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Spotting At LHR And CDG

Thu Sep 12, 2002 11:46 am

I am planning a trip to Europe right before Christmas, I was going to go to Brussels but was talked out of that by a few people. Instead I think I'm going go to London and Paris for the umpteenth time. I've never spotted there (come to think about it, I've never spotted outside the U.S., Canada, or the Caribbean) and I think all that I will do is spot for three days in each place. First of all, does the Renaissance at LHR provide the best views of the runway (thats what I have heard)? Also what hotel affords the best views at CDG, the Hyatt or the Hilton?

Can you guys also give some tips of where the best photos are to be had around the airport grounds and if the local constabulary cares.

I'm definatly gonna have to get a new camera though, if not, I'll just throw the Mavica in the trash and grab a disposable!  Laugh out loud

America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
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RE: Spotting At LHR And CDG

Thu Sep 12, 2002 11:51 am

Oh, also, is LGW worth a day of spotting or should I just spend all of my time at LHR. One other question; kinda off topic; can you can catch a train or the underground from LGW to LHR? I'm pretty sure I will be flying on either US or NW from the States.
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
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RE: Spotting At LHR And CDG

Thu Sep 12, 2002 4:46 pm

Jcs17 ... The Renaissance is reasonably close, people have sat on there bed taking pics from there  Smile Also, you wanna drag yourself across to the 27R approach area, it has a nice atmosphere with all the other photographers!
LGW, only went there once and it was only for a few hours due to bad weather conditions, if you contact Ben Pritchard or Paul Dopson they will tell you how to get to the car park where you can get pretty good pics as the aircraft turn onto the runway..
EGFF  Smile
All together or not at all
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RE: Spotting At LHR And CDG

Thu Sep 12, 2002 5:13 pm

As for LHR, this website is really worth a good look, scroll down on the page and click on "airport viewing points", and you'll have loads of info on where to get the best views at LHR.

Hope it's useful, it was for me!

Enjoy your time over here  Smile

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RE: Spotting At LHR And CDG

Sat Sep 14, 2002 5:12 am

LGW is worth a day there IMO.Nice mixture of charters(mainly UK),transatlantic flights,low-cost flights(EZY have many flights here)and African stuff too.Email me at donder10@yahoo.com if you have any questions.
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RE: Spotting At LHR And CDG

Sat Sep 14, 2002 5:57 pm

I have never spotted or photgraphed at LGW but it does have a wide range of aircraft, including those US carriers barred from LHR plus Eastern European and many others, including Garuda.

As for transport, no, there is no direct train from LGW to LHR. LHR is served only be Heathrow Express, which runs to Paddington station. LGW, on the other hand, is served by many trains to Brighton, Reading and London Victoria and London Bridge plus Gatwick Express to Victoria. There are direct buses between the two and those are the best bet although traffic congestion can be severe. An alternative is to take a Thameslink train to London Bridge, go onto the Jubilee Line tube to Green Park and take the Piccadilly Line from there to LHR. It's longer and possibly more costly but you will have learned to navigate the Tube as well!

Have fun.

Hop to it, fly for life!
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RE: Spotting At LHR And CDG

Sat Sep 14, 2002 8:11 pm

Hi Josh


If you want the sun behind you, try getting them landing.

If they are landing near the hangars on 27L or 27R, take a bus around the perimeter road or simply walk. They change from 27L to 27R at 3pm.

If they are landing on 09L, it is possible to take a bus saving you a long 2 mile walk.
From the central area bus station, you can take the bus H30 to BA' s Waterside building which may be the nearest official bus stop to the vantage point. If you are lucky and have a good bus driver, try and ask him to stop at the Bath Road roundabout just before the runway - its only a three minute walk from there. Even getting off at Waterside won't be too bad, especially in hot weather.
If you are just north of the airport tunnel you can take bus 81 to Longford village (eventual destination Slough) which is very near your vantage point 09L, but this bus does not go into the main central area. But the 81 may go past your hotel - check!


Not ideal when winds are from the west, but it is possible from the car park. The point for approaches on easterly winds is better but not served by public transport


I'd go for the coach. It runs very frequently (every 30 min or more) and apparently takes 75 minutes. The worst time for traffic is 4-7 pm. That's hellish!


Haven't been for a couple of years but look at www.kerozen.org for lots of useful info. Some new fences have been put up lately and so is not so good as it used to be with a photographer without a car. I suggest you e-mail kerozen and perhaps any other locals before committing yourself to a trip there.


Have you considered going somewhere else. What types/airlines are you in to? How long are you in Europe?

Dusseldorf has excellent spotting facilities and gets a different selection of airliners from LHR/CDG. It does not get too many 747/767, but gets a good selection of charter airlines and commuter types that you don't see in CDG/LHR/LGW so much. It is a busy airport and has two separate excellent viewing decks. One is attached to the Inter City station at the end of the runway/taxiway and there is a frequent bus that takes you from here to the main terminal, where the other deck is.

Zurich also has a good deck and gets a few interesting planes too. Better in the mornings, and you get good take-off shots from the viewing deck, esp. MD11, 767, A330, 747 etc.The afternoons tend to be mostly swiss/crossair. You may even get the Albanian AL or the Korean A330! I visited there last month from England and its possible to get to landing spots by bus fairly easily.

Have a good one


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RE: Spotting At LHR And CDG

Sat Sep 14, 2002 8:25 pm

For further info. join the e-mail group at the website listed by 747forever.
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RE: Spotting At LHR And CDG

Sun Sep 15, 2002 2:07 am

Thanks guys for your help, especially Ray! In response to your questions, Ray, I'll be in Europe for 6 days max. I guess since it will be my first time actually spotting and taking photos in Europe, I probably will want to go LHR or CDG first. And I cant rent a car since I am 19 (in the States at least, you have to be 21). But I think I will stay at a airport hotel, and take pics during the day, and go to the city at night. The weather around that time is pretty nasty, right? I know it gets kinda cold, but how often does it rain around Christmas in London and Paris? Thanks.
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
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RE: Spotting At LHR And CDG

Sun Sep 15, 2002 2:09 am

Oh yeah, I left one thing out, does anyone know of the bus company that does the LGW-LHR shuttle? I am planning on staying @ LHR. Traffic wont be too bad, I dont think, since my flight will get in during the morning hours.
America's chickens are coming home to rooooost!
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RE: Spotting At LHR And CDG

Sun Sep 15, 2002 2:56 am


http://www.gobycoach.com is where you can purchase tickets from LGW-LHR and LHR-LGW. I think it is about £20 rtn

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RE: Spotting At LHR And CDG

Sun Sep 15, 2002 5:25 am


Any info on 9R at Heathrow?

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RE: Spotting At LHR And CDG

Sun Sep 15, 2002 7:29 am


09R at Heathrow is mainly used for take-offs. Until recently, some BA and VIP or cargo aircraft used to use it for landings at less busy times, but ATC have severely curtailed this. Even Air Force One has to use 09L for landings now!

If you want to take photos here, it is possible to get them taxi-ing out and lining up, and there are two places.

Just south of the runway, near the end, there's a petrol station and from the stretch of road opposite you can get them on the taxiway by poking your camera through the fence. You can get them on the runway too but this is more difficult (because you're trying to pan the camera through a fence!). I suggest you go to the cargo end where the ground rises slightly, but I strongly suggest you bring along a cheap plastic stall that you can stand on that gives you an extra foot in height - there is a solid panel at eye level which you must overcome! They only cost £2 or £3 and are light and transportable. Anything taller or brightly coloured could be bad news or you'll stand out too much for the police. Good through the middle part of the day here lightwise.
You could also point your camera through the bigger holes in the crash gates to get them turning on to the runway. Problem here is that there are only two or three spaces (so its not good on a popular day) and the grass often gets a bit too long and cuts off the lower section of the aircraft's tyres. Light is best here afternoons, as you are facing east. These crash gates are in line with the end of the runway - just follow the road round.

09R is not too far from the Cargo area and you can catch the bus to here, getting off just as it leaves the airport for Stanwell, its near a petrol station. Alternatively, catch the bus to Longford. The walk is about the same.

Note that on 09L, there is a grass area by the perimeter road, but across the main road, there's also a field, which is more popular with photographers.

Any more, let me know..


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