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Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 3:06 am

ORD Spotter Question: Police Hassle?

Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:24 am


I was wondering if there were any laws in the U.S. that prohibit people from taking pictures while in a public place of the airport, (parking garage, public access road, etc..) of commercial aircraft??

I'm looking to find out if I'm going to be hassled by the police if I'm just taking pictures with my digital camera while legally parked.

Any comments would be appreciated.


UAL Bagsmasher
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RE: ORD Spotter Question: Police Hassle?

Thu Oct 21, 2004 6:02 am

I wouldn't press your luck with ORD. They are notorious for giving spotters a hard time. Even with an ORD badge, I've gotten hassled.
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RE: ORD Spotter Question: Police Hassle?

Thu Oct 21, 2004 6:06 am

Yah..unfortunately, I've been told to "beat it" a times myself.

Off of Irving Park Rd. used to be good (though somewhat illegal)..there used be families stopping along the road but I dont know whats come of it since 9/11....
"Up the Irons!"
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RE: ORD Spotter Question: Police Hassle?

Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:35 am

As others have said, its sort of a toss up. I've always had pretty good luck spotting at ORD, but I haven't been spotting there lately and have heard all the stories of people being chased away. There are alot of office/commercial buildings surrounding ORD, if you go on a weekend (when nobody's working in these buildings) you may have some good luck.
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RE: ORD Spotter Question: Police Hassle?

Thu Oct 21, 2004 10:36 am

Manta, I cannot tell you how many times I have been hassled by ORD security over the years... most happened before 9.11.

They've looked through my bags, taken down my info, grilled me thoroughly... no strip search though  Big thumbs up

Seriously, using the power vested in them by whomever, they become assholes.

If you're gonna spot at ORD, make sure there's a road dividing you and and airport grounds. They're very protective when you're right by the fence.
Its better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than be in the air wishing you were on the ground. Fly safe!
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RE: ORD Spotter Question: Police Hassle?

Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:25 pm

I've gotten chased away a few times, but I find that you can get some nice shots from York Rd. right along 14R/32L. Never had a hard time there.
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RE: ORD Spotter Question: Police Hassle?

Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:40 pm

I was told to leave the roadway in front of the MDW terminal on Sunday by a Chicago Police Officer. He cited an FAA rule prohibiting photography on the airfield? He was very polite, and mentioned he usually doesn't bother photographers but someone had complained and he was responding. On the same day on my way back from DEN, a lady got in my face for taking pictures from a window in McDonalds on a concourse while eating my breakfast. Sometimes you have to fight the sun, window reflections, and paranoid Security (formerly Soccer) Moms simultaneously.

[Edited 2004-10-21 14:44:51]
Lex Ancilla Justitiae
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RE: ORD Spotter Question: Police Hassle?

Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:16 am

I used to always go spotting without hassle off Higgins Rd. Just west of Manheim, there is a little dirt lot that provided some nice views of 22R arrivals. There is also an office building just east of that lot which has a parking garage it is possible to get some nice pics from there too.

Another location was off Irving Park, down the road where FedEx and the other cargo locations are....all the way to the end. From here you can take pics of 9R/27L activity (9R arrivals and 27L Departures) as well as 32L departure lineups.

I haven't been spotting in ORD since 9-11 so I am not sure if it is prudent to visit these spots anymore.


[Edited 2004-10-21 19:21:44]

[Edited 2004-10-21 19:25:32]
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RE: ORD Spotter Question: Police Hassle?

Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:26 am

Buy the cheapest ticket to wherever and go inside the terminal. I have never been hassled there.
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Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 3:59 am

RE: ORD Spotter Question: Police Hassle?

Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:35 am

I've found that the small factory area on the west side (York Road) is a very good spot, especially for 9R International arrivals, or near the airport post office for 4R. I have been stopped by Bensenville Police a few times, but after being checked out (run through the system) they always went on their way.
Though I hate being hassled by them, I hate to say they are doing their job. Once they find out what's up I usually get left alone.

I know during the week when these businesses are running there are plenty of people that can get suspicious and call police. I guess that's the world we live in now unfortuanetly.

I have had Chicago Police kick me out of the cemetary on the SW corner of the field. It is such a great place as you are right on the end of 9R. He told me it was privately owned cemetary and if I didn't know anyone buried there I have no business there! I can see their concern as the FedEx ramp is right there and you can be as close as 20-30 feet to overnighting aircraft!

I am from MSP and I go to ORD at least 4-5 times a summer, I almost always have good luck with local authorities. I myself among others who have stayed at the Hilton have had a knock on the door from hotel security in regards to photo taking. Kind of pathetic if you ask me, guess the tower and/or ramp people report this if you are seen taking pics from the hotel!

All in all my ORD experiences are great! 9R is the place to be!! Unless you want to watch the endless stream of UA and AA and a couple thousand American Eagle flights.

There are many small factories around the airport that do offer great views of aircraft and on the weekends are normally hassle-free.

Mike @ MSP
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RE: ORD Spotter Question: Police Hassle?

Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:37 am

I have not really had any problems at ord. I mostly fly into MDW when going to chicago. I usually go atop the garage and sit on one of the concrete stands...some decent views of LCCs  Big thumbs up
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