Topic Author
Posts: 3156
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 1:19 am

Getting The Run Around At Local Airport.

Sun Apr 18, 2004 1:20 pm

I guess a little rant is in order, but seeing how people are a little leery this day and age, it is easy to understand. Last weekend I went to RIC to do some spotting, and was approached by Airport Police. He asked what I was doing, and I said looking at the planes and taking pictures. Being that the weather was foul(raining and foggy) he mentioned that it was pretty poor conditions for doing so. He also mentioned that the day prior, the National Guard was doing manuevers with the F16s and that I should have been there then, as the weather was also better. He told me to have a nice day, and I proceeded to grab a few more photos before heading home.

Fast forward a few days, I get off work a little early, and decide to catch a few planes before heading back out.(I drive a truck for a living, so its hard to get quality off time) This time, in an area close to where I was before, a different Officer approached, and gave me the spiel about the heightened security bla bla bla. I told him I understand completely, and told him about my encounter a few days prior. He asked if I got the name, and I said no. In looking back I guess I should have. This officer asked for my license, and I gave it to him, (I am surprised I have made it this long without them asking for it) he ran it, and it came back clean. He then told me that photography should be ok, as long as I do it while sitting in the car and far away from the airport. I asked him who I could talk to regarding on site photography and he gave me a number and told me to call it, and tell them where I will be, and that they might have someone come out and check my stuff again. After that I packed everything up and went home.

Fast forward to today. I call the number given to me, and spoke to a few people, all of which gave me the heightened security speech. And all said, that they couldn't provide permission to allow me to photograph. I asked who I needed to speak to, and gave me a job title, but no name, and said that I would need to talk to them during the week, but they would be out of town this next week. And gave me the name of yet another title and no name of who would be in charge during his or her absence, and told me to take the matter up with them. After the phone call, since I did not want to bring attention to myself, I took a few off site photos that aren't even worth mentioning, and went home.

Has anyone else been thru all this? I would think that more popular airports around me: IAD, and DCA would be more strict when it comes to this, but in my experience they aren't. Both places seem to be better spotting anyway, its just a little too far to drive unless its a day trip.

When it comes time to talk to the main person in charge, I would like to have my ducks in a row. I currently have an expired concealed handgun permit, that I have put off renewing until now. I could offer that as proof of background check as well as other things that I cannot think of right now. Does anyone have any recommended ways of talking to this person, to ease things along?

Thanks for allowing me to vent.
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RE: Getting The Run Around At Local Airport.

Sun Apr 18, 2004 1:29 pm

Yep. I hear ya. I've gotten it many times.

Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
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Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2000 9:14 am

RE: Getting The Run Around At Local Airport.

Sun Apr 18, 2004 4:00 pm

Never had a problem at DCA/IAD/BWI. I guess the smaller airports are like that since they don't see as many photographers then busier airports. I talked with the Norfolk Airport Authority last year in regards to aviation photography at Norfolk Intl. Airport, they told me I had to fill out many paperwork for the airport authority to gain clearance at ORF and also had to call some number before I head out around the perimeter fences, really not worth it at a small airport with small amounts of traffic.

Richmond is a good 1 1/2 -2 hour drive to DC, in reality, it's not too bad of a drive for a day trip or a weekend trip and really worth it. I drive 4 hours to DC almost every weekend.

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Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 1:19 am

RE: Getting The Run Around At Local Airport.

Sun Apr 18, 2004 4:09 pm


I've had ORF in my plans to spot, just don't want to drive all the way down there and have no luck finding a place to spot from. The only place I can think of off the top of my head, may be the new parking garage they constructed. I'd be interested in seeing what kind of paperwork they would want me to fill out, just to know how comprehensive it is. When you go to DC, are you going to spot, or for other reasons. I am trying to get up there this next weekend as long as work permits.
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