Chris Reed has provided this excellent report on spotting at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey – famed for the biz jet traffic it receives, and only a short journey from New York City.
Getting there from Manhattan
The New Jersey Transit company have coaches departing the Port Authority Bus Terminal regularly heading to Patterson, which has to go past Teterboro on Route 46. Weekdays can see frequencies upto every 20 minutes, whereas Sundays can be down to 1 per hour. The fare is $4.25 each way, and leaving Manhattan you must purchase tickets prior to boarding, so a visit to the ticket office is a must. Coach number is the 151 or 161 (one only operates every now and again in peak periods with a slightly different routing) and they depart from stop 302…confirm that with ticket man…its around 302 at least! Coach takes 20-30 minutes depending on the traffic. Just keep an eye out for the airport. If you sit on the left you’ll see Newark inbounds (assuming theyre landing over Teterboro) as well as some TEB departures, to make you aware of how far you have to go. You pass through alot of residential areas before hitting route 46. You’ll know you are close when you are at traffic lights with a used car garage on your left, and as you turn onto the main road you’ll have a Wendys/Burger King on your right. Teterboro airport will come into view very quickly once on route 46 so get the stop button pressed. The first stop is outside the strawberrys building, though if you miss that the next is Hollister Road, which on the other side of the 46 takes you down past the hangars.
Assuming you make the first stop, I merge myself into the strawberrys car park to read off anything immediately departing. I then make the short walk past the ‘drive thru’ bank, to Teterboro college. This is great for reading off some stuff parked up and for just spotting the movements. By the door of the college theres a bench I perch myself on, but only when the college is closed, and I have noticed this is a car park used by spotters with wheels. Never had a problem spotting here out in the open, but just avoid the main sidewalk as on my first visit years ago I was reported very quickly by a passing car and police were quick to respond. No problems, and was just advised to stay out of view, but time consuming when time is precious. I then walk down to Hollister Road, cross route 46 and head down the hangar road where Signature etc are located. You can do two things here – to avoid hassle, proceed straight to the police station at first set of light, explain you are taking tail numbers etc. Normally a photocopy of passport is taken, a few questions asked, and thats about it. You can spot freely from public areas without the harassment of the security stalls for each hangar phoning you in and police attending to check you out. Or, like me once again when time is precious, before I reach the hangars, the binoculars and notepad go back in the bag. I’ve had no problems walking down here casually looking accross road every now and then and pretending to text on phone, when I’m just typing registrations into the Blackberry instead. I wouldnt advise hanging around here if you havent reported into police station though.
You can then walk all the way down until you ahave done all the hangars, then there are some areas you can be discreet to look over to the NetJets facility between the trees. Be careful as police/secuirty cars are constantly driving up and down. Then, you can follow the road right round and along to the Flight Options/NetJets hangar where you can generally see the more exotic, foreign regs. There’s new roadworks here as the runway has been lengthened (I think) and the road offset, but between construction vehicles you can still view in and pick off some regs, but not all. The walk around to here takes a good hour, and the same or less on way back.
There are various benefits as you can get into some car parks along main access road that you can’t on foot. At the same time it’s not advised to stay anywhere for too long that might attract attention. I wouldn’t advise being on foot if its more than just the one of you, as that would obviously cause suspicion, unless you split up I suppose. When awaiting coach back to city, they are on the airport side of the road immediately opposite where you got off. If you board it up near Straberrys, theres a wall you can sit on where the airport sign is, and this is great for general views as well as perhaps the cheeky photo through the fence.