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Thread: Upcoming spotting trip - Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco.

  1. #1
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    Upcoming spotting trip - Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco.

    Good morning/afternoon/evenig,

    Long time lurker here....first time poster.

    I will be travelling to the USA from Australia in late July for two weeks visiting LA, Seattle, and San Francisco for a bit of plane spotting.

    At the moment I have two sessons booked with Star helicopters for air-to-air spotting and plan to spend the mornings and afternoons/early evenings at various locations at LAX. I'd appreciate if anyone can advise me on what to look out for, and where are the best locations for shooting at LAX during mornings and late afternoons. Besides 'In n Out' burger, what would be a good spot to take photos of aircraft landing on 24R? Also, is the westchester bridge a good place to spot? I will be renting a car in LA so transportation is no problem.

    The second stop is Seattle where i will be spending overall three days, and will be doing the Boeing tour and spotting at Paine Field and Boeing field. How busy is Paine field as I intend to spend 3-4 hours there plane spotting, hoping to catch the Dreamlifter and various un-painted aircraft.

    The third and final stop is San Francisco, I have read that it can be somewhat difficult to take good photos - other than the location in the internatonal terminal car park. Has anyone good any advice on good locations?

    Again, I really appreciate if anyone can give me any useful advice.

    I have had some rather awkward expereinces with the authorities during my spotting day at JFK, and I'd want to avoid that kind of encounter again!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    Firstly .... welcome to the forum!

    LAX is one of my favorite places to spot when visiting. LAX offers a wide variety of traffic from Asian, European, South American, and American carriers. Check your Notifications messages for a PM from me.

    Glad to hear you have a car as well, which will make things a lot easier as well. In July, the sun won't across over the runways till around 4pm, so you should position yourself on the south sides of 24s or 25s RWYS. Shooting from the Westchester bridge won't get till after 4pm, and will only get better till the sun sets. You'll probably have to contend with heat haze, but that will dissipate as the sun sets.
    Last edited by Zee71; 06-30-2014 at 06:17 PM.
    Mark
    Queens, NY

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

  3. #3
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    There are guides for PAE and LAX on the NYCA website. Are you planning to do any spotting at SEA? You'll be able to see some cool Alaska/Horizon specials.
    Adam Sheinhaus

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zee71 View Post
    Firstly .... welcome to the forum!

    LAX is one of my favorite places to spot when visiting. LAX offers a wide variety of traffic from Asian, European, South American, and American carriers. Check your Notifications messages for a PM from me.

    Glad to hear you have a car as well, which will make things a lot easier as well. In July, the sun won't across over the runways till around 4pm, so you should position yourself on the south sides of 24s or 25s RWYS. Shooting from the Westchester bridge won't get till after 4pm, and will only get better till the sun sets. You'll probably have to contend with heat haze, but that will dissipate as the sun sets.
    Thanks Zee71 for your helpful response.

    With regards to westchester bridge, i'm not entirely sure where would be the best place to park a vehicle - are there 'no stopping' signs along the road there??

    Also, how bad does heat haze get during summer over in LA? Usually I try to avoid spotting around lunchtime (too strong of a light and heat haze) to early afternoon.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by adscram14 View Post
    There are guides for PAE and LAX on the NYCA website. Are you planning to do any spotting at SEA? You'll be able to see some cool Alaska/Horizon specials.
    Yeah there are some really helpful info on NYCaviation!

    I will be spending most of my time at KPAE and KBFI when in Seattle.

  6. #6
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    OH another question is: with regards to LAX, during the mornings from say 7am to about 12:00pm, where are the best spots (good lighting, minimal backlit)?

    In summer, would 24L/R and 25L/R be used most often?

  7. #7
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    Paine Field is generally pretty slow. An average day probably fields three test flights. Sometimes they all leave in one two hour window in the morning - other times they're spread out hours apart from early morning to late evening. Flightaware can give you a good idea of what's scheduled to come in or out, but its only to be considered a guideline: flights frequently run hours behind the posted flight plan, sometimes leave early, and (especially the 787s), cancel without much notice.

    The Dreamlifters tend to visit at least once or twice per day. Times vary, lately they've been coming in at night. Flightaware tends to be fairly reliable with these.

    Aside from Boeing flights, you generally only get GA aircraft. There are several vintage warbirds (P51s, Spitfire, DC3, B25, etc) on site (thanks to HFF & FHC), but they generally don't fly during the week and when they do, don't post flight plans. Some other regulars include SWA 737s and B6 A320s for MX overhauls, Honeywell's Convair 580, and military pattern work - none of which are very frequent.

    In short, lots of interesting things happen at Paine - if you're willing to commit to lots and lots of waiting (and the possibility of coming away empty handed).

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