Minneapolis St. Paul Airport in Minnesota has enamored itself to local plane spotters and enthusiasts by opening a new place to watch aircraft on airport property.
“I’ve always thought MSP Airport should have a place for the public to watch airplanes land and takeoff,” said Dan Boivin, Chair of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, at a ribbon cutting event. “When MSP first opened its doors for commercial air travel, people were able to come right up to the fence. Then, when Terminal 1-Lindbergh was constructed, we offered an indoor observation deck to anyone who wished to make the trip to the airport. But since 2002, when new security regulations were put in place, we haven’t had a designated public space for this activity – until now.”
The Minneapolis St Paul spotting area includes parking, picnic tables, and benches. Trees have been planted that, when mature, will provide shade and natural beauty – perhaps not ideal during the typically harsh winters the area experiences, but no doubt very much welcome by local spotters.
Views available from the spotting area include all four runways, plus terminals 1 and 2. The airport said that they had seen the need for such a place when observing spotters finding spaces alongside the roads and Cell Phone Lot at the airport trying to find good vantage points.
Access to the viewing area is from the west side of the airport. To get to the viewing area from Richfield or Cedar Avenue, travel on 66th St. east to Longfellow Avenue and follow Longfellow south to Cargo Road. Follow Cargo Road to its end at the new viewing area. From Bloomington or I-494, take 24th Ave. north to 77th St. Take 77th St. west to Longfellow Road, and follow Longfellow north to Cargo Road. Turn right on Cargo Road and follow it to the new viewing area, located just past and the Federal Express shipping facility.
The airport has produced a handy map with driving instructions. Download it here: http://www.mspairport.com/docs/maps/other/Aircraft-Viewing-MAP.aspx
The space is open every day, dawn to dusk.
Photographs on this post are kindly provided by the excellent aviation photographer Emmanuel Canaan. Check out his website!