time to get the bus to school.

Jim

PS--Scott, you may want to consider scanning that or any pics of old ROC you might have for the ROC page at the old terminals site. The page can always use additional material!  Smile

[Edited 2006-05-09 17:06:49]
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Smalbany
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 10, 2006 12:35 am

Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 44):
Take a look at the ALB page at the Old and Abandoned Airport Terminals website:

That's a great site. Brings back memories for sure. I moved to the Albany area in 1973 and I remember them building the 1979 addition.

They used to have one of those great outdoor observation decks on top of the 1962 terminal (much in the same location as the indoor deck in the new terminal)

Unfortunately, I don't have any good pictures to share. Any pictures that I have of the old terminal was taken as a child and is long gone.

Thanks for sharing.
 
SLUAviator
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 10, 2006 12:38 am

Quoting United787 (Reply 37):
Did ORD used to have an observation deck between T2 and T3?

ORD does have an observation deck at the base of the T2 ramp tower. Sadly, to get there you need to have a badge and know which is the right door as it is no longer open to the public. I was up there about 7-8 months ago when I still worked in T2. An RJ captain and me visited the ramp tower and we walked past the observation deck on our way upstairs. There were still benches inside and quarter operated telescopes outside. I wonder if there was money still inside!

I can't even remember how long it has been closed. Must be 15 years or more because I remember going there as a kid. I want to say it closed when the new UA terminals opened. There was no view of the runways after that, just the UA ramp. Don't quote me on that though, that is pure speculation!
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nwa757boy
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RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 10, 2006 12:48 am

RSW has a viewing area inside the airport, not an observation deck per se. It's before secruity and you can get views from all the concourses except the left side of concourse A where AA, B6, and I think F9, park. But you can also see aircraft take off and land on the runway from the viewing area. It's quite nice Smile
 
visakow
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 9:20 am

RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 10, 2006 8:42 am

Haven't gotten around to alot of airports mentioned in thread but do know that Portland, OR, TPA & SMF all have decent views from parking structure. Portland also has some spots off river road between the field and Columbia river.

SRQ used to have a great open air deck before their present terminal complex was constructed. Only time I've seen the old 732's & dc9's push back without the use of a tug. Was hell on the ears physically but such sweet music at the same time.
 
bushpilot
Posts: 1674
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:37 am

RE: Observation Decks In The U.S.?

Wed May 10, 2006 9:06 am

ANC has ] one although not a great one in the new C terminal, a tribute to Ted Stevens ego, does overlook the AS ramp, and the 18-36 rnwy, and the western end of 9-27 L&R

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