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.)

 

New viewing area at Helsinki Airport

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport News, Airport Spotting Guide, Finland, Spotting News, Western Europe | Posted on 01-09-2013

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Helsinki Scenic TerraceThis had slipped my attention until I read about it on George Hamlin’s excellent Observation Deck blog, but it turns out Helsinki Vantaa Airport in Finland has opened a new viewing area for spotters to watch aircraft movements.

The ‘Scenic Terrace’ actually replaces the older terrace which had closed down. It reopened in April 2013 and sits atop a building next to Terminal 2, giving elevated views over the aircraft parking ramps and of the two main runways.

The terrace is open from 7am to 10pm daily, but make sure you wrap up warm in the winter months! It is free to enter, and there are vending machines for snacks.

East Midlands spotting hotel – Radisson Blu

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Spotting Hotels, Spotting Trip Reports, UK, Western Europe | Posted on 17-08-2013

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Radisson Blu EMAA hotel I recently stayed at was the Radisson Blu at East Midlands airport, and got to check out the spotting opportunities there.

I had requested a room with a view of the airport, and upon arrival this was confirmed. My visit was planned to make the most of the evening cargo flights, which are busiest on weekdays. Odd-numbered rooms in the range 301-319 and 401-419 all face the airport and are close enough to read off aircraft registrations. All airport movements are visible, however after dark a SBS or flight tracking website is required to log the aircraft identities. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi with all room rates.

Radisson Blu East Midlands

Photography is also possible from the rooms with a 250mm lens, particularly in the daytime when aircraft are landing or departing on runway 09. However, the glass may cause distortion in some cases.

The photos on this page are from my stay, and show the views that are possible from the room. All movements on the runway are visible.

Baltimore Washington observation gallery reopened

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, North America, Spotting News, USA | Posted on 13-08-2013

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BWI observation galleryAn improved Observation Gallery at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall) is now open to the public. The gallery was temporarily closed in June 2012 for construction of a series of terminal enhancements. The work included improvements and new exhibits for the Observation Gallery and the installation of Sky Azure, a new food and beverage concession.

“The Observation Gallery is an important part of the travel experience for our passengers,” said Paul J. Wiedefeld, Chief Executive Officer of BWI Marshall Airport. “The improvements feature new and updated exhibits that showcase Maryland’s rich aviation and aerospace history.”

BWI observation gallerySimilar to the outdoor observation deck that was part of the original Friendship International Airport, the Observation Gallery was first created in 1995 to offer views of airport operations. The public space included a number of exhibits related to aviation and air travel, including large sections of a Boeing 737-200 aircraft.

Views from the gallery include aircraft parked at the nearby terminal gates, and using the distant runways beyond. Photographs are through glass, and binoculars are required for reading registrations. There are some binoculars provided for public use.

The BWI Marshall Observation Gallery is adjacent to the new B/C security checkpoint on the upper level. It is open to the public and located prior to the security checkpoint. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.