There are many reasons to head to Las Vegas. The heat, sunshine, entertainment and luxury hotels are all great for a holiday.
For aviation enthusiasts there are many interesting things to see in and around Las Vegas.
With that in mind, here are our Las Vegas Spotting Highlights:
Click on the map above to navigate and zoom in to spotting locations.
A Great Mix of Traffic
Las Vegas McCarran International is one of America’s busiest airports. It successfully manages to cross the boundary between business, commuter and leisure flights, with a good mix of different airlines from across the country and world. Highlights include European leisure airlines, American legacy and low-cost carriers, Asian and Mexican airlines, and plenty of biz jets and cargo.
La Quinta Inn and Suites Spotting Hotel
This spotting hotel is quite far from the pleasures of The Strip and the big hotels, but it’s close to the official spotting area and higher rooms facing the airport will pass close by. Aircraft using the north-south runways are visible in the distance and can be tracked online.
6560 Surrey Street, Las Vegas, NV 89119 | +1 702 492 8900 | www.lq.com
There’s no official information on the operation of these red-and-white Boeing 737s, but most people associate them with transporting workers to the secretive “Area 51” base in the nearby desert. These aircraft come and go all day from their own terminal at McCarran Airport.
When arrivals are coming from the north onto runways 19L/R, Tropicana Avenue is a great place for spotting at Las Vegas McCarran. You can walk easily from the southern Strip, or park in one of the nearby parking lots.
If you find yourself in need of sustenance, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is a little further away from the airport but still under short finals for these runways.
E Sunset Viewing Location
A small parking area alongside E Sunset Road is one of the accepted places for Las Vegas spotting. Viewing is through the fence, but can be worked around for photography. It fronts the thresholds of runways 25L/R, which are predominantly in use.
North Las Vegas Airport
The alternative airport for Las Vegas is in the north of the city, as its name suggests. It is a busy place for general aviation, helicopters, and scenic flights around the local area and to the Grand Canyon.
A small viewing balcony can be found in the terminal.
Some 13 miles south of Las Vegas is Henderson Executive. It is a small airport which has grown to become a popular place for biz jet aircraft to use, as well as light aircraft.
The airport has two parallel runways, and there are views from the car park through the fence.
Grand Canyon FlightsA popular diversion for any holiday in Las Vegas is a trip to see the Grand Canyon just over the border into Arizona. Whilst it may be more spectacular to see it from the ground, it is much quicker to reach by air. Many companies offer tours from Boulder Airport, McCarran and Las Vegas North airports, both in fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
Some flights will land at Grand Canyon Airport, whilst others perform a round trip.
The most interesting to the enthusiast is Scenic Airlines, which operates classic DHC-6 Twin Otters from
Las Vegas is usually perfect for some sunny aircraft photography. The blue skies and good light can give you some excellent results, but be prepared for the intense heat particularly in the summer months and seek shade.
With thanks to Erik Ritterbach for use of his photographs in this article.
Is there a spot that I can take pictures where there are no fence around? Such as open area at end of runways?
I’m an aviation fan for many long years. Care to tell me more about the airport‘s ( McCarran ) activities such as heavy traffic, special color schemes, safe spots to take pictures and etc.