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Thread: JFK Planespotting Planning HELP!!!

  1. #1
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    Exclamation JFK Planespotting Planning HELP!!!

    Hey everybody, im going to New York for christmas this year and hope to get some good spotting in at JFK. Ive been looking at different spots to hang out at, but also need to know some other stuff.

    1. what is the best time for departures/arrivals etc.

    2. which location is the best.

    3. which runway gets the most heavies. (Want to see as many 747s and stuff like that as i can cause im from St.Louis and sadly nothing like that ever comes in to Stl. :(

    Also any other info would be great!!!!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member moose135's Avatar
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    1. what is the best time for departures/arrivals etc.
    You get a morning push of departures, especially with some of the Asian heavies, up until 11am or so. Evening departures will be in the dark this time of year. You will see some arrivals in the morning as well, including some Asian and European heavies. After about 2pm, you get another wave of arrivals, most of the European and Middle East stuff, including the AF A380.

    2. which location is the best.
    It all depends on weather - check the spotting maps here. NW winds are frequent in the winter, so we'll typically get Rwy 31L/R operations. For departures, Howard Beach will give you some nice bank shots on heavies, most everything else will turn before it gets to you. Most of the larger afternoon arrivals will use 31R, so the "Firestone" location will work well. The A380, however, will only use 31L due to airfield obstacles, so you will need to move if you want to get her.


    3. which runway gets the most heavies. (Want to see as many 747s and stuff like that as i can cause im from St.Louis and sadly nothing like that ever comes in to Stl. :(
    As I mentioned, it depends on the winds, if 31L/R is used, you will see more action on 31R. If the 22s are in use, most everything comes in on 22L, and the Mounds are the place to be for afternoon arrivals. The A380 will use 22L as well.

    Also, check JFK ATIS before you head out - 718-995-8188 - for runway use.

  3. #3
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    Wow thank you so much!!!!! This is every bit of info i needed and more! You are going to make my trip to NYC alot more fun! Merry Christmas and thanks again!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member moose135's Avatar
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    Shoot me a PM when you figure out when you will be spotting, and I'll see if I'm free...

  5. #5
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Same here... I will usually be around on weekends... I will add that if the 4's are in use, the Bayswater spot is your only good choice, but it is a great one as it gets you both 4L and 4R. For 4L landings and departing aircraft taxiing for takeoff as they line up, you will need 400mm but sadly, even 0 degree weather and heavy winds will not reduce the heat shimmer :-( If you are not planning on blowing up or submitting to A.net, you will love the results. The landing aircraft are a lot cleaner up until they cross the threshold of the runway at which time they will be too far for me.

    4R landings are really close, 70mm for heavies when in front of you on a full frame sensor. Perhaps even less Focal Length with crop sensor.

    22R takeoffs are also great from this vantage point as well as heavies landing on 22L and rolling off the end of the runway to Juliet taxiway. Again, far, but enjoyable ...

    Moose covered 31L but I will add that if you are looking for any FedEx or UPS heavies from 31L (the typical action for morning departures for the local cargos, they will be over you. FedEx especially. The foreign and especially Asiana, Korean, Quatar, Emirates, JAL, all take the full length and then give you nice slow soft banks.

    The best angles and distance are typically the Delta 747, British Air 747 and American 777 and sometimes 767s. EVA turns quick, China Air Cargo (Dynasty) will usually give a nice distance bank.

    If 4L takeoffs are your fare the day you go, lately JFK has been using the pattern of 1.5DME turn 100 deg and fly to the ocean... this means really fast turns and being at the mounds will have the planes over you. In this case, North Woodmere park is best. Woodmere is also good for sunrise to 8am or so for 31R arrivals. You get two back to back LAN Chile/Ecuador 767s really early as well as DHL DC-8 Tuesday to Friday.

    Lately, Flightaware has been missing A LOT of odd traffic... a lot of cargos will come in unannounced and you cannot predict it so you just have to hang out... hit or miss but I have noticed a lack of accuracy lately. For example, the other day, the Scheduled Arrivals did NOT have AFR6 which is a regualr daily A380 flight!! go figure :-) It was listed if you searched for it... but the list was missing it.

    You know about the local Acars listings for interesting JFK arrivals worth noting?

    http://www.qatipi.com/cgi-bin/acars....=JFK&CMD=today

    this is a valuable site for interesting visitors as reported via ACARS hits.

    Feel free to send PM to me as well when you are going out.
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  6. #6
    Senior Member megatop412's Avatar
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    That's too bad, STL used to get it's share of heavies back in the day. I transited through there as a kid in '85- arrived in a TWA L1011 and left for LAX in a TWA 747-131

    Have fun shooting at JFK, Costco has always been good to me as far as spots go

  7. #7
    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    All great info......JFK is a large airport and you'll definitely need wheels to get around from one spotting location to another if they switch runways.
    Mark
    Queens, NY

    My website: http://mbsphotography.smugmug.com
    My photos at: JetPhotos and ANet

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    @megatop412- Yeah my dad tells me about stuff like that and its really too bad that nothing like that ever happens anymore. i dont live that close to stl but the approach still goes relatively over my house and you never see anything bigger than a 737 but ive gotten lucky to be outside when an AA 777 flew over. :)

    And thanks everybody for all the information and ill be sure to pm you guys if i can figure out when and where im spotting. :) and just to let you guys know, im only 15. :) I was worried that you guys might be picturing me as like 30 or something but im just but a teenager!! :)

  9. #9
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    Age is your advantage :-) You could probably get away with more than me who looks like a dirty old man LOL. It's ok, really, just don't go trying to scale any fences or such! That would be bad :-)
    Manny Gonzalez
    Thrust Images | General Photography | R.I.P. Matt Molnar 1979-2013
    BRING BACK THE KJFK/KLGA OBSERVATION DECKS

  10. #10
    NLovis
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zee71 View Post
    All great info......JFK is a large airport and you'll definitely need wheels to get around from one spotting location to another if they switch runways.
    Definitly. Also watch out along the roads as quite a few have puddle areas where in the winter will freeze up into ice slicks. Not to mention some roads arent in the best shape.

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