FXMax
Topic Author
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Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:22 am

I am looking for feedback on great plane spotting airports where large aircraft can be observed close up, such as Princess Juliana (SXM) - St. Maarten or Toncontin International (TGU) - Hondurus. Unfortunately these airports are too far away for me.

I am based in the UAE, but frequently travel to Australia, New Zealand, the EU and Southern Africa. I am happy to travel to most places, but the Americas are a bit far.

The best I have encountered so far is Ardmore (AMZ) in Auckland NZ, but this airport handles predominantly general aviation.

Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

Max
 
dazbo5
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:27 am

It depends what aircraft types you are looking for, but Manchester (UK) should be high up your list of places to visit, and easily accessible via Emirates. We enjoy some excellent close views of aircraft. If only we had some UAE weather!

Darren
Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
 
747438
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:52 am



Quoting Dazbo5 (Reply 1):
It depends what aircraft types you are looking for, but Manchester (UK) should be high up your list of places to visit,

Don't forget LHR. If it's the large ones you want to see close up, Myrtle Avenue won't disappoint.
 
AustrianZRH
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:00 am

You can get pretty close to planes in ZRH, viewing terrace on dock E (see http://www.zurich-airport.com/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-211/ ) or other spotting points (see http://www.planepics.org/en/spot_zrh.html ). Don't know if the places are photographer-friendly, though, as I am not one myself  Smile.
WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
 
ARMEDnPISSED
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:05 am

LAX, that grass spot that every plane landing on runway 24R flies over. Also, you can get like the best burgers ever from the In N Out right next to it.

[Edited 2009-08-13 01:05:32]
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MH017
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:20 am

AMS - excellent free viewing-deck
DUS - excellent paid viewing-deck, both main Terminal and Railway-station
don't throw away tomorrow !
 
grozzy
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:22 am

SYD isnt bad. At the fence near the beach, your only about 15m from the wingtip of taxiing A380s
http://picasaweb.google.com.au/lh/ph...1sRgCIfU87aiq7Keew&feat=directlink
 
N14AZ
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:36 am

What about a classic spotter destination: FRA!
Near highway A5 you are close to the action (if the wind is blowing from the west)

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Fabio Lorenzato - Piti Spotter Club


Due to all these alliances and the fact, that the air base has been closed, traffice became a little bit boring compared to previous times but nevertheless.

Photo positions can be seen here: http://www.rmas.de/Fotopunkte/Fotopunkte.htm

Happy spottings!
 
acelanzarote
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:53 am

Even Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, perhaps lacking in heavies
but standing on the beach you cannot miss anything!

www.freewebs.com/gcrr

cheers
from the Island with sun and great photo's.. Why not visit Lanzarote
 
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AirIndia
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:58 am



Quoting FXMax (Thread starter):
I am looking for feedback on great plane spotting airports where large aircraft can be observed close up,

Ever tried these:

1. The petrol station parking lot diagonlly adjacent to Dubai Flower centre to observe upclose landings/takeoffs
2. Al Twar area near Emirates road near the factory
3. The food court at the terminal 1 departure areas of DXB
 
lhr380
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:59 am



Quoting Grozzy (Reply 6):

I CANT WAIT!!!!!!!

November I will be there.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
ambanmba
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:14 am

If you go to AU/NZ a lot, then WLG has some great spotting locations. While the number of airlines and types of aircraft are not so varied, the high winds make it interesting to watch the operations.

Check out Moa Point Road on Google Maps.

-ambanmba
Concorde 300/10/19/20/21/30/40/80 707/17/27/37/47/57/67/77 AT7 146 CRJ DC3/9/10 DHC8 F100 L1011 MD11/80 S340 T154M Y7C
 
cgnnrw
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:32 am

My favorite spot is CDG. There's an area near the IBIS Hotel at T3. Next to the parking lot there's a little grassy area that gives great views. THe Pullmann Hotel is in the background. Alledgely photography is not permitted however I'v never encountered any problems and have seen other people taking photos too.

Frankfurt has a nice viewing deck in T2 as well.
A330 man.
 
FXMax
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:44 am

Thanks for the input, all very interesting options. I will look into them.

Quoting AirIndia (Reply 9):
Ever tried these:

1. The petrol station parking lot diagonlly adjacent to Dubai Flower centre to observe upclose landings/takeoffs
2. Al Twar area near Emirates road near the factory
3. The food court at the terminal 1 departure areas of DXB

Thanks for the tips here for DXB

Quoting Acelanzarote (Reply 8):

Very informative and interesting website

Thanks & Rgds
Max
 
Danfearn77
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:00 am

As stated above, MAN has to be one of the best! There is a pub right at the end of rwy 23R and its fantastic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me5tWG0y_04

Edited to add this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBGAOyTHfhM&feature=related

I think its better!

[Edited 2009-08-13 03:01:47]
Eagles may soar high, but weasels dont get sucked into jet engines!
 
Danfearn77
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:21 am

Nothing like plugging my local airport! This is the other runway at MAN! Also a great view!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iUAvRsMc3A&NR=1&feature=fvwp
Eagles may soar high, but weasels dont get sucked into jet engines!
 
seemyseems
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:37 am

MAN has loads of good areas for spotting, I found an excellent video of a PK B77W: video

I think AMS also has some great close up locations, I have recently seen a lot of close up shots, also AMS has its viewing deck which is very good for photos.
seemyseems
 
petera380
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:44 am

Don't forget the viewing decks at NRT and HND!
 
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calpsafltskeds
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:59 pm

SAN:
Laurel Travel Center parking garage for arrivals. The terrain slopes down and the aircraft are maybe 100 feet overhead as they approach the displaced threshold of RW 27. You can see a lot from Balboa Park as well - near the Aerospace Museum is closest.
Parking lot at southeast end of RW 27 for aircraft preparing for takeoff and start of takeoff roll. It's a private lot, but you can walk onto it.
Liberty Station for takeoffs. Ace Hardware parking lot is empty and 0.4 miles from the west end of RW 27 and on the centerline.
sites.google.com/site/unitedfleetsite/
 
Coronado990
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:39 pm



Quoting CALPSAFltSkeds (Reply 18):
SAN:
Laurel Travel Center parking garage for arrivals. The terrain slopes down and the aircraft are maybe 100 feet overhead as they approach the displaced threshold of RW 27. You can see a lot from Balboa Park as well - near the Aerospace Museum is closest.
Parking lot at southeast end of RW 27 for aircraft preparing for takeoff and start of takeoff roll. It's a private lot, but you can walk onto it.
Liberty Station for takeoffs. Ace Hardware parking lot is empty and 0.4 miles from the west end of RW 27 and on the centerline

Plus you've got North Island across the bay and downtown right next to you. Plus ships and trains. The whole gambit at your feet. SAN kicks butt!
Uncle SAN at your service!
 
lhr380
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:43 pm



A nice shot from today's little trip to Myrtle Ave.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
adam42185
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:06 pm

Castle Island* at in Boston is right off the end of 4L and 4R which is great when planes are arriving on those runways.

*Castle Island is not actually and island, quite easy to get to by car

[Edited 2009-08-13 09:06:56]
 
rikkus67
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:37 pm



Quoting Coronado990 (Reply 19):
Quoting CALPSAFltSkeds (Reply 18):
SAN:
Laurel Travel Center parking garage for arrivals. The terrain slopes down and the aircraft are maybe 100 feet overhead as they approach the displaced threshold of RW 27. You can see a lot from Balboa Park as well - near the Aerospace Museum is closest.
Parking lot at southeast end of RW 27 for aircraft preparing for takeoff and start of takeoff roll. It's a private lot, but you can walk onto it.
Liberty Station for takeoffs. Ace Hardware parking lot is empty and 0.4 miles from the west end of RW 27 and on the centerline

Plus you've got North Island across the bay and downtown right next to you. Plus ships and trains. The whole gambit at your feet. SAN kicks butt!



As a former frequent visitor to San Diego (until my close friend moved to Orlando), I have been to all the spots listed...GREAT spotting areas!

I find Phoenix is also a great place to spot, and have used 24th street as a GREAT location for both runways, with runway 7L/25R being the favorite. Just make sure you have plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water!
http://www.visitingphx.com/

Locally in YYC (CAlgary, Alberta, Canada), there are a number of good locations, as depicted here:
http://www.contrailsphotography.com/spottingyyc.html
...my favorite is the parking lot off of McKnight Blvd, for landings on runway 34. In good weather, you can walk the fence to be right under the approach to 34... The second is a smaller parking lot off McCall Way near runway 26.
AC.WA.CP.DL.RW.CO.WG.WJ.WN.KI.FL.SK.ACL.UA.US.F9
 
petera380
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:07 pm

Don't forget the Limo parking lot at SAN with the US Coast Guard and their HH60's right behind you!

 Big grin
 
awschucksflyer
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:21 pm

I'd have to say YOW. I was there yesterday and a multitude of planes taxied past me within a few feet! Mostly Air Canada and Westjet planes. Tons of fun.
 
planesarecool
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:01 pm

Gatwick has a nice spot next to the taxiway parallel to the runway, but it's pretty tricky to get to even with a car. The fence is around 70m from the centreline of the taxiway. Being away from the road, it's incredibly peaceful. I sometimes spend a couple of hours there and don't see any other people, let alone police/security. The only disadvantage is that it is south facing, so isn't ideal for photography, although you can get some decent early morning/late evening shots in the Summer.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Tom Lowther
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Tom Lowther

 
zkeoj
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:36 pm



Quoting FXMax (Thread starter):
The best I have encountered so far is Ardmore (AMZ) in Auckland
NZ, but this airport handles predominantly general aviation.

Have you been at the car park especially for spotters at AKL? This is a great place, and most of the times you have planes landing from there (e.g., http://www.photos.aero/photo.php?p=31596). We even get the A380 (EK) here!!!

The airport has a very nice viewing deck in the terminal as well, but it is inside, i.e. you have to take photos through glass (e.g., http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/photo/011664.html)

Happy spotting!
micha
 
petera380
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:43 pm



Quoting Planesarecool (Reply 25):
Gatwick has a nice spot next to the taxiway parallel to the runway, but it's pretty tricky to get to even with a car.

Where is this spot and how do you get there?

Thanks,
 
pwm2txlhopper
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:44 pm

Berlin TXL is the one of the best I've been to! The terminal is shaped like a 360 degree donut, and you can go up on the roof for two Euro's and have an unobstructed 360 degree view of the field, with gated planes just 25 meters away, and the runways no more then 150 meters away!

In the photo below, the viewing area is along the entire perimeter of the roof above the terminal, where the little red things are spaced every 40 meters or so. (ventilation ducts)

However, most of the traffic consists of 737's, A320's, and RJ's, with only a couple heavies thrown in. DL 767's-300 , Hainan Airlines A330's, Mongolian A310, and an occasionally a CO 767-2 instead of the 757. Not the most interesting variety of aircraft.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mario Aurich - AirTeamImages



[Edited 2009-08-13 13:46:18]
 
bennett123
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:54 pm

You could try the Spectator area at Birmingham.
 
Lexy
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:13 pm

The world's busiest airport ATL is a good place. Especially if you are on the south garage!!! If you go there, you better have a permit though or else its bye-bye. If you don't have a permit, then the Renaissance Concourse Hotel is just priceless for views of all the madness!!!!! airplane 

Have a look:

Delta Air Lines (Northwest Airlines) Airbus A330-323X (N805NW)
Nashville, Tennessee KBNA
 
Viper911
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:10 pm

I find CFU an awesome airport to spot in, plus its not that far away from you, a short hope to Greece and you're there  Smile

The bridge down there is an amazing spotting location:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Kai-jens Meyer



Plus there is a great view from the surrounding restaurants, which are located on a higher elevation than the runway which gives you a great panorama.
 
bennett123
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:26 pm

Actually Malta is not bad.

They is a small spectator area, but photos from outside, (southern perimeter).
 
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Vasu
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:26 am



Quoting Petera380 (Reply 27):
Where is this spot and how do you get there?

Me too... very interested in this one!

Quoting Viper911 (Reply 31):
I find CFU an awesome airport to spot in, plus its not that far away from you

Seriously recommended!
 
TN486
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:13 am

At the end of runway 34 at MEL, awesome!!
remember the t shirt "I own an airline"on the front - "qantas" on the back
 
Cross757
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:19 am

If you are interested in spots in the U.S., from recent experience I would say ASE. The terrain surrounding the airport is very dramatic, and requires approaches to the south and takeoffs to the north (for commercial aircraft that is, though occasionally they land to the north if the winds require it.
If I can ever figure out how to post pictures that I took of my trip there this past June, I'll show you what I mean. There is a great spot next to the fence in the long term parking lot at the south end of the airport...it's roughly 20 feet to the edge of the parallel taxiway and is an elevated position, making it possible to take some really great photos.
 
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falstaff
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:53 am



Quoting N14AZ (Reply 7):
What about a classic spotter destination: FRA!

That is a good one. I always have seen lots of spotters there. LEJ is a nice place to spot. They don't have a large amount of movements from there, but the viewing tower is nice, plus they have have bar up there.

Me and dad on the LEJ viewing tower tower in April of 09
http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb309/NWA747/germanyapril2009377.jpg
With my 300mm lens I can get close.
http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb309/NWA747/MD11atLEJ.jpg

Quoting Lexy (Reply 30):
The world's busiest airport ATL is a good place. Especially if you are on the south garage!!!

There is some good spotting at the DTW garage too. Not the blue deck, but the other one.

My house has excellent spotting from the roof. Anyone in the DTW area that want to come by to spot is more than welcome, just IM me.
My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
 
Aircellist
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:04 am

Stand at the entrance of the taxi/limo parking section, or, even better, on the little mound on the other side of the access road at YUL when aircraft are landing on 06R...
"When I find out I was wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" -attributed to John Maynard Keynes
 
Cross757
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:21 am

Okay, so I finally figured out how to upload my pictures. I apologize in advance because I don't have a zoom lens for my humble little digital camera. I took all of these pictures at ASE on 24 June of this year:

Big version: Width: 1024 Height: 768 File size: 277kb
Big version: Width: 1024 Height: 768 File size: 194kb
Big version: Width: 1024 Height: 768 File size: 250kb
Big version: Width: 1024 Height: 768 File size: 304kb
 
KBUF
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 4:09 am

You can get some great views of planes arriving and departing BUF where Flying Tigers Restaurant once stood.
"Starting today, the Buffalo Sabres' reason for existence will be to win a Stanley Cup."-Terry Pegula, February 22, 2011
 
beefstew25
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:11 am

FLL is great. The aircraft viewing area has a speaker tuned into ATC. When I am down there I always plan on eating my lunch there.

Not a good amount of heavies, but makes it up with all the business jets and props.

MIA has two spots along the cargo runway. Tons of heavies in the early afternoon.

PBI has a designated aircraft viewing area, but seems traffic there is at a crawl. I imagine it will pick up in the winter. Saw a 727 bring some horses in awhile back.

MCO is the dregs. TPA also.

PNS has an aircraft viewing area, along with some picnic tables.

RSW also has a viewing area, but it seems to be a bit away from anything.
MLB: Where you are always number one for takeoff.....
 
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alevik
Crew
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:54 am

Level 4 and up on the terminal 4 parking garage at KPHX.
Improvise, adapt, overcome.
 
macsid
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:23 am

I know AMS has been mentioned already in this thread, but I 'd like to add two things about it:

1. It is spotter-friendly, having a number of designated sites that get you pretty close to some of the runways and/or thresholds (there's even a McDonald's at one of the spots).

2. A large part of the AMS's perimeter is secured by canals (read "moats"), so ... no fences to get in the way of your photography!!  bigthumbsup 
 
macsid
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:34 am

Just to support my earlier post, here's a classic AMS pic taken from the spotter site by 36L/18R


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Martin Boschhuizen - AirTeamImages



[Edited 2009-08-13 23:35:44]
 
LifelinerOne
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:07 am



Quoting Cgnnrw (Reply 12):
Alledgely photography is not permitted however I'v never encountered any problems and have seen other people taking photos too.

It is indeed. You need to have a permit, which is issued by the local authorities. I've been to CDG twice this year, and both times I was asked for the permit. And as I had one, the other who didn't were told to go away.

Cheers!  wave 
Only Those Who Sleep Don't Make Mistakes
 
Jalap
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:30 am

To be real close to the planes then CDG is the best! Good spots are scattered around the airport, many of them bring you so close to the planes that you'll need serious wide angle lenses to get side shots.

To illustrate this: only once in my spotting career I had to cover my ears because a plane was too loud, that was a taxiing Concorde passing on the 1st taxiway near the fire station. Of course I didn't manage that sideshot, because I had to let go of my camera and because the plane was way too close for my 35mm lens anyway.
 
FXMax
Topic Author
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Sun Aug 16, 2009 7:46 am

Wow, Thanks to everyone for the replies.

I will certainly start planning a few trips to get some great live spotting in.

Much appreciated,
Max
 
nssd70
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:30 pm

Who do you contact at Atlanta to get a permit?

Doug
 
cschleic
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:37 pm

For Long Beach, is the observation deck open at all...is it part of the restaurant? And if it is open, any good for views/photos?

Thanks for any information.
 
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Buyantukhaa
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RE: Great 'Close Up' Plane Spotting Airports?

Sun Aug 16, 2009 5:45 pm

Try FNC, a spectacular airport (and great holiday destination), you're really close at the observation deck, but also on the road opposite:


View Large View Medium
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Photo © Miguel Nobrega - Madeira Spotters
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Rui Sousa - Madeira Spotters



And of course its famous runway:


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Photo © Jorge Abreu

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