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Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Mon Jun 19, 2000 9:35 am

Recently there seem to be a tendancy to get rid of the aviation enthusiast. There seems to be fewer and fewer places where you can stop and look at planes and take pictures of them without being moved along by the police. In Geneva Switzerland the viewing terrace was torn down and bushes were grown at the end of runaway  . In Zurich they put up higher fences  . In JFK, the moment you take out a camera a security agent comes up to you  . Why are we so hated everywhere we go?    

Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
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RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Mon Jun 19, 2000 10:06 am

People (security or police) are totally profound dumb!!!! They just don't understand (we) are love aviation and flying planes. We are nothing wrong with that!! In Ft. Lauderdale near RWY 9R. They have a special hole fence to get your camera to shot photo! Your picture will not through grin fence. The security came and told me there is a hole on the fence for your camera. He is very nice to show me. I didn't know it was there. I just don't understand why, once I was at off road near RWY 27R at Chicago O'Hare. The police car came to me and told me get out of here. No picture and leave now. I just told him. I love airlines and I don't do anything wrong with that. Police said nothing and tell me to leave now! Jerk police! Anyway.. Please obey them and leave. I don't want you put in jail!  

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RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Mon Jun 19, 2000 11:46 am


Anyone who has ever been to YYZ and tried to find a good place to spot, knows that the best place is at teh top of Terminal 1. Well in a few years this amazing spot will be demolished and replaced with a new terminal, leaving almost no where for people who like to take pictures and watch airplanes to go. Other then T1 there are maybe 2 or three other spots near runways that people can legally go. This interesting story popped up on the CBC website last week and I think that it applies to this topic.....please look up the URL below.....


NOW is the time for anyone who is the least bit concerned about this issue to get busy and start phoning and writing your local MP and to the GTAA. It is a disgrace that there is no provision being made in the "new" terminal for a proper observation area for the general public. Many airports in Europe have this kind of facility and make money off of it as well. The GTAA is known for its ability to milk every cent they can out of concessions inside the terminal, so there is no logical reason why they would not want to do the same thing on a rooftop observation area as well. Please mention also in your letters that parking areas adjacent to the end of runways would also be required for aviation photographers and spotters.

Every phone call and letter will help to bring this issue to the forefront. Now is the time to act!

Visit the GTAA website at http://www.gtaa.com
"Clive Beddoe says he favours competition, but his actions do not support that idea." Robert Milton - CEO Air Canada
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RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Tue Jun 20, 2000 2:45 am

Good idea Slawko !

Jeremiah Teahan
Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
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RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Tue Jun 20, 2000 5:22 am

I think in Zurich you are very welcome. There is a great visitors deck, a very good view from the parking house B and many very good places around the airport near the runways. It is true that there is a new fence, not against the spotters but of security reasons as I was told from a police officer. The old fence had many holes and was one of the worst of all major airports. They made holes now into the fence only for the photographers on the Ruemlang side, at the crossing of the r/w 16 and 28.
By the way there is good hill at the begining of r/w 16, where you can look over the fence. At the moment it is very exciting out there because ALL aircrafts take of on r/w 16 (till the end of august) because r/w 28 is closed due construction work.
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RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Tue Jun 20, 2000 5:35 am

In Montreal-dorval (YUL), we have our favorite spotting place, it is right at the end of the runway.

One time, we were spotting there when all of the sudden, a police car came up to us. We all thought he was going to ask us to leave (it did say "NO TRESPASING"), but instead, he asked us when the mext 747 was coming, I memorised to time for every airline and remembered that the Air France and the Royal Air Maroc would both come within the next 10 minutes. I told the policeman that, and he just stayed with us until both 747s came.

It's wierd, at Montreal-Dorval Airport (YUL), security doesn't do anything, but at Montreal's other and smaller airport, Mirabel (YMX), you will be told to get away. One guy even got arrested for taking pictures at Montreal-Mirabel Airport!

RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Tue Jun 20, 2000 5:49 am

I have to agree with Noise. At Dorval security and police are very permisive and comprenhensive toward our hobby.
Once standing near 06R/24L at the end of the 55th Ave. at Lachine an airport security car stopped by behind the fence where i was taking pictures and a lady (very very cute!!) started talking to me a few minutes. It was great !!

Nicolas Bourbillon
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I Have The Partial Answer To All Of This

Tue Jun 20, 2000 6:00 am

The Airlines have Partly something to do with this. they are afraid we will edit the pictures and post them crashing to where people will not want to fly the Airline anymore. It is a Stupid reason, but It happened. Like say we took a picture of a Valujet plane. If one of us was a computer genius, we could take that, Paint it in Airtran colors. Paint a Nasty Background and Post it. so they have notified Airports to stop it. ETC.

Does this help.  
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RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Tue Jun 20, 2000 6:02 am

I agree! No place to spot at ORD and there are 'no standing' signs everywhere!              

Aaron G.
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RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Tue Jun 20, 2000 6:21 am

I don't understand this, as you, Trvlr, tell about ORD. ZRH is very spotter friendly. You may take pictures from anywhere you want to. At some places near the fence at the end of the runways there are little take-out shops where you can buy sandwiches and drinks. On sundays there are often dozens of people who watch the aircrafts landing or taking-off. Nobody chases them away or forbid to take pictures.
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RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Tue Jun 20, 2000 6:29 am

I have been to ORD many times and although there are places to adequately view sections of the airport, there is no one GOOD place to view more than 40% of the airport that is OK with the airport authorities. I was not supposed to be at a few of the places where I was watching planes at ORD!...I thought ZRH was real spotter-friendly because of the stuff I have heard and articles I have read. I may go there next summer and then I can see for myself.

Aaron G.
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To Trvlr

Tue Jun 20, 2000 6:34 am

If you really come to Zurich, tell me. I can show you the best places.
My e-mail: phsauter@dplanet.ch
Kind regards
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RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Tue Jun 20, 2000 6:41 am

Zagreb Airport (Croatia) is one of the spotter friendly apts (although it seems that I am the only regular spotter),
there is a viewing terrace with nice view of apron,
and also you can get close to runway thruogh the
fields (best with a bicycle), on one side of runway there
is even a road across the whole lenght of it,
there is a fence , but on some places it is low enough to
take pictures. Security people are friendly and don't make
problems. Yeah, there is a sign with NO PHOTOS in
Croatian, English, French and Russian but it is
located with printed part facing a bush at less than 1m so it is clearly
visible that it is a leftover from times when Yugoslav Air force was based there.
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward...
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Tue Jun 20, 2000 8:01 am

I can see why they would think that but I dont bye it, usually Joe Photographer just wants to take pictures at airplanes-not undergo a project with it, and the spotting areas at most airports are in the worst part if anything and rarely does an airplane go by that spot and much more rare does a big jet go by it, I remember that when I landed in Zurich last summer, i felt famous because the spotting deck on to of the terminal was packed and we were greated by several camera flashes, but Zurich is really the only spotter friendly airport, at most airports you can only see the airplanes through the terminal windows, and there is always something wrong with the light and us spotters feel trapped like there is nowhere to spot!
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
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RE: Continental767

Tue Jun 20, 2000 2:24 pm

Unfortunately, U.S. airports (especially the larger ones) are becoming more and more patroled. I used to frequent airports like ORD, DTW, JFK, etc... and no longer do so because of unpleasant encounters with the "airport gestapo". This topic truly makes me SICK, because 10-20 years ago, the majority of these airports were places you could take the family out for a picnic and watch planes without being harassed.

The majority of my spotting now goes on at smaller, less frequented airports like DSM, OMA, and MCI. Even with this group of airports, the only one that is spotter friendly is DSM.

I just wish something could be done, because if we are standing off of a PUBLIC road watching planes, we are not breaking any law that I have ever heard of. As long as we are not on airport property, we should be able to enjoy our hobby in peace.

Just my two cents.

Aric Thalman
To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home
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RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Tue Jun 20, 2000 2:40 pm

The key to this is to politely question the security/police officer that asks you to move on. I have been harassed at ORD twice myself, but everytime I asked them to justify asking me to move along, they have been unable to provide a proper reason and just left me alone.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
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RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Tue Jun 20, 2000 7:08 pm

Unfortunately our hobby of aircraft spotting can still be misunderstood by many people. Often security people don't understand that all we want to do is peacefully watch and/or photograph/log registration numbers and can be over-zealous in carrying out their security duties.I've only been 'stopped' twice by airport security police,ironically both times (Sofia and Dubai) occurred away from the airport terminals on the approach roads which (in theory) are public roads and nothing to do with the airport.There are still numerous airports that provide spotting areas (OK some may not be entirely ideal) but provided you are not blocking any emergency exits I do not see why you should be moved on by security especially if you are on public property.We are hardly going to produce a SAM/RPG from the boot/trunk of our car and fire something at an aircraft as these missiles need a certain amount of time and distance to acquire their target and a terrorist would hardly carry out this type of attack with loads of spotters nearby (in some respect we are 'helping' the security people).
Some airports are to be applauded for their approach to our hobby such as Zurich,Frankfurt,Gatwick,Dulles,Las Vegas,LAX,
Birmingham(UK),Manchester (UK),Minneapolis,San Francisco to name but a few who provide areas for us and whilst you are in these areas both our hobby and security's job is easier to do,surely the best for both 'us and them'.
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RE: Plane Watchers With Nowhere To Stand

Tue Jun 20, 2000 8:34 pm

Why is it so difficult for some people to understand that we love to see aircraft???

What do airport authorities prefer? People who peacefully watch and photograph aircraft or those idiots who are always complaining about aviation? A few years ago environmentalists where protesting for a kerosine tax, right in the departure hall of Brussels airport. The authorities did not do anything about it. Take a picture of an aircraft and they know where to find you!

About two years ago, I went to the airport of Liege with a friend of mine who's also interested in aviation. We arrived at the airport at about 11 p.m. (most aircraft arrive between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.) and to our surprise there was a 747 (cargo) on the apron. We decided that we would not leave until we saw the 747 taking off. At 4.30 a.m. the cargo doors finally closed and we drove to the end of the runway. The fully loaded aircraft needed the entire runway length and it was just awesome to see and hear this aircraft taking off. So the aircraft was climbing and we headed back to the car. Guess who was waiting for us? Yes indeed, airport security officers. They did not asked any questions, they just told us to leave ASAP. Okay, it may look strange to some people when two boys are standing there at that time but we did not do anything wrong and still they followed us all the way (the airport terminal is located at the other end of the runway).

A mechanic working for TNT at Liege once told me that these guys have such a boring job that they need something to kill the time. So they can't think of anything better to do than chasing people who love to see aircraft.


RE: Continental767

Wed Jun 21, 2000 12:18 am

Aircraft photos are already widely available and have been for quite some time. In fact, most airlines make photos of their fleet publicly available on their Web sites, magazines, and other publications. I highly doubt that the airlines had any say in this, as they know that the problem that you mentioned is totally beyond their control or the control of any airport authority. Anyone who really wants to can alter a photo of an aircraft. Damaging the airline's reputation using the photo would be virtually impossible.

Security personnel are trained to observe and become suspicious of any activity that deviates from normal activity. At an airport, most people are hurrying to board a flight, waiting for their luggage, etc. When someone is standing out by a fence with a camera, they really stand out from the rest of the crowd and will attract security's attention. Even though the vast majority of people who stand out are perfectly harmless, they must investigate anyway just to be safe. The more paranoid, over-stressed, or incompetent security personnel will tell innocent bystanders to go "blend in with the rest of the crowd" even if they are fairly certain that they do not intend to do harm.

It's unfortunate that we, as aviation enthusiasts, have fallen victim to this. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot that we can do either. Upon being approached by a security officer, politely explain your hobby. If they continue to insist that you must leave, listen to what they say.

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