Sydney Airport aviation community weekend – 4-5 April

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, Australasia, Australia | Posted on 19-03-2014

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Qantas_A380_VH-OQB_SydneySydney Airport will host its second annual Aviation Community Weekend on Friday 4th and Saturday 5th April.

This year Sydney Airport will be offering two exclusive airfield tours.  Both tours will be escorted by an airfield safety vehicle enabling each of you to spend a reasonable amount of time on the airfield to capture aircraft landings and takeoffs.  The airfield tour will also consist of a tour around the inside perimeter fence.

Canon Australia are on board to offer product demonstrations along with a selection of super telephoto lenses available for use during an afternoon plane spotting session from a high vantage point.  This session will occur on the airport’s corporate office rooftop which has an impressive 180 degree runway view.

After Canon’s product demonstrations, Sydney Airport and YSSY Forum will offer light refreshments and finger food. A trivia competition will also be held, with several of stakeholders offering great experiences as prizes.

Pre-registration is open until Friday, 21st March at 9am (SYD time) where names for both airfield tours will be selected at random.

Sydney Rydges Hotel is the new spotting location

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Australasia, Australia, Spotting Hotels, Spotting News | Posted on 17-03-2014

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Rydges Hotel ViewWe recently reported on the closure of Sydney’s Observation Deck on the International Terminal. However, the airport has been working with the Rydges Hotel in providing an alternative place for spotters to congregate.

The hotel has a rooftop area which it is now opening up to plane spotters for a small fee of $10.This fee gets you access to the rooftop, a free beverage from the cafe, and a spotter information sheet to help you get to grips with Sydney Airport. There are also family passes available for $30 for 2 adults and 2 children.

The Rydges Hotel is located within the International Terminal complex, and is Sydney’s only airport terminal hotel.

Views from the roof look across the airfield and runways, with many of the International Terminal gates in view, and the Domestic Terminal visible in the distance. All movements can be seen to some degree, so you’re not going to miss anything from here.

Rydges Hotel Rooftop

Photography is also possible for aircraft at the International Terminal and on the nearest (16R/34L) runway but needs a zoom lens.

Rydges Hotel Room Views

Spotter Hotel Package
If you’re looking to stay in Sydney, the Rydges Hotel has a special Plane Spotter Package which guarantees you a Deluxe King Room with a great view of the airport and surroundings, a pair of binoculars, food & drink voucher, free Wi-Fi and late checkout. The price starts at AUS$229 for non-members, or $206 for members. Check it out here: http://www.rydges.com/accommodation/sydney-nsw/sydney-airport/offers/plane-spotter-package/

 

Jakarta Airport FM7 Spotting Hotel

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, Indonesia, Spotting Hotels | Posted on 03-03-2014

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FM7 spotting hotelA new spotting hotel has emerged at Jakarta Airport and is receiving favourable reviews from spotters who have visited.

The FM7 Resort Hotel is situated close to the end of Runway 25R, and one of the main benefits is the proximity of aircraft approaching this runway, which can be photographed quite easily.

Although the hotel is only two stories high, rooms on the top floor can be found that have good views and are not too obstructed by the surrounding trees. Some rooms also have views across to runway 25L, but SBS is necessary to identify them as they disappear behind the buildings.

The owner of the hotel is aware of the needs of plane spotters and welcomes the trade this brings. A rooftop bar is being constructed which has views of both sides of the airport, although through glass.

The hotel is in a less than ideal neighbourhood, but once inside is quite luxurious and serves good food. It also provides a free shuttle to the airport. Here’s a map of the hotel’s location.

Visit the FM7 Hotel’s webpage here: http://fm7hotel.com/

If you have visited, leave a comment below and tell us about your experience.

Austin welcomes BA Dreamliner. Where to view from

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airline News, Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, Heathrow, North America, Spotting News, UK, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 28-02-2014

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British Airways 787Austin-Bergstrom International Airport becomes the latest to add Boeing 787 Dreamliner service on 3rd March when British Airways begin a daily flight from London Heathrow.

The airport’s Family Viewing Area will provide a vantage point and refreshments for spotters and other members of the public wishing to see the first arrival of the Dreamliner. British Airways’ flight 191 is scheduled for its first landing at 5 pm. Inaugural flight BA 190 is scheduled to depart ABIA for London Heathrow at 7 pm (after the inaugural launch, British Airways’ flights are scheduled to depart Austin at 8 pm).

Austin Bergstrom Family Viewing Area

Austin Bergstrom Family Viewing Area

The Family Viewing Area is located near the airport’s east runway. Please note, while the 787 may land on the east or west runway, Gate 2, used by British Airways, faces the viewing area providing ample time to see the aircraft. To access the airport’s Family Viewing Area, take the Hwy. 71 access road past Presidential Blvd. (road to airport terminal). Take the first right past Presidential Blvd. to Golf Course Rd. Follow Golf Course Rd. to the end, where the Family Viewing Area is located.

Sydney to close observation deck

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, Australasia, Australia, Spotting News | Posted on 20-02-2014

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Sydney Spotting. Photo (c) YSSYguySome sad news today… Sydney Airport is to close its observation deck on the International Terminal in March.

According to site Australian Business Traveller, Sydney Airport confirmed the closure due to “operational reasons” as the airport explores a range of potential uses for the space as it looks to redevelop parts of the terminal.

This is sad news for spotters who enjoy the panoramic views and great position for photographing and watching aircraft at the airport.

There are a number of alternative locations for spotting aircraft at Sydney, which the airport encourages you to use. These include the Rydges Hotel at Terminal 1, Qantas Drive, the mound next to runway 16L, and the area alongside the runway 25 threshold.

The airport maintains that the aviation enthusiast community is important to them and has a page dedicated to this (see here) with details of spotting locations. Nevertheless, some enthusiasts have reacted badly at the news of this closure.

Spotting at Porto Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Portugal, Spotting Trip Reports, Western Europe | Posted on 05-02-2014

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Porto AirportI recently had the chance to visit Porto Airport in northern Portugal. Whilst at the airport on the return journey, I checked out the opportunities for spotting from within and around the terminal. Here’s what I found.

Outside the terminal the roadway curves up to the departures area on the first floor. At either end, you can get a limited view of the airfield and see aircraft distant on the runway. You will miss most of what is parked at the terminal, however.

Before heading through to departures, there are no views of aircraft from within the terminal.

Once you have reached the departures area, Porto’s modern glass terminal is ideal for viewing the aircraft on the ground. Walking the length of the departures area reveals all aircraft parked at the gates, which are mainly parked nose in or on remote stands a short distance away.

Porto Departures area

From the northern end of the building you have a view along the cargo ramp. Aircraft parked on the opposite side of the runway, such as the DHL Boeing 757 on my visit, are a little too distant to easily read off.

Anything that moves on the runway is easily visible from the departures area.

Air France 747 at Porto

Porto’s traffic is made up primarily of TAP Portugal, Portugalia, and Ryanair aircraft. A number of European scheduled and low cost airlines also fly to the airport. On my visit, cargo movements included the DHL 757, a Swiftair ATR, and an Air France Cargo 747-400.

Porto is a Ryanair hub

The airport has a single runway, and a large modern terminal with jet bridges, and a lower floor area for walking to aircraft which is used by Ryanair.

Heathrow opens new viewing area

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Heathrow, Spotting News, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 01-01-2014

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View HeathrowLondon Heathrow airport has opened a new viewing area in Terminal 4, called View Heathrow.

The room offers views over the southern runway (09R/27L), the stands at Terminal 4, and some distant stands at other terminals. It also boasts a view of the stored British Airways Concorde (G-BOAB) which remains at Heathrow.

The viewing area was created out of an old lounge, and sadly is only available to airside passengers who have passed through security (with a boarding card). But if that’s you, it’s an excuse to check in a few hours early to enjoy the view.

View Heathrow 2

From the pictures it looks like photography is possible, albeit through glass. You will enter the room through a faux aircraft door and stairway, and it is free to use the room at any time the terminal is open.

Have you used the new viewing area? Why not post some pictures of it on our Facebook page!

Visitors to View Heathrow can get involved with the airport’s social media team by hashtagging their spectacular Instagram pics and Twitter comments using #ViewHeathrow.

Gatwick Bloc hotel offers spotting opportunities

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, Spotting Hotels, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 27-11-2013

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Gatwick Bloc HotelLondon Gatwick Airport has become notoriously difficult to spot at since the viewing terraces closed in 2002. However, a solution is imminent in the form of a new hotel due to open early next year.

The Bloc Hotel has been constructed on the site of the former terraces, atop the South Terminal. As a result, guests can expect views from some of the rooms to be similar to the views that used to be enjoyed in the old days of spotting at the airport.

Other rooms will face the approach to the runway.

The Bloc Hotel is due to open in April 2014, and is keen to welcome spotters. It will offer a special day rate for viewing aircraft and using the hotel’s facilities between 7am-4pm.

Keep an eye on the Bloc Hotel website here.

Chicago O’Hare opens new runway

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 19-10-2013

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Chicago O’Hare opened its new runway 10C/28C opened on 17th October in the hope that it will instantly improve the crippling delays experienced at the airport.

O'Hare RunwaysThe new 10,800ft runway is the sixth parallel runway at the airport and hopes to allow it to offer up to 90,000 extra movements per year. Its construction has meant the relocation of a cemetery and section of railroad, amongst other ground infrastructure.

You will find the new runway close to the existing runway 10L/28R, and just to the north of the cargo terminals.

In terms of spotting, the new runway does not really offer any new opportunities to those existing already (see our book Airport Spotting Guides USA). The nearest unofficial spotting location is on Balmoral Avenue, just off Mannheim Road, with parking at the Rosemont Metra Station.

Museum of Aeronautical Science, Narita, Japan

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Asia, Japan, Spotting Trip Reports | Posted on 03-10-2013

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Boeing 747 at museumAlec Wilson recently visited a little-known museum close to Tokyo’s Narita Airport in Japan and provided this report.

The Museum of Aeronautical Science displays artefacts that are relevant to the aviation history of Japan, including a number of full aircraft exhibits.

The museum is located to the south of Narita airport.
Access from the airport is by bus from stop no.30 outside the south wing of terminal 1 – there are only 4 buses out per day (5 return).
To Museum: 0935; 1135; 1335; 1535.
From Museum: 1010; 1310; 1410; 1610; 1710.
Trip takes about 20 mins. JPY200 each way.

The museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 1000 – 1700. Entry fee is JPY500.
All the exhibits are outside. Inside there is various regalia etc.

Also of note is that the museum offers an observation deck with views over Narita Airport. From here you can watch aircraft landing and departing, log numbers, and take photographs.

Exhibits include:

JA3007 Cessna 195 7870
JA3117 Piper PA-18150 18-6626 (Storage shed at back of main building.)
JA3440 Beech E33 CD-1196 (Code 440)
JA3848 Fuji FA-200160 294
JA3944 Cessna 172P 172-74964
JA4177 Mooney M.20M 27-0121
JA5074 Aero Commander Twin Commander680E 872
JA5151 Cessna 411A 411A-0280
JA5159 Beech 56TC TG-77
JA5238 Cessna 421B 421B-0602
JA5258 Fuji FA.300 30001
JA7758 Robinson R22 0961
JA7990 Kamov Ka-26D 7303804
JA8611 NAMC YS-11 1001/2001
JA8628 Mitsubishi MU-2B 005
JA8711 NAMC YS-11 115 2048 (Nose only. Storage shed at back of main building)
JA8767 Mitsubishi MU-2G 520 (Nose only. Storage shed at back of main building)
JA9156 Mitsubishi S-62A M62014
JA9298 Hughes 369HS 04235 (Storage shed at back of main building.)
JA9512 Aerospatiale SA.330F 1141
N67HB Learjet 25B 25-189
N642NW Boeing 747212B 21942 (Nose/cockpit section outside with small cross section of fuselage inside.)
JA8001 Douglas DC-832 45418 (Small cross section of fuselage inside.)