maestra80
Posts: 51
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MCO Planespotting

Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:38 am

After living in the Chicago area for 30 years, my family recently moved to Orlando. It was kind of a bummer to see them go, but now I have a new airport to spot at when I visit them! I'm going to be visiting December 26-30, and was hoping to go to MCO one of those days to planespot/take pictures.

I searched through old threads on here, and it sounds like it is difficult to take pictures at MCO without getting sent away (ORD seems much easier by comparison). I'd still like to give it a try anyway, I've never been hassled before, this would be my first time  Smile

A few things I was wondering about spotting at MCO...

I noticed that MCO has 4 parallel runways. Which ones are most often used for arrivals? How about for departures?

On Google maps, I noticed that there were these various roads that look like you could get a good view from...like Heintzelman Blvd, Wiley Dr., Freezone St., Bear Rd., etc. Are those roads public access, or are they fenced off?

Are there any parking lots in the cargo areas that are good to spot from? In an old thread someone said something about parking in the Delta cargo parking lot, but are there any other places besides that? Are you less likely to get hassled if you go on a Sunday (less people working)?

Are there any other local businesses/parking lots where you can park and walk down the street to take pictures? Are there any nearby public streets (off airport property) that provide a view of approaches or departures?

Any info/advice would be appreciated. Thanks  Smile
The roofs are full of snow in Petrograd!
 
whappeh
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:12 pm

I live here and have never spotted here.

I've always heard it was quite hard, all most people sum it up by just saying "Go to the Red Lot". Expect lots of dealings with security or the police if you try to go anywhere else.
-Travel now, journey infinitely.
 
sluger020889
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:04 pm

I'm a TPA regular who goes to school in Jacksonville, and seeing how JAX is just about worthless for spotting, I've been spotting at MCO about 5 times now, 4 times at the Red Lot and one time at the Air Tran MX facility and I've only been questioned once, and that was to check that the cars we were climbing on were our own and that's it.

Its not half as bad as these boards make it out to be.

Quoting Whappeh (Reply 1):
I live here and have never spotted here.

That's a little extreme, MCO is a great airport with some great spots and some interesting traffic, just go. What's the worst that can happen? They ask you to leave.

Joey
I would love to fly a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!
 
whappeh
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:19 pm



Quoting Sluger020889 (Reply 2):
That's a little extreme, MCO is a great airport with some great spots and some interesting traffic, just go. What's the worst that can happen? They ask you to leave.

Totally extreme, but I do a lot of spotting in PHX and am used to the ease of it and never wanted to deal with the potential hassles. One of these days I'll meander out to there.
-Travel now, journey infinitely.
 
maestra80
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 3:58 am

RE: MCO Planespotting

Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:32 pm



Quoting Whappeh (Reply 1):
"Go to the Red Lot"



Quoting Sluger020889 (Reply 2):
Air Tran MX facility

Thanks for the suggestions. Where exactly are these two places located? What kinds of things can you see from there...gates, planes taxiing, or runways?
The roofs are full of snow in Petrograd!
 
whappeh
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:47 pm

The Red Lot overlooks a taxiway and runway if I recall correctly.

I'm not an expert (as I pointed out earlier) but I think these shots were all from the Red Lot:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Emanuele De Lorenzi



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Emanuele De Lorenzi



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Joey Collura

-Travel now, journey infinitely.
 
tonyh21
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:07 pm

Interesting, did you guys have to stand on top of your car because of the fence? I think I'm confident in going someday now, maybe even tomorrow.
 
sluger020889
Posts: 404
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:24 am



Quoting Tonyh21 (Reply 6):
Interesting, did you guys have to stand on top of your car because of the fence?

Yep.

Quoting Whappeh (Reply 3):
Totally extreme, but I do a lot of spotting in PHX and am used to the ease of it and never wanted to deal with the potential hassles.

Yeah I know where your coming from, no one has raised an eye brow at me at TPA in over 3 years now.
I would love to fly a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!
 
AdamWright
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:02 am

come git you some of dat good red lot action. just be sure to brings you a step ladder or some car yous can git up ons.

hur's some good red lotting action i gots me in da past:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Adam Wright
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Adam Wright

 
maestra80
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:07 am



Quoting Whappeh (Reply 5):
I think these shots were all from the Red Lot



Quoting AdamWright (Reply 8):
hur's some good red lotting action i gots me in da past

I'm not sure where the Red Lot is, but after looking at the above pictures (and Google Earth) I'm guessing it's that parking lot to the west of touchdown end of 35L? That looks like a pretty good spot! How often is that runway used for arrivals/departures? How much do you have to pay to park in that lot?

I can't wait to check out that spot...and get a break from this cold weather! It's gonna be awesome.  Big grin
The roofs are full of snow in Petrograd!
 
whappeh
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:50 pm

They use every runway every day iirc... generally for the aircraft located on the airside closest to the runways. (2 on each side, etc), but not always the case.
-Travel now, journey infinitely.
 
tonyh21
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:46 pm

I just went this morning to check the area out. It wasn't the best time (aircraft not facing the sun) and it was freezing! It's a great area for spotting, make sure you go during the afternoon and have a high enough step ladder (or truck) to stand on. The fences are pretty high. I had two guards come by, I waved and they waved back, I assume they are okay with it.

I'll probably go again sometime this week when the weather is better.

[Edited 2008-12-22 06:47:16]
 
maestra80
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:24 pm



Quoting Whappeh (Reply 10):
They use every runway every day iirc

Oh, ok, cool! That would make sense I guess since all 4 runways are parallel to each other. ORD is a little bit trickier in regards to that, plus it usually depends on wind direction.

Quoting Tonyh21 (Reply 11):
I just went this morning to check the area out. It wasn't the best time (aircraft not facing the sun) and it was freezing!

That's another thing I was wondering...what would be the best time of day to go? I wanted to head out there around 10am. Is the angle of the sun better for taking pictures at that point, or should I go later in the morning/afternoon?
The roofs are full of snow in Petrograd!
 
tonyh21
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:53 pm

[

Quoting Maestra80 (Reply 12):

That's another thing I was wondering...what would be the best time of day to go? I wanted to head out there around 10am. Is the angle of the sun better for taking pictures at that point, or should I go later in the morning/afternoon?

Afternoon would be best probably
 
unattendedbag
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:52 pm



Quoting Maestra80 (Reply 9):
I'm not sure where the Red Lot is, but after looking at the above pictures (and Google Earth) I'm guessing it's that parking lot to the west of touchdown end of 35L?



Red Lot 10536 S. Access Rd.
From the South (SR 417): The Red Satellite Parking Lot is located on the South Approach Road, about 1 mile south of the terminal building.
Exit SR 417 at Boggy Creek Road. Go north on Boggy Creek Road and branch left onto the South Approach Road. Turn right off the South Entrance Road into the Red Lot where indicated.
Slower traffic, keep right
 
maestra80
Posts: 51
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:17 am



Quoting Tonyh21 (Reply 13):
Afternoon would be best probably

Thanks, I guess if I want to catch the flights that are earlier in the day I'll probably have to wait till summertime.

Quoting UnattendedBag (Reply 14):

Thanks for the map, the lot is exactly where I thought it would be, I didn't even think about how the airport would probably have a map of that kind of thing online. oops  Confused
The roofs are full of snow in Petrograd!
 
tonyh21
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:31 am

Some shots from today (bad light I know):









[Edited 2008-12-22 17:32:43]
 
Dazed767
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:03 am

Went out a bit Monday afternoon to get the NW 744 that was here.
 
maestra80
Posts: 51
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:19 pm



Quoting Tonyh21 (Reply 16):
Some shots from today

Thanks for posting those. In the first two the fence looks pretty high. Were those taken from the ground or were you standing on your car?

Quoting Dazed767 (Reply 17):
Went out a bit Monday afternoon to get the NW 744 that was here

That doesn't sound like a plane that normally comes to your airport, was it some kind of charter? Is there anything interesting coming in this weekend?
The roofs are full of snow in Petrograd!
 
whappeh
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:59 pm



Quoting Maestra80 (Reply 18):
That doesn't sound like a plane that normally comes to your airport, was it some kind of charter? Is there anything interesting coming in this weekend?

Probably a charter for the bowl games this weekend.

We do get 747s from overseas regularly though.
-Travel now, journey infinitely.
 
727LOVER
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:18 pm



Quoting Whappeh (Reply 3):
Totally extreme, but I do a lot of spotting in PHX and am used to the ease of it

Amen to that. PHX is great. No troubles on the parking decks.

Quoting AdamWright (Reply 8):
come git you some of dat good red lot action. just be sure to brings you a step ladder or some car yous can git up ons.



hur's some good red lotting action i gots me in da past:

Is that how you talk to ATC??? Big grin

Quoting Tonyh21 (Reply 11):
I just went this morning to check the area out. It wasn't the best time (aircraft not facing the sun) and it was freezing!

Ummm...you're from Chicago????...what exactly is FREEZING in Orlando?????!!!

Quoting Dazed767 (Reply 17):
Went out a bit Monday afternoon to get the NW 744 that was here.

Is that being repainted here?

Quoting Maestra80 (Thread starter):
I searched through old threads on here, and it sounds like it is difficult to take pictures at MCO without getting sent away (ORD seems much easier by comparison).

Totally agree there. Never had a problem at ORD despite what some think.

Quoting Sluger020889 (Reply 2):
Its not half as bad as these boards make it out to be.

Not always your sentiments, admit that.

Quoting Maestra80 (Thread starter):
In an old thread someone said something about parking in the Delta cargo parking lot,

That is for 17R (then, 17) landings. But since 17L opened, it is the primary runway for arrivals on the east side.



Maestra,

A bunch of us have an e-mail group that revolves MOSTLY around MCO/SFB spotting. Oh, yes, don't forget you have another airport in the Orlando area. One with airlines you really won't see anywhere else in the USA.

E-mail me if you want to add your name.
Love Trumps Hate
 
tonyh21
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:43 pm



Quoting 727LOVER (Reply 20):

Ummm...you're from Chicago????...what exactly is FREEZING in Orlando?????!!!

Who said I was from Chicago? haha, double check on that.
 
727LOVER
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Thu Dec 25, 2008 2:35 pm



Quoting Tonyh21 (Reply 21):
Who said I was from Chicago? haha, double check on that.

My bad, got you confused with the OP
Love Trumps Hate
 
Dazed767
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Thu Dec 25, 2008 7:25 pm

Another 744 is coming in today from MSN, looks like after 8pm now. World Airways DC-10 N136WA is also coming in around 6:45pm.
 
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Plainplane
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:09 am

How much does it cost to stay at the Red Lot?

I want to find a good place to go planespotting at MCO also and that sounds good.
 
Dazed767
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Fri Dec 26, 2008 5:05 pm



Quoting Plainplane (Reply 24):
How much does it cost to stay at the Red Lot?

The cost for Satellite Parking is $4 for the first 3 hours, after which the daily rate of $10 per 24-hour period applies.

Ugh the NW 744 left this morning after 8am...wish I had known.
 
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Plainplane
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:06 pm

Maybe I will have to go to the red lot sometime...  idea 
 
maestra80
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:23 pm



Quoting 727LOVER (Reply 20):
A bunch of us have an e-mail group that revolves MOSTLY around MCO/SFB spotting.

That sounds really cool! I wish the spotters around O'Hare would do something like that. I'll be sending you an email.

Quoting Dazed767 (Reply 23):
Another 744 is coming in today from MSN, looks like after 8pm now. World Airways DC-10 N136WA is also coming in around 6:45pm.

Nice! I hope I can catch something like that while I'm there.

Unfortunately for me, my FL flight out of MDW was cancelled Friday night, when ALL flights were canceled due to fog. The next flight I could get on is this Tuesday (!). My dreams of photographing a new variety of airlines, in warm sunny weather, will have to wait a few more days.  snaggletooth 
The roofs are full of snow in Petrograd!
 
Dazed767
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:31 pm

Delta DC-9 was in last night and again around 11am today. LH A346 MIGHT just squeek in today before sunset....actually it due right at sunset last I checked 5:38pm.
 
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Plainplane
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:50 am

I'm going to the Red Lot tomorrow.

Is it a big parking garage type thing or is it just a standard parking lot?
 
AdamWright
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:52 am



Quoting Plainplane (Reply 29):
Is it a big parking garage type thing or is it just a standard parking lot?

Its called the Red LOT. Not the Red PARKING GARAGE... okay?
 
maestra80
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:23 am

Alright, so I made it out to the Red Lot today for some New Year's Eve spotting, and had a blast! I had to stand on the roof of my ma's 4Runner to get the fence out of the pictures. I spent two hours out there, but would've liked to stay longer  Smile

At 4:30pm, I dropped my brother off at the terminal for his flight back to Chicago. I then went back to the Red Lot, because I was hoping to catch TAM before going back to my parent's house. Well, within 10 minutes of getting back, one of those parking lot security guards came by and started hassling me!

He asked me what I was doing, and asked if I was standing on the light pole (I was on top of my mom's car while he was asking me this). Actually, there was another photographer who was standing by the light pole, but left like seconds before the guard showed up. He said lots of people had been calling in saying that I was making them nervous, taking pictures of the airplanes. He said there were cameras in the ATC tower at the airport, and they were watching us (i doubt it). He said I can take pictures from the ground, but not from the top of the car (??) Then he said since it's my car I am free to do what I want, but he thought I should be on the ground (??) So I asked him, well can I stand on the car or not? Yes, but I think you should stand on the ground (??) The dude was nice about it (I guess) but I didn't really understand what he was getting at.

So there you have it...my first time getting hassled while taking pictures.  Smile I'd probably go back again anyway, and do the same thing. I had been doing it for 2 hours before that with no problems, so whatever.
The roofs are full of snow in Petrograd!
 
tonyh21
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:33 am

It might be better if we go as a group, or even in pairs. Might look less suspicious to people. I had a couple of people stare at me while I spotted there...
 
sluger020889
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:32 am



Quoting Tonyh21 (Reply 32):
It might be better if we go as a group, or even in pairs. Might look less suspicious to people.

I find there's always safety in numbers, especially when spotting.

Joey
I would love to fly a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!
 
797
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:04 am



Quoting Maestra80 (Reply 31):
So there you have it...my first time getting hassled while taking pictures. Smile I'd probably go back again anyway, and do the same thing. I had been doing it for 2 hours before that with no problems, so whatever.

Hey! I have been spotting at MCO several times and the parking lot has never been a problem for me. I don't believe people called to tell them they were nervous about you taking pictures. The only people who'd see you there might be the pilots, as the place is pretty isolated from crowded places.

I'm going there again in mid january, I'm getting a new camera and it's the best place to try it around the DAB area. So feel free to come if you want, let me know!

Cheers
Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous!
 
727LOVER
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:06 pm



Quoting Maestra80 (Reply 31):
my first time getting hassled while taking pictures

And it's at MCO !!

Surprise, surprise!  Yeah sure
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maestra80
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:22 am



Quoting Tonyh21 (Reply 32):
It might be better if we go as a group, or even in pairs. Might look less suspicious to people.



Quoting Sluger020889 (Reply 33):
I find there's always safety in numbers, especially when spotting.

Actually, the first two hours I was there, my ma and bro were with me (in addition to another photographer standing like 30 feet away from us). When I came back at 4:30, then there were just three of us out there, and the other photographer left seconds before security showed up (which left just my ma and I there). So I wasn't totally alone.

Quoting 797 (Reply 34):
I don't believe people called to tell them they were nervous about you taking pictures.

You know I kinda thought that at first too, but the security guard was asking me if I was standing on a light pole, which the other photographer was doing--but he left before security showed up--so security never witnessed him doing this and someone must've reported it (maybe the parking lot bus drivers???). I dunno, a lot of stuff coming out of the dude's mouth sounded like BS he was making up as he was going along.

Quoting 727LOVER (Reply 35):
And it's at MCO !!

Surprise, surprise!  

Yeah, really.  Smile
The roofs are full of snow in Petrograd!
 
727LOVER
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:53 pm



Quoting Sluger020889 (Reply 2):
Its not half as bad as these boards make it out to be.

Found this little ditty:



PHOTOGRAPHERS – PLEASE TAKE NOTE! Photography is strictly forbidden anywhere at Orlando International Airport (including perimeter roads) with the following exception: The Greater Orlando Airport Authority (GOAA) will permit photography on the 10th and 11th floors of the terminal parking garage upon submitting their Spotter Photography Authorization form. We will have a link available on our web site (www.ai2009.com) so you can download the form and instructions. You will need to present this form along with valid government issued identification to the GOAA Office in the main terminal building.

http://www.ai2009.com/
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whappeh
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:19 am

Wouldn't that be kind of a bad place to shoot at? Seems like its too high up.
-Travel now, journey infinitely.
 
Dazed767
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:46 am

Yeah middle of July top of the parking garage. Dodge lightning strikes, suffering from heat strokes and shooting heat hazed shots all day, count me in!  Big grin

Oh Maestra80, the light pole bandit emailed me. Said sorry about that. Said GOAA passed by you guys at one point and didn't say anything? I guess it was luck of the draw right as soon as he left security came out.
 
maestra80
Posts: 51
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:12 pm



Quoting Dazed767 (Reply 39):
light pole bandit

Nice choice of words.  Silly Or is that what he referred to himself as when he emailed you?

Quoting Dazed767 (Reply 39):
Said sorry about that. Said GOAA passed by you guys at one point and didn't say anything?

Yeah, my mom said that she saw security drive by before too and not stop. I would've thought that passerby would be more concerned about someone standing on the roof of a car, and not someone leaning on a light pole.
The roofs are full of snow in Petrograd!
 
727LOVER
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:50 am

THE LIGHT POLE BANDIT


What night does this air?
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N701DN
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:04 pm



Quoting 727LOVER (Reply 37):

Interesting. I wonder what jurisdiction the GOAA thinks it has on public streets paid for and maintained with taxpayer monies. They've had that little blurb on their site for years.

As a former Orlando resident and frequent visitor, I have never once been hassled at MCO: terminal top, red lot, cell lot, Tradeport, Post Office, FedEx, Delta Cargo - you name it. The ONE time I was approached at the red lot by an OPD cop he was more interested in making sure we weren't vandals. Apparently vandalism is a common problem at the red lot. He asked for some ID, that was all. When he was satisfied he left us be.

If you're smart about it and tactful with badged authorities you'll have no problems. If you're a jerk and condescending, expect your spotting trip to be cut short with haste.
 
tonyroberts09
Posts: 2
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:48 pm

Thanks, I guess if I want to catch the flights that are earlier in the day I'll probably have to wait till summertime.
 
N701DN
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:13 am

Spent six hours at MCO yesterday. No hassle whatsoever.

A few examples:





 
whappeh
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:55 am

Stunning light. I may meander out there some time in the coming week, if anyone would care to join.
-Travel now, journey infinitely.
 
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KaiGywer
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:28 pm

MCO looks like a good place to go spotting. Maybe I'll have to make it a daytrip  Smile
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
Dazed767
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RE: MCO Planespotting

Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:27 am

Went out for a bit today, no probs and the weather was awesome.


[Edited 2009-01-08 17:29:07]
 
maestra80
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 3:58 am

RE: MCO Planespotting

Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:59 pm



Quoting N701DN (Reply 44):
Spent six hours at MCO yesterday. No hassle whatsoever.

Wow, 6 hours with no problems? Must've been a fun day. Nice pics too btw.

Quoting Dazed767 (Reply 47):

um, nice title you got there for that picture. Is that the best you could come up with? lol
The roofs are full of snow in Petrograd!

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