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eksath
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Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:41 am

Sun Sentinel article covering the contributions by Broward and Palm Beach county residents for MIA Airport Watch was published today. Expect more press coverage in the upcoming weeks.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/bro...mia-watch-20140320,0,6512166.story

Note the logo online is not quite right, the colors are not the final ones. The article one will be updated soon.
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len90
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:55 pm

Seems like something that is really interesting and could possibly be used in approaching other airports for opening up their grounds to being more spotter friendly.

Only concern I have: How will this work with photographers who just want to go down to MIA for a few days?
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:50 am

Quoting len90 (Reply 1):
Seems like something that is really interesting and could possibly be used in approaching other airports for opening up their grounds to being more spotter friendly.

You can forget about it at any of the NY-area airports, PA would never allow it
 
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eksath
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:23 pm

Quoting len90 (Reply 1):
Only concern I have: How will this work with photographers who just want to go down to MIA for a few days?

It will not effect out of town people or non members.

We were clear with the MIA security authorities that this does not effect non members. They understand. If this happens,please bring it to our attention and we will talk to them again.

Now, as you may be aware- the official spot at MIA is the only legit place ie. 'the holes". People use other places so it is fair game as far as MIA security is concerned to move people along/question etc. Typically, they do not enforce at "el dorado".

With the recent upsurge of car enthusiasts having very loud and litter filled parties at "el dorado", I would not recommend night photography there. We have interceded with the management of "el dorado" and MIA to inform them that those illegal activities such as alchol in public, car racing,public urination and drug dealing has nothing to do with the aviation photographers from the local area or the world. The authorities understand our message and have been supportive of us.

However, i have seen people from Europe put their ladders all the way on the fence and that is just asking for trouble for both the people doing it as well as effecting the locals and other visitors who play by the rules. I hope you understand what i mean.

We are trying to make this more accessible to all and the MIA security understand this.

The official spotting location at el dorado is still in the works. It is agreed upon in concept. We are awaiting for execution according to Miami-Dade county contracting and planning rules. Once that opens, we will have two legit places.
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:32 pm

I haven't yet decided whether the recent Airport Watch "movement" is going to be good or bad for spotting in the long run.

At airports like O'Hare, where spotters were previously shunned and run off by Police, I see the Airport Watch as a valid construct which legitimized the hobby and gave the photographers some new rights. At O'Hare, the Airport Watch was a necessary evil or sorts.

At airports like Miami though, the airport authority was already very amicable to the spotting community. Establishing the Airport Watch didn't grant the photographers any additional rights, it only legitimized the security paranoia on the part of the airport authority. I really, really hope that I never have a conversation with the Miami Police which goes something like "Are you part of the Airport Watch? No? Okay, you'll have to move on..."

I totally understand the security concerns which surround aviation in America. I encourage all spotters to develop a professional rapport with their local airport authority. Back in PWM, I even had the home phone number of the airport security director... I even have no problem with background checks; sometime it's necessary.

My real problem with the Airport Watch groups is the quasi-law enforcement aspect of it. The last thing we need at the airport fence is a spotter with a sense of authority, bothering the police or bothering other law abiding citizens. We also can't let the airport police begin to think that all spotters need to be "registered" in order to participate in the hobby.

Perhaps this was a necessary step to gain favor with the MIA Airport Authority, I'm not sure. I just hope it remains a positive relationship with the airport and doesn't affect those who are not involved with the Airport Watch.
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:48 pm

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 5):
At airports like Miami though, the airport authority was already very amicable to the spotting community.

Then you obviously don't know the rest of the story.

Miami-Dade PD (Airport Division) has stated to us (in the presence of MIA administration) that their official policy is NO photographers at the perimeter ANYWHERE. They wish to close down the holes as they consider it a security and parking/ roadway crossing safety issue.

The fact that it is only enforced at whim is accidental and the discretion of the officers. If you note, post 9-11, it was enforced. We are one incident away from 100% enforcement.

MIA AOW was born out of this fact that we had to develop a relationship and structure that MIA admin and police (MD Airport division) is going to be comfortable with as a countermeasure for the future. This is no way an attempt to develop a problem where there is none or create a "superclass" of photographer!

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 5):
Establishing the Airport Watch didn't grant the photographers any additional rights, it only legitimized the security paranoia on the part of the airport authority. I really, really hope that I never have a conversation with the Miami Police which goes something like "Are you part of the Airport Watch? No? Okay, you'll have to move on..."

See my response above in reply 3. We have been quite vocal and upfront with the organizations that ad hoc enforcement does not happen. MIA recognizes that and so does the PD. We have that acknowledgement and understanding.

The members in the group already spend countless hours at MIA (unlike visitors who parachute in and disappear) hence it is the benefit of the locals.

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 5):
Establishing the Airport Watch didn't grant the photographers any additional rights, it only legitimized the security paranoia on the part of the airport authority. I really, really hope that I never have a conversation with the Miami Police which goes something like "Are you part of the Airport Watch? No? Okay, you'll have to move on..."
Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 5):
At airports like O'Hare, where spotters were previously shunned and run off by Police

As i said, MIA is one step away from that if official MDPD policy is followed, it is already here!!

Also, there was a request from law enforcement to close the "holes" that we have been able to so far hold off thanks to our AOW efforts. THINK ABOUT THAT!

El Dorado is not a legal spotting location either. MIA AOW has talked to El Dorado owners and MIA administration and engineered a deal between the two that will involve a transfer of that land to Miami Dade County so that MIA can build an official spot there. It will include a platform and parking. Again, it could not have been with MIA AOW.

These are some of the benefits to ALL from efforts of MIA AOW so far. Note none of these are just for MIA AOW membership but for all the general public.

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 5):
The last thing we need at the airport fence is a spotter with a sense of authority, bothering the police or bothering other law abiding citizens. We also can't let the airport police begin to think that all spotters need to be "registered" in order to participate in the hobby.

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 5):
The last thing we need at the airport fence is a spotter with a sense of authority, bothering the police or bothering other law abiding citizens. We also can't let the airport police begin to think that all spotters need to be "registered" in order to participate in the hobby.


Please see my responses above and digest my responses. I hope i have made myself clear on the status of MIA as it stands.
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KPWMSpotter
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:51 pm

Quoting eksath (Reply 5):
Then you obviously don't know the rest of the story.

Certainly I didn't. The Airport Watch makes much more sense now. Thanks for the detailed response.

If this is what is needed to satisfy the airport authority, certainly I have no problems with it. I'm just disheartened by the increasing security paranoia around aviation these days...
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eksath
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:54 pm

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 6):
If this is what is needed to satisfy the airport authority, certainly I have no problems with it. I'm just disheartened by the increasing security paranoia around aviation these days..

Post 9-11 the genie is out of the bottle.

It took us 2 years of periodical meetings to achieve what we have at MIA in terms of getting a seat at the table with the MIA administration and implementing plans that are mutually beneficial.
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:19 pm

Congratulations on getting this off the ground! At my home field (KCVG) 2 years of even trying to discuss it has yielded nothing. I guess they feel that saying "no" is easier than trying to manage such a program. Since spotting is going on all the same from various locations unbenounced to the authorities, I would think it would be more of a security concern. Doesn't make much sense.
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:10 am

Quoting eksath (Reply 3):

Thanks, was going to ask if you could post our discussion on APM about outsiders still being able to spot at MIA without harassment from the cops - but you covered it. I had the same concern that cops would go after anyone not wearing a pink badge (why pink?) and sending them away - which would be just anyone not from Miami including our European guests who spend money and contribute to the South Florida economy to come here and spot.

Another concern I have is - someone from the airport watch group that might have a personal problem with someone not in the group, would they try to rat that person out to get rid of the undesirables? That is the point another person said if power got to someone's head in the group.

Quoting jelpee (Reply 8):

CVG already has a good spotting area though, at least in the morning.
 
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Sun Mar 30, 2014 1:52 pm

As a member of Airport Watch at another major airport, I have to say that the concept works and both photographers and airport authority benefit from this mutual cooperation. The photographers get access to the perimeter of the airport (and sometimes special infield photo tours for special arrivals) and the airport authority gets extra set of eyes helping to discourage unwanted characters from around the airport. We also help inform the airport about open gates and bird activity that might put aircraft in danger.
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:35 am

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 9):
I had the same concern that cops would go after anyone not wearing a pink badge (why pink?) and sending them away

This was a primary concern that we addressed with the authorities. It will be reinforced in our regular meeting with them. We have been proactive about preventing this and it is anticipated (by MDPD,MIA admin and MIA AOW) as a non issue due to education. We will be giving presentation at roll call for the police that handle MIA and this point will be on the presentation. I will make sure of that.

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 9):
a pink badge (why pink?)

Our graphic designer who made the artwork was kind enough to do a number of color schemes as we were undecided. Among them was the pink one. In testing with our target audiences we found the the pink one did really well with our prospective female membership applicants. Yes...there are female aviation photographers and AOW is inclusive of all.

Now, the overwhelming vote was blue/yellow one that is based upon the Lufthansa colors. I will upload a link to it later.

It so happened that the Sun Sentinel focused on the pink one despite being sent the blue/yellow one hence the ran it. Since it has run, there has been a flood of interest and support for it including from law enforcement etc.

This brings us to a dilemma as it got more interest than expected.

We will probably stay according to plan and use the blue/yellow one for official purposes such as on the ID badges and stationary.t-shirts etc and members who want the other ones can make it for their own purposes. The logo exists in red/white as well. For official identification, the law enforcement will use the blue/yellow one.





Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 9):
Another concern I have is - someone from the airport watch group that might have a personal problem with someone not in the group, would they try to rat that person out to get rid of the undesirables?

It is probably more likely to happen now than from inside AOW due the checks and balances in place. e.g. Every call is documented and the name/number of the person calling it in is registered to it hence any spurious attempts or abuse or badge will be duly noted and be evaluated by the joint committees set up with airport admin/law enforcement.


It would be easily detected due to the checks and balances in place in the organizational structure. The organization is setup to have an elected officer group from the general membership. Any flagrant abuse of power will be duly noted and disciplinary action taken as listed in the organization documents. The organization structure mirrors those AOW groups setup in Canada as well in certain US airports in the north. We are in contact with them and have been receiving information and advisement from the law enforcement officials there throughout the process.

So to reaffirm my answer, there would be a long papertrail and consequences of "abuse" of power in the situation you listed.

The membership's role is to observe and report. All calls will be reviewed for effectiveness.

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 9):
That is the point another person said if power got to someone's head in the group.

The waste of law enforcement resources as well as the abuse of the organization's standing for personal satisfaction would not be tolerated by the membership due the distribution of power within the organization.


Now if the person is doing something that is on the law enforcement list of undesirable activities, then all bets are off. Not too long ago an unknown person was seen using the railway signals as a camera platform (it sure looks like it). That is a felony arrest on the spot. If someone knows that guys, we highly recommend you tell him to not repeat that.

Quoting jelpee (Reply 8):
Congratulations on getting this off the ground!

Thank you! Hope to have it fully operation by next year's convention.

Quoting topgun3 (Reply 10):
As a member of Airport Watch at another major airport, I have to say that the concept works and both photographers and airport authority benefit from this mutual cooperation. The photographers get access to the perimeter of the airport (and sometimes special infield photo tours for special arrivals) and the airport authority gets extra set of eyes helping to discourage unwanted characters from around the airport. We also help inform the airport about open gates and bird activity that might put aircraft in danger.

Thanks again. We have been working with the RCMP too! Great help and resources!
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:44 am

Keep up the good work! Really appreciate the effort that everyone is putting in to keep MIA a spotters paradise. Still 11 months and counting for my next trip to MIA and hoping things will have evolved when I am back in Florida.

Regards,

Chris
 
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:47 pm

Just as a side note. YYZ Airport Watch just has an airside photo tour to welcome the first 787 arrival from Hainan Airlines. This wouldn't be possible without the Airport Watch program. http://gusair.com/htdocs/html/boeing-787.html
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:19 am

A spotting platform next to El Dorado? I would definetly donate a few Dollars to that  Thanks to everyone at MIA AOW
 
kivvy4
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:42 am

This was a primary concern that we addressed with the authorities. It will be reinforced in our regular meeting with them. We have been proactive about preventing this and it is anticipated (by MDPD,MIA admin and MIA AOW) as a non issue due to education. We will be giving presentation at roll call for the police that handle MIA and this point will be on the presentation. I will make sure of that.

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 9):
a pink badge (why pink?)

Our graphic designer who made the artwork was kind enough to do a number of color schemes as we were undecided. Among them was the pink one. In testing with our target audiences we found the the pink one did really well with our prospective female membership applicants. Yes...there are female aviation photographers and AOW is inclusive of all. Anticipate new circuit breakers if the panel requires it.
Now, the overwhelming vote was blue/yellow one that is based upon the Lufthansa colors. I will upload a link to it later.

It so happened that the Sun Sentinel focused on the pink one despite being sent the blue/yellow one hence the ran it. Since it has run, there has been a flood of interest and support for it including from law enforcement etc.

This brings us to a dilemma as it got more interest than expected.

We will probably stay according to plan and use the blue/yellow one for official purposes such as on the ID badges and stationary.t-shirts etc and members who want the other ones can make it for their own purposes. The logo exists in red/white as well. For official identification, the law enforcement will use the blue/yellow one.


Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 9):
Another concern I have is - someone from the airport watch group that might have a personal problem with someone not in the group, would they try to rat that person out to get rid of the undesirables? What about electrical components that need to be safe? Maintenance on the circuit breakers is required.

It is probably more likely to happen now than from inside AOW due the checks and balances in place. e.g. Every call is documented and the name/number of the person calling it in is registered to it hence any spurious attempts or abuse or badge will be duly noted and be evaluated by the joint committees set up with airport admin/law enforcement.


It would be easily detected due to the checks and balances in place in the organizational structure. The organization is setup to have an elected officer group from the general membership. Any flagrant abuse of power will be duly noted and disciplinary action taken as listed in the organization documents. The organization structure mirrors those AOW groups setup in Canada as well in certain US airports in the north. We are in contact with them and have been receiving information and advisement from the law enforcement officials there throughout the process.

So to reaffirm my answer, there would be a long and consequences of "abuse" of power in the situation you listed.

[Edited 2014-04-07 06:34:13 by wilco737]
 
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:03 am

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 4):
Please see my responses above and digest my responses. I hope i have made myself clear on the status of MIA as it stands.

  
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:55 pm

Hi there!

I haven't been to MIA yet and planned to do some plane spotting throug my vacations in may. I'm a little bit confused... Is spotting at The Holes and El Dorado still accessable for everyone?

Thanks for your help and greetings from Austria!
 
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eksath
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:44 am

Quoting drummer (Reply 17):
I'm a little bit confused... Is spotting at The Holes and El Dorado still accessable for everyone?

The holes is open.

El dorado is open but only the area that is public property. It is in a state of flux due to late night parties that have started happening there which have caused a lot of trouble to the businesses there . The furniture store has now closed off the lot hence cars cannot park there. Parking must happen on the public road. There is more police action but currently there is no plans to kick everyone out. We hope to be a buffer to stop that from happening.

Bearing some dramatic unpredictable event, both places should be open in May.
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drummer
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:33 am

Quoting eksath (Reply 18):
The holes is open.

El dorado is open but only the area that is public property. It is in a state of flux due to late night parties that have started happening there which have caused a lot of trouble to the businesses there . The furniture store has now closed off the lot hence cars cannot park there. Parking must happen on the public road. There is more police action but currently there is no plans to kick everyone out. We hope to be a buffer to stop that from happening.

Bearing some dramatic unpredictable event, both places should be open in May.

Thanks for your quick answer! That's everywhere around the world a problem, that people just don't think about the concerns of others (ex. the parties at El Dorado). I've looked through, but haven't found a good option to travel to one spotting by public transport.... but anyway, is there a possibility to get there without a car or taxi?
 
greenjet
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:49 pm

I arrived at the Holes yesterday at 3.30pm. Around 4pm a uniformed gentleman airside in a Miami Dade truck pulled over to the fence and told myself and another gentleman (watching the aircraft with his young kid) standing nearby that we were not allowed to be there. We were told that we were not allowed to stand near the perimeter fence and told to watch the action from the other side of the road. Not much good for photography! I politely responded that the sign beside me said 'photography permitted in this area'. He paused for a few seconds and then just reiterated that we had to leave. I didn't want to escalate things so I begrudgingly left with a bitter taste in my mouth. It was actually the first time I've had a problem in all my years of aviation photography.
 
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:59 pm

Quoting greenjet (Reply 20):
I arrived at the Holes yesterday at 3.30pm. Around 4pm a uniformed gentleman airside in a Miami Dade truck pulled over to the fence and told myself and another gentleman (watching the aircraft with his young kid) standing nearby that we were not allowed to be there. We were told that we were not allowed to stand near the perimeter fence and told to watch the action from the other side of the road. Not much good for photography! I politely responded that the sign beside me said 'photography permitted in this area'. He paused for a few seconds and then just reiterated that we had to leave. I didn't want to escalate things so I begrudgingly left with a bitter taste in my mouth. It was actually the first time I've had a problem in all my years of aviation photography.

This is inappropriate on the part of the agent to ask you to move away at the Holes. Do you have any identifying numbers of the vehicle and/or the agent?

This is a pretty simplistic application of the TSA rule that say that the perimeter fence cannot be closely approached by an object such as a car or truck. It is OK for people. I will speak to the dept head about this as well.
I will make sure this gets all the way to top.

Can you please email me this description along with a description of the agent (race,age,height,etc),the exact time,date to my email account,please: [email protected]

Also, if you are visiting from overseas or elsewhere in the US please state that.

I can personally attest that the Holes are approved for photography at the very highest levels of MIA currently. I (along with my colleague on this endeavor) discussed this location's current operations and approval with the MIA director's office only last week with no issues. We will ask for retraining of the staff and more dissemination of the information.

Sorry about this but rest assured that we will respond to this. Thanks for posting this information here.
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greenjet
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:06 am

Eksath, many thanks for the response. I have sent you an email.
 
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:22 pm

Quoting greenjet (Reply 22):
Eksath, many thanks for the response. I have sent you an email

Thanks. I will follow up on this!


By the way, MIA just put this on Twitter for us.


https://twitter.com/iflymia/status/461160482632892416

[Edited 2014-04-29 10:59:54]
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Sun May 04, 2014 3:54 am

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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Mon May 05, 2014 4:06 pm

Small sample of pictures from press conference at MIA.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/suresh_atapattu/

More TV coverage:

Channel 10-CBS

http://www.local10.com/news/miami-ai...a-security-spot-criminals/25742620

NBC 6:

MIA-257406621.html" target="_blank">http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/P...ost-Security-At-MIA-257406621.html

Press release by MIA.

MIA TRAINS PHOTOGRAPHY GROUP TO BE VOLUNTEER CRIME WATCH

(MIAMI, May 1, 2014) – On April 30, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) announced a partnership with the newly formed Miami Airport Watch, a South Florida photography group that will monitor Miami International Airport’s perimeter for eye-catching commercial aircraft - and suspicious activity in the process.

After a press conference about the new partnership, Miami Airport Watch members underwent MIA’s two-hour Behavior Detection training class, led by the Miami-Dade Police Department, to learn how to detect and report suspicious behavior at the airport. In addition to being the only U.S. airport that requires all new employees receive the training before receiving their employee ID, MIA is now the first U.S. airport to provide the training to plane-spotters as well. The aviation enthusiasts will also be able to report aircraft mechanical issues such as blown tires that their lenses are perfectly suited to capture during takeoffs and landings.

By day, the group’s 19 members are working professionals: engineer; attorney; travel agent; physician; pilot; software developer. Outside of work hours, they pursue their passion for aviation photography and now serve as a volunteer crime watch on the fence line of MIA.

“Passenger safety is our top priority at MIA, so we welcome the members of Miami Airport Watch as another layer of security for us,” said MDAD Director Emilio T. González. “Their eyes, their lenses and their airfield awareness are a big asset to us.”

“Our members are thrilled by this partnership,” said biomedical engineer and Miami Airport Watch member Suresh Atapattu. “This is a great way for us to leverage our shared passion for photographing airplanes and contribute to the overall safety and security of MIA.”

To learn more about Miami Airport Watch, contact [email protected]
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greenjet
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Wed May 07, 2014 1:16 am

Great to see the Watch Group get such media exposure. Good job to all.
 
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Wed May 07, 2014 2:22 am

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 4):
At airports like O'Hare, where spotters were previously shunned and run off by Police, I see the Airport Watch as a valid construct which legitimized the hobby and gave the photographers some new rights. At O'Hare, the Airport Watch was a necessary evil or sorts.

Apologies if this is off-topic, but is it the case that if you're not a member of ORD Airport Watch, would you be asked to leave a site like the USG parking lot? Also, what is the cost of joining?
 
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RE: Miami Airport Watch Is Now Open.

Wed May 07, 2014 4:56 pm

Quoting drummer (Reply 19):
but anyway, is there a possibility to get there without a car or taxi?

Not really. Public transport in South Florida is very limited. I would recommend a taxi ride.
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