Burlington Airport is the busiest and largest in Vermont, one of the New England states. I recently visited and checked out the opportunities for spotting here, and what the airport had to offer.
Whilst it is the busiest in Vermont, Burlington is not a major airport by any means, handling about 640,000 passengers in 2014. But it does have some interesting movements and aircraft to see.
Burlington has two runways – 15/33 is the main strip which most movements use, whereas 1/19 is a smaller cross runway used by light aircraft movements.
On the north side of the airport is the Burlington Air National Guard base, which is home to a squadron of F-16 jets. There are a few historic jets preserved outside, which can be seen from the terminal and car parks.
The main airlines flying to Burlington are Allegiant Air, American Eagle, Delta/Delta Connection, JetBlue, Porter Airlines and United/United Express. Most of these use commuter regional jets, but larger types are common in the summer months on seasonal services. On my visit there were four airliner movements, two each by American Eagle and Delta Connection, and both using Bombardier CRJ aircraft.
FedEx is the main cargo operator, and on my visit a Boeing 757 freighter was parked outside the cargo hangar. Close to it were around six business jets parked up.
General aviation and flight training is popular at Burlington, with aircraft parked up to the south of the terminal.
Spotting at Burlington
Surprisingly I found that spotting at Burlington was not a problem, and in fact there were facilities in place to aid in watching aircraft!
I had already noted the Air National Guard base before visiting, so decided to keep a low profile when it came to pointing cameras and binoculars about. My first stop was the Dog Walking Park situated on the western side of the runway about half a mile north west of the terminal. It is at the end of Kirby Road, and has car parking alongside the enclosed park which faces the airport perimeter fence, runway and parallel taxiway. This was a great spot to take some pictures of aircraft at close quarters as they taxied for takeoff, and didn’t seem to raise any suspicion from people walking dogs.
Next, I drove to the airport’s multi-storey car park and made my way to the highest level from where you have a grandstand view over the airfield. You can see the runways, Air National Guard base, cargo apron and light aircraft parking. Aircraft parked at the terminal gates are obscured, but you can see them if they taxi. Around half way up the car park, I found a park bench situated in one of the corners for those who want to watch the aircraft.
Inside the terminal there are three areas for watching aircraft. The first is the northern walkway from the car park, which has seats overlooking one of the gates.
At the southern end of the terminal is a room which also has seats facing a window looking over some more gates.
In what was presumably the former control tower, an observation room has been created. I found it by chance, but it is signposted and accessed via a steep set of stairs. Inside you have views over the whole airfield. The glass is slanted, but acceptable for photography. It was nice to see an airport in the USA providing opportunities to watch aircraft in comfort!
Finally, continuing south from the terminal along Airport Dr, you will see some light aircraft parked on remote areas not visible from the other locations. The small Eldredge Cemetery and its access road have views through the fence.