Aviation News

September 18, 2010

4 Tips For Catching Exotic Aircraft Visitors Arriving for the United Nations General Assembly

Iran Air 747SP on final approach to JFK
Iran Air 747SP on final approach to JFK. (Photo by Tom Alfano)

The United Nations General Assembly kicks off this coming week, which means a cast of characters from around the world will flock to New York aboard their rarely-seen-in-the-US VIP aircraft. Iran Air’s 747SP is expected to deliver President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libyan’ dictator Moammar Kadafi will arrive aboard his personal Afriqiyah Airways A340 5X-ONE, aka “Africa One.”

There is no telling exactly where each plane will go, but historically, JFK has seen the most visitors, along with Newark and Newburgh.

Here are 4 steps to seeing them at JFK:

1. Call JFK ATIS to hear which runways are in use: 718-995-8188

2. Study NYCAviation’s JFK Airport Plane Spotting Guide.

3. Check out the UN General Assembly 2010 info thread on the NYCAviation forums to see which aircraft might be on their way and where they are going

4. If you want to meet up with other spotters, follow us on Twitter @NYCAvitation and periodically check out the News and Spotting Planning sections of the message boards.

Remember, VIPs often mean increased security surveillance, so always carry ID and act courteously toward law enforcement.






  • speedbird1

    Also be advised that for security reasons, VIP aircraft often do not land on the same runway as the other aircraft do so there is a good chance of disappointment.For example, if arrivals are on 22L, the VIP aircraft would arrive on Rwy 22r or even on one of the 13s. Also security has been stepped-up due to the recent arrests of suspects in Colorado and in Queens. I will let others do the spotting. As for me, I'll have to be content spotting the Concorde which sits atop the Intrepid pier in Manhattan.

  • Anonymous

    When I first started spotting at JFK in the 70′s, Iran Air had a daily B747SP flight daily from Tehran to JFK. It arrived at 1515 daily but I was not interested in Iranian Air back then. Now, such an arrival is considered a major event. I did photograph the Iluyshins from the Soviet Union, LOT Polish,Tarom Romanian, and. CSA, etc. I think all the Communist airliners had to use IL-62′s, which was not the airline with a great safety record. I suppose that a few still fly.

  • http://www.uityufgrfsdhsbgcdasdgfsd.com Sharyl Warmoth

    Extremely helpful info. Wish to see more posts shortly!