Orlando International is one of Florida’s busiest airports. It handles airliners from around the world and across the United States.
Spotting at Orlando is possible from a few locations. This spotting snapshot has been provided by John Spencer.
Parking Garage Rooftop
I will start with the “official” spotting spot, the rooftop floor 9 of the parking garage.
You must get a “use of facilities” form from the aviation authority’s offices, located on the 3rd floor, main terminal side A, to the left of east security checkpoint gates 70 to 129. You need a valid ID. The form is free, and it will last the whole of your visit, so if you are there two weeks, put your start and end dates on. The office is only open 08:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday though.
You can also walk across level 9 to the southside, but the sun will be straight in front of you then.
Heat haze here is your worst enemy, even when they are off the ground. You won’t really know how its affecting your shots until you review them on your computer.
This location was shown to me by a local. I would recommend not getting too comfy here as someone will eventually report you to security/the police and you will get a visit; my visitor was obnoxious, but hey ho!
A lot of work has gone on in the last few years on this new road, Heintzelman Boulevard. This is located to the east of the airport, between the newest runway (35R) and the main part of the airport.
If you head north along this road, you will see a couple of “pull-ins” to the right. I used the most northerly one, nearest the bridge where aircraft will cross the road. You will also get a great view of aircraft taking off from runway 35L, as you can see in the shots above.
Just remember that you will be moved on… be courteous to whoever comes to speak to you… even if they are not!
My favourite place at MCO. Again, not a legitimate “spotting” spot, but I’ve encountered no problems here over several visits. I even had a chat with a really nice cop on one occaision!
This is on Wiley Drive, located in the southwest corner of the airport, near to the Southwest hangar and the old fire dump; watch out for the alligator in the large pond!
You are right next to runway 36L, the main runway for all biz jet and cargo traffic. The sun can be a bit of a problem early on in the day, but it’s easy enough to cope with and you will even get some “wildlife” pics between aircraft – I saw deer here in April!
Like all US airports, there are quite a few FBOs at Orlando International, and they vary in friendliness! Tradeport Drive is the main road for these businesses, which is to the west of the airport. There are a couple of places where decent shots of aircraft either parked, taxiing or on maintenance can be taken; like all places though, just use a bit of forethought and park sensibly, even if it means a little walk in the hot sun, its far better than attracting the wrath of someone who might then call the police.
Cessna have their Citation centre here, on Bear Road, which is off Tradeport Dr. You can park safely in their car park and get some shots through their fence. If asked not to take a picture, please comply with their wishes. Aircraft seem to be here for a few days at a time, so try again the next day and don’t annoy them or we may lose their goodwill.
If you stay on Bear Road, it will take you across the end of the runways to where the B52 is parked in the memorial garden. B52’s were based here many years ago when it was called McCoy Air Force base – hence the MCO airport code! There is also a ramp area opposite the B52 where some aircraft seem to be “day parked”, including Frontier, TACA, Icelandair on my visit in April.
Our thanks to John for compiling this report.
Remember, our new book World Airports Spotting Guides includes Orlando International and hundreds of other airports.