FlightAware Discussions

Anyone in Des Moines, Iowa area.

I live to the west of Des Moines and do alot of plane spotting from my house because flights comming in from Denver, LA, Las Vegas, ect. fly right over. As we are nearing the summer time I will have time to go over to the DSM airport to do spotting but I don’t know where I should go. Does anyone have any ideas on where I can go to get some good plane spotting done?

I go to the top floor of the parking ramp. You do have to pay the hourly fee,but it’s the best place to see everything. The North side is good for Runway 23 landings,and the South side is good for runway 31 landings. I haven’t had any problems,other than spotting scopes scare the security people. If you have questions let me know.


Thanks man! Is that where you were when you got alot of your pictures at DSM? That looks like a great spot!

Ever since McKinley Ave. was realigned (closing off the “blue lights” parking area) “free” spotting at KDSM just isn’t the same. Other than the garage vantage points that Doug mentioned, there is the back parking lot of Perkins on Mckinley east of Fleur for 23 landings… Or if they’re landing 31, there’s the back corner parking of the Best Western on Army Post Rd.

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Yes,that’s where I took most of my pictures. If you type KDSM on the pictures section,there is a picture that my son took of a UPS A300 landing with the US flag under it,that was taken from Perkin’s parking lot.


I got into aviation a few years ago. I wish I was into it back when that parking area existed. Was it right at the end of the runway? Cause those would be some awesome pictures!

That is an AWESOME picture! You should get that framed. I did 3 full days of spotting up at MSP last spring. Got the US Airways Pittsburgh Steelers airplane and a Northwest B744.

It was HERE.

My Mother used to take me there as a little kid…where I became an “airport fence hanger”, and where my road to aviation began…

I’ll let my son know that you liked it. The Blue Lights was toward the end of Runway 13. The area is now part of the Air Guard. I’m heading up to MSP in a week or two. Not alot of variety airline wise,but the action is almost non stop. Sure wish Des Moines would get more mainline aircraft.


MSP is nice because it isn’t just CRJs and the United A320 like Des Moines is. I remember when I was young, my aunt and uncle lived in a town house right under runway 13. There was a lot of action going on. 757s comming in and everything!

I did catch a Southwest 737 on Saturday. It was a charter flight from Tacoma,WA. Have you ever gone to Omaha to watch planes?

No, Im finishing up my highschool years so I don’t really have much time to drive 2 hours out there. I’ll probaly go out there this summer.

That looks like it was a perfect spot. It looks like it still kind of is. You can see where they extended the runway. Like I said to Doug, runway 13 is where my road to aviation began as well.

Damn…I’m getting old. I remember when Waukee was waaayyy out of town… :wink:

Haha! Eventually Adel will be part of Des Moines!

Don’t feel bad I remember when it was way out of town also.


I just uploaded some pictures from the Cancun Airport when I went down there in March. The picture quality isn’t the best because they were taken from inside our airplane. It was pretty cool seeing Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, and alot of Mexican airlines. Along with a 4 month old American Airlines 737-800 (N980AN)

It’s certainly not the “Des Moines” that I left…hmmmm…about right before you were born. :open_mouth:

It’s grown so much! Theres hardly any cornfields in the Des Moines area anymore!

If you ever go to Omaha to planespot, head around to the north side of the field, along Lindbergh Plaza. There are a couple of parking lots to the northeast past the post office that you can sit and spot all day. I used to go there all the time when I lived there. Unless the winds call for it, calm wind runways are the 14s and 18, and that parking lot there puts you right next to the PAPIs for 14R.

EDIT: okay… I’m really going to date myself here, but who cares, eh? :slight_smile: Okay… What ever happened to Adventureland in Des Moines? I last remember going to it in 1985, and had fun there, but don’t know what happened afterwards… and obviously it isn’t on Google Maps, but just to satisfy my curiosity… did they pave paradise and put up a parking lot, as the song goes?