Spotting at Bangor Airport
Bangor Airport is the largest and busiest in Maine. It is home to the 101st Air Refuelling Wing of the Maine Air National Guard, sees lots of transatlantic flights stopping by, and is served by a number of airlines to destinations across the country.
The airport has a single long runway, 15/33, a passenger terminal, FBOs, storage and maintenance area, and the ANG base. It is easily accessible off I-95, and is around 2 miles from the centre of town.
On my recent visit the airport was relatively quiet, but by checking out a few locations I got a feel for what the airport was like. So I’ve put together this guide to spotting at Bangor Airport.
Airlines and Operators
Regular airlines operating to Bangor are:
- Allegiant Air (MD80/A319)
- American Eagle (CRJ/ERJ)
- Delta Connection (CRJ/ERJ)
- United Express (CRJ)
As you can see, the scheduled traffic is largely regional jets. However, Bangor is a stopping-off point for regular flights across the Atlantic which require fuel, medical diversion or customs clearance. This can include military transports and wide-body airliners. So any visit could yield something interesting.
Aviation Museum Spotting Location
To the south of the general aviation area, along Odlin Road, is the Maine Air Museum. This is just a small facility, with only one aircraft parked outside (N72025, Silvaira Luscombe) and some internal exhibits on the history of aviation in Maine. It is open on Saturdays and Sundays. Website.
Alongside the road next to the museum there is a small grandstand that has been erected for plane spotters to watch the action (position 2 on the map). It faces the fence and overlooks the taxiway and runway 33 threshold. From here you can see all movements arriving from the south and departing to the north easily. You also have a distant view of the stored aircraft on the opposite side of the runway (see below). If you plan on spotting at Bangor Airport, this is the place where you’re wanted and will not be causing any trouble for the authorities.
In the south east corner of the airfield are a few old pans. On my recent visit these were filled with stored airliners, 90% of which were Saab 340s wearing the colours of Colgan Air, United Express, Continental Connection, Northwest Airlink etc. There were also a couple of other regional jets here. Many would clearly not fly again, but some seemed ready to be reactivated.
To view these aircraft, you can drive past the end of the runway on Odlin Road, then take a right up a road which leads behind a maintenance hanger. Eventually you come to a crash gate alongside the stored aircraft and can read most of them off. This road is also a good position for watching aircraft approach runway 33 without having the fence in the way.
Biz Jets and General Aviation
The area to the east of the passenger terminal is home to a number of FBOs. On my visit there were biz jets and props parked on the apron, along with a few light aircraft. These can be seen from position 1 on the map, by walking from the car park or terminal towards the fence.
Air National Guard
A big draw of the Air National Guard base, which is situated to the north west of the terminal, is its fleet of resident military variant Boeing 707s. These can be seen by walking up from the terminal, but it is difficult to see all, and naturally it could cause unwanted attention from security and military personnel by sticking binoculars through the fence here. So caution is advised and you may have to go without identifying all of the aircraft parked outside.
There is a location where a view across the runway to the ANG base can be had. It is reached by following Hildreth Street off Hammond Street and leads up to the fenceline.
Linked to the passenger terminal is the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel. It is tall enough to see over the terminal building, so any rooms on the top floors that are facing south should have a great view of the runway and any action. You can visit the hotel’s website here.