This series of articles looks at the individual spotting locations at Frankfurt International – one of Europe’s busiest, largest, and most interesting airports.
Frankfurt is one of a number of big European airports (and many in Germany) which offer official places for spotters and enthusiasts to watch and photograph aircraft on the ground and using the runways.
The spotting locations at Frankfurt that we’ll look at are:
- Terminal 2 Terrace
- Motorway / Zeppelinheim / Berlin Airlift Memorial
- Runway 18
- Runway 07L/25R New Runway
Motorway / Zeppelinheim / Berlin Airlift Memorial Spotting Location
In this article, we’ll look at the location in the south-east corner of the airfield, alongside the busy Autobahn 5, linking Frankfurt with Darmstadt and beyond. It runs close to the eastern boundary of the airfield.
The spot incorporates a raised platform overlooking the eastern airfield, with seats and telescopes. It is not under cover, so be prepared if bad weather is forecast.
What Can You See?
The spotting location is great for watching and photographing airliners landing from the east on runways 25C and 25L.
It also has views of Terminal 2 and runway 25R arrivals in the distance, and close-up views of aircraft using the taxiway around the eastern boundary.
Photography of aircraft on approach to runways 25C and 25L is great. You’ll be able to capture everything with a 200mm or 300m zoom lens, with good light behind you most of the day.
Aircraft on the taxiway are a little close to photograph, and there’s a fence which usually obstructs the view.
Aircraft elsewhere on the airfield are too far away to photograph, and departures on runways 07C and 07R are usually too high by this point to photograph.
With flight tracking apps, you’ll be able to identify aircraft elsewhere on the airfield, or on other runways, which are too distant even for the best binoculars.
If you’re at the airport itself, the spot is around a 20 minute walk from Terminal 2.
At ground level outside the terminal, follow Hugo-Eckener-Ring past the catering and office buildings. A footpath starts to the left of the terminal when facing it, and runs alongside the perimeter fence. Eventually it rises to meet a bridge crossing the Autobahn 5 where the platform is located.
To reach the location by car, drive towards Darmstadt on the A5 and exit for Zeppelinheim. After passing over the autobahn, take the first left into the forest and find the car park, then walk towards the airport.
Finally, you can also take the S-Bahn to Zeppelinheim and walk to the viewing platform through the forest.
Berlin Airlift Memorial
As the title suggests, this spot is also the location of a memorial to the Berlin Airlift.
The mass operation to deliver vital supplies into Berlin during its blockade by the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, was staged through many West German airports, including Frankfurt.
Just a little walk further south from the spotting platform, at the entrance to the former Rhein Main Air Base, you’ll see two preserved aircraft which act as a memorial to the airlift. They are:
- Douglas C-47B 43-49081 “The Berlin Train”
- Douglas DC-4 N88887 “Rosinen Bomber”
You can easily photograph these aircraft from the fence.
What You’ll See at Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt is a major hub airport in central Europe.
It is the main operating base for Lufthansa, plus its regional and cargo partners.
You’ll also find other German carriers in abundance, like Condor and TUIfly Deutschland.
As you would expect, Frankfurt is well linked by most European scheduled carriers, as well as major airlines from Asia, Africa, North and South America, and the Middle East.
Cargo airlines are quite prevalent at night, and there are a number of biz jet movements most days.
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