Just some random footage here and there that I took while on the ORD Airport Watch’s annual airport (airside) tour of Chicago O’Hare International Airport (KORD/ ORD). This tour is to thank members for their service to the local Chicagoland airports and community.

My thanks goes out to all the numerous organizations and people that worked together to make this happen. Special thanks to Joel Vargas, Ian Hardie, Peter Wagner and ORD Airport Watch board members.


ORD Airport Watch was primarily started to give aviation enthusiasts in the Chicago area a way to voluntarily use their hobby to give back to their community through informed security surveillance. Since aviation photographers spend many hours near the approach and departure ends of runways, or runways and airports in general, it makes sense to have these people trained on suspicious activity that may also occur near airports as well, both terrorism and non-terrorism related. In such situations of suspicious activity, members observe, record and report.

Additionally, O’Hare Airport has many surrounding businesses and companies that are not always friendly to “avgeeks” with cameras. The ORD Airport Watch provides for communication, openness and an accurate understanding of the hobby of planespotting that allows plane spotters to continue their hobby of enjoying aviation and watching airplanes without causing undue worry and concern from law enforcement, citizens & business and community partners who see a “suspicious person” with a “Bazooka” or “rocket launcher” when it’s actually just an aviation lover with a long-lens camera.

I realize that there has been a lot of mocking and misunderstanding online about Airport Watches in general, especially for the ORD Airport Watch. There have also been a few articles written that unfortunately make the idea look silly or like we are a bunch of people “playing cop” as we “gallantly fight terrorism”, a notion used by certain reporters to simply inspire views and page clicks. But hopefully with a greater understanding, planespotters all over the world can create their own airport watches with the help of local law enforcement agencies and increase security and safety at their own hometown airports through citizen volunteerism. Many such as Toronto, Miami and Phoenix already have.

(No, we don’t go around arresting people and yes, we at the ORD Airport Watch do wear the bright orange vests and carry official badges when spotting on airport or private property).



Membership is open to current Chicagoland residents who are interested in aviation and have a passion for safety and security at nationwide airports especially Chicago O’Hare and Chicagoland airports. There is and are membership fees, you must undergo airport security training conducted by law enforcement, you must have a complete federal background check and must volunteer surveillance hours of service every year.

If you are interested or have further questions, read or inquire here.

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It may not be used in any way without permission.

Planespotting Chicago O'Hare International Airport KORD / ORD 2015
O'HareAviation 2015