Topic Author
Posts: 1315
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2002 5:59 am

Updates On BOS / FLL / MCO / ORD

Tue Apr 29, 2003 1:58 am

Hello all... I have just returned from a trip to the USA and can confirm the situation on the following airports.

Boston Airside : Spotted from the AA pier for about 1 hr 30 mins without problem. I think i got lucky though as when i was boarding my flight i saw a group of 4 TSA officers heading down the end of the pier to where i had been. Looks like i just missed them. Seems that as i had my wife and kids with me they maybe thought i was not so much of a threat.

Fort Lauderdale (Hybiscus Car park) : Spotted for a whole day 08.00 - 18.00 without any problems. The top level has an official aircraft viewing area and the Broward Sheriffs & TSA do patrol the area on a regular basis. TSA did stop and watched me for about 30 min to check on what i was doing but did not approach me. 4 Sheriff patrols also drove by and looked at me, but just carried on. One word of warning. I would not bother trying to spot from anywhere else apart from the car park. Security is very high with many stop and searche + patrols all over the airport. Unless you are in an Official viewing place you WILL be moved on !!!

Fort Lauderdale (Airside) : Started spotting with my kids with me and within 5 mins i had a nice lady from AA asking what i was doing. It seemed that within that time 3 passengers had reported me !!!!! I told her i was a spotter from the UK and she was very polite and asked for my boarding pass to confirm i was on a flight. After i had shown her this she went on her way to tell the passengers who i was. Depending on what side of the fence you sit these people are either great citizens doing a job helping security. Or a complete bunch of paranoid idiots who need to have a good look at how a terrorist and a plane spotter work. Do they realy think that a terrorist would stand their in broad daylight (with his family) in full view before he would attack... Anyhow i can see both sides of the story and as she let me carry on i was not going to make a big thing about it. One thing that did make me laugh was an American chap who came over to me after this happened. He said we was very sorry at what he had just seen. And it was the most ridiculous thing he had ever seen. In his words "Jesus some people are just going over the top. I do hope this did not spoil your holiday,were not all paranoid." So the story is spotting seems to be allowed,but be prepaired to get hassle.

Orlando (MCO) : Now this was fun. I got to the airport at 07.15 to get my "Special plane spotting documents" at the info desk. I then found out the only place i could get these was the main Orlando airport Authority office in the central terminal. I went over to this office to then find it did not open until 08.00. After a 40 minite wait i went inside and waited for a nice man to come down. He told me to fill in a form (which i did) and then on his return again i had to give him my passport. All this took another 30 mins. He did stress that if i had called the day before that all of the paper work would have been ready. All a bit of a fuss for a bit of plane spotting,but soon to be worth its weight in gold. I at last got to the 9th floor of the central car park at 08.45. As other people have said the view is no good at all if you wish to take pictures. Thats unless you have a lens the size of a tree trunk. OK for spotting though, so i was happy. Within 30 mins a TSA cop came up to me with a "what the hell do you think your doing" look about him. I handed him my nice piece of paper (which he looked at about 5 times,with a rather puzzled look) and then said thank you and went on his way. That moment was priceless, Spotter 1 , TSA 0 !!!!!! Then after another 2 hours i noticed a women with a pass watching me. Here we go again i thought , and i was right. In about 5 mins an Orlando Police officer was with the woman and heading my way. The woman had a right old "Im a sheriff bit" about here. The cop come up to me. Before he could talk i asked him if he wanted to see my permit. Sure he said , and i again passed him the document. "Fine sir have a good day" came the reply. You should have seen the womens face, it was a picture, and well worth the 45 mins sorting out the document. Even as i walked away i could still hear her moaning with the cop just saying "hes got a permit". Classic !!!!!! Spotter 2 - Cops and Joe public 0. So the story for spotting is get a pass otherwise you won't stand a chace !!!

Chicago (Airside) : Spotted without problem on the AA pier for 2 hours without problem....

All in all a very good trip with over 700 aircraft logged. Hope this helps anyone who may be thinking of a visit to the USA.

Canon 1D Mk III,Canon 20D+17-40 L f4.0,70-200 L IS USM f2.8,400 L USM f5.6,135 mm L f2.0, 50 mm f1.8,1.4 x II extender
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Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2003 2:09 am

RE: Updates On BOS / FLL / MCO / ORD

Tue Apr 29, 2003 2:08 am

Classic story!!!!! AWESOME!!!!! Spotters-2 Cops and Joe Public-0. Hahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gald you had an enjoyable stay and some quality spotting time. It is a shame it has become so difficult to enjoy our pastime.

Posts: 1978
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2001 2:12 pm

RE: Updates On BOS / FLL / MCO / ORD

Tue Apr 29, 2003 2:33 am

"Do they realy think that a terrorist would stand their in broad daylight (with his family) in full view before he would attack..."

Interesting comment...and the answer is YES. Joe/Achmed/Raul/Sean/whoever the terrorist is going to make himself invisible. If that means dragging around a family and posing as a spotter he will do it. How many people gave a second thought to young men coming from another country taking flight lessons a second thought? (Until AFTER 9-11 when suddenly EVERYONE and his brother said, "well that behavior sure was suspicious!! Uh huh.)

Notice too that it was easy to satisfy the police in the story above. It is the untrained people that create 99% of the hassles for spotters. The cop should check things out and when he finds things satisfactory, move on. As opposed to the women who had called the cop and continued sputtering....

Just food for thougt. Tony
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RE: Updates On BOS / FLL / MCO / ORD

Tue Apr 29, 2003 3:24 am

A terrorist would probably want to not draw attention to themselves while at the airport so "acting" as a spotter would be really stupid don't you think?

Topic Author
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RE: Updates On BOS / FLL / MCO / ORD

Tue Apr 29, 2003 6:56 am

Michael. That was 100% my point. A terrorist is not going to stand in the middle of a packed pier with a pair of binoculars and a note book,while his kids also check out the planes. He will try to blend in and look like a normal man/woman, not a spotter. My attitude has always been that if you try to act sneeky then you look 100% worse. If you just do what you want to do then hopefully 99% of people can see what your up to. And that 1% will maybe ask someone to check you out (as happened in MCO & FLL).

Also you would have to be a pretty dumb terrorist to try the spotter routine. Which will almost certainly mean that you will stand out like a sore thumb , rather than blending in !!!!!

With regards to Tony. Both cops were very fair if not a little put out that i was in the right to be there. And 100% agree that Joe public is often a far bigger pain in the butt than the cops who are just trying to do their job.

One thing i did notice was the difference in the public at FLL and ORD. At FLL 99% of the passengers were American,and they just had never heard of or did'nt understand plane spotting.Therefor 3 reports in 5 min. Then in ORD i was surrounded by British (waiting for the LHR flight) and did not have one funny look. Most Brits are used to plane spotting as they have been there all their lives,therefor no problem. Maybe its a case of the hobby just not getting enough PR in the USA ????


[Edited 2003-04-29 00:06:59]
Canon 1D Mk III,Canon 20D+17-40 L f4.0,70-200 L IS USM f2.8,400 L USM f5.6,135 mm L f2.0, 50 mm f1.8,1.4 x II extender
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Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2001 7:42 am

RE: Updates On BOS / FLL / MCO / ORD

Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:53 pm

Simon! Welcome back, unfortuinately ive been home a while now  Sad wish id stayed longer in ORD! I have the same to report as you, No problems at BOS or ORD, ORD was amazing on the piers. BUT, outside ORD behind the perimiter fences is a different story! Stopped on our second day. But we was allowed to stay. And then on our last day we were boxed in by 3 cop cars lol. But they also let us stay. Was hillarious to see 2 cop cars go to the Kebab house over the road once they had gone and another to a Dinky Donuts.

Didnt get too much photography/spotting done in BOS as me and Dan spent most our time in the 1st Class Admirals Lounge :P. Although we wasnt as lucky on the way home!

Me In AA 1st Class LHR-BOS.

The Meal On BOS-ORD, Id Give This 11/10

Most Impressive Sight Ive Seen Big grin

Yours Sincerely,
Jason Nicholls
Jason Nicholls - v1images
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RE: Updates On BOS / FLL / MCO / ORD

Wed Apr 30, 2003 12:13 am

Seems that I was very lucky  Smile Not US citizen shooting around KBUF, KROC, KPIT and not stoped or questioned by anyone.

Few Police cars passed me but without very much interest in my activity. Maybe it because they were looking at my wife walking around rather than me  Big thumbs up
Topic Author
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RE: Updates On BOS / FLL / MCO / ORD

Wed Apr 30, 2003 1:19 am

Hi Jason. It was good to meet you onboard the AA109. It seems that you had a good trip , and like me you had a few problems with the cops. Luck of the draw seems to be the order of the day,but at least they all let us carry on.

Maybe see you on May 28th at Manchester when the whole UK spotting community will be at MAN for the 200 odd flights due for the Champions League cup final.

Canon 1D Mk III,Canon 20D+17-40 L f4.0,70-200 L IS USM f2.8,400 L USM f5.6,135 mm L f2.0, 50 mm f1.8,1.4 x II extender
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RE: Updates On BOS / FLL / MCO / ORD

Wed Apr 30, 2003 1:57 am

I am curious about what it is that draws so many people to get suspicious about spotters, especially when it is airside. I have several pictures taken from a gatehouse or even on a ramp going to the plane as a passenger and no one has ever cared. Do you suppose it is the camera that is making people afraid? It sure could not be the mere act of looking out the window. Otherwise you would need an entire police force dedicated to questioning half of the people in the terminal. My spotting career has involved taking some photos from the ramp, some from the terminal, some from inside the plane, a few at the designated spotting area, and a handful on the job if something unusual was in town. Never has anyone cared that I took the photos. So what is it that is making all of these people paranoid about spotting?
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RE: Updates On BOS / FLL / MCO / ORD

Wed Apr 30, 2003 5:41 am

Didn't get a chance to spot this time in MCO except from the terminal (I did manage to see Delta's Centennial Spirit N812DE and Southwest Triple Crown One though), but I will be sure to visit (and get the paperwork) at MCO when I am down there hopefully in October.

I don't know why people have gotten paranoid at spotting, but it is something that annoys me. At MHT, I often get curious inquiries about my spotting, but this is in a good way, with people asking me about different things, etc. One time a lady even asked me to take a photo of a certain UA A319 for her. However, at some airports (namely BOS for me), people are complete pains in the butt and think that they have to be Mr. Hero because God forbid someone uses binoculars.

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RE: Updates On BOS / FLL / MCO / ORD

Wed Apr 30, 2003 1:59 pm

Is the westside viewing lot open now that the threat level has been lowered?

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