Hmm...interesting stuff. I figured since I'm asking you, I should perhaps share my stories...
I shoot at MKE
. My first encounter came in April, 2005. A friend and I were at an aviation career fair, and afterwards, we drove to a road off of the end of one runway, and sat by the fence eating lunch and watching the planes fly over. After about 45 minutes - 1 hour, (as I was walking back from getting my best shot of the day) I saw a cop car. Luckily, we had already talked to that officer that day, at the career fair. They told us we couldn't be parked
there, which was understandable. We left, and that was that.
Next year, at the same career fair in March, we stopped there again for a few minutes (I saw a plane in the pattern I wanted to get a shot of quick). After about 3 minutes, a cop car pulled up again, and told us that we couldn't be by the fence, and that we had to leave. They said the only place we could be was at the observation area at the north end of rwy 1L/19R (the pattern was flying 7R/25L). After this time, I decided it was time to find a new place to shoot from.
Next time I was there was on the way back from ORD
, and I parked in a nearby parking lot, and walked to the fence where there is a tunnel under 7R/25L. I shot there for about 30 minutes, with no problems. A few days later, I was heading back to ORD
, and a friend and I stopped in the same place. After about another half hour of some nice shooting, a cop came by, took our names, said the tower and called us in, and she said we couldn't be there. She went on to say that we might get fines for trespassing, which had me completely perplexed, because we never went on the wrong side of the fence. Perhaps she was just pulling our legs? After that, we walked back to the car, and headed on to ORD
The next month, I got a job at the airport, and I thought it would be nice for some photo-ops as well. In my training class, everybody knew I took pictures, and my trainer said that it was fine to take pictures inside the security zone, but just try not to take any of our own planes. Later, I ended up going around after work at night, taking a few pictures. I did this a few times, and with time, nearly everybody (including my supervisors) knew I did it. I even met a few people who spend a lot of their time here on A.net, and nobody had any second thoughts about it. Then came one night, I was walking by E Concourse, when a man came up and asked me what I was doing. I explained to him the whole thing and he said that it would look suspicious and I should at least ask the members of the airlines if they had any problem with me taking pictures. I had done so before, and I told him that if I ever saw anyone, I would ask them, to which he replied "Well....ok" and walked off, and I continued shooting. A few minutes later, a sheriff came up to me, and took me aside. He called his buddy, who was practically having a hemorrhoid. "You were taking pictures of planes?!" "Yes..." "Inside the security area?!?!" "Yeah" "And you put these pictures on the internet
?!?!?!". They ended up calling someone from Airport Ops, who was very polite, but said that I shouldn't take pictures of other airline's planes at the gate, but if they were taxiing / moving around, it was ok (huh?). He said that I'd either have to delete the pictures, or he'd take my camera until I got permission. I voted for permission. However, before I got permission, they came back to me and said that the TSA
had looked at my pictures and there was nothing wrong with them, and that my company has no policy on taking pictures, but that they would now be implementing one (no update on this). The thing that bothers me about this incident is that everybody I talked to said something different, from it being a matter of permission, to a security issue, to they can't be at the gate, you can't be inside the security zone, etc...
So now...I just do it incognito - the people at work know I do it, and support it, but supervisors no longer know, and I no longer go around taking pictures of other airlines.