Spotting at Opa Locka, Florida

Photo (c) Ron Rafferty

Opa-Locka is a gem of an airport. Although it’ll never be a big passenger airport like others in southern Florida, it remains an important draw for aircraft enthusiasts nevertheless.

Around seven miles north of Miami International, Opa-Locka is an airport which has a mixed civil and military role. The Coast Guard Air Station is based here, and the airport also handles plenty of GA and executive aircraft. For the enthusiast, the main reason to visit is for the many airliners and props to be found stored here, either awaiting scrapping, restoration, or a return to service. This business has increased in recent years, so it’s always worth checking what is here. It is also a rare opportunity to see many Douglas DC-3s, DC-4s and DC-6s together in one place.

 

Spotting Locations

 

 

1. Storage Areas
The first things you’ll see when driving into the airport from the east are the areas of airliner storage. Turn right onto Bennett Rd and follow to the end, from where most airliners can be seen.

2. Hoxey Rd
Drive through the airport and to the end of Hoxey Rd, where there is a car park for staff. You can see across a couple of aprons from here, including the executive ramp and often a view of the Antonov aircraft based here.

3. Propliners
The various propliners based here can usually be seen on the northern apron by driving along NW 42nd Ave. A variety of based executive aircraft can also be seen at this part of the airport.

As always, spotting situations change – especially at airports like Opa Locka where you can get quite close to the aircraft. If you experience something different to this report, please comment and let us know.

This post comes from the Airport Spotting Guides USA book, which covers 67 US airports and storage airfields in detail.

Here’s an excellent page on the different operators of classic propliners at Opa Locka http://www.michaelprophet.com/News_articles/OPS.html

DC-7 Photo (c) Ron Rafferty

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