Can I go Plane Spotting at a general aviation airport?


#1

Weird question… I’ve been into planes my whole life… never knew a pilot before, i’ve done a few lessons on my way to my ppl… I live in a City far away from family or aviation connections and was wondering if most general aviation airports allow people to go to the airport and kind of watch whats going on… listen in with a scanner and what not…

Any info would be great… Thanks alot


#2

Not a weird question.

I’m in the same situation. I’ve never had any problems at a general aviation airport getting on the ramp to photograph aircraft.

I follow a few simple rules:

  1. If the airport is attended, you might want to ask to enter the ramp area. More than likely you’ll be given permission.
  2. Be respectful. If you see someone by a plane you want to photograph, ask permission before shooting.
  3. If you enter through a gate in the fence, leave the gate in the some position you found it in - opened or closed.
  4. Do not, under any circumstances, enter any aircraft or hangars without permission.
  5. Do not, under any circumstances, approach aircraft with props turning or jets burning, especially from the front or rear.
  6. Have situational awareness. Be aware of all activity around you.
  7. Do not drive on the field unless you get permission.

The last three are for your safety and the safety of others.


#3

I would be doing it more to just watch everything thats going on… I’ve never seen a attendant but there are a few FBOs and Flight Schools I could go into and just ask I guess…

I’m kinda shy when it comes to that type of stuff, thanks for the info


#4

Yes! Most GA airports are pretty darn friendly. My local airport KANE built a very nice shelter with picnic tables, bbq and speakers for the tower.

I have met some great people, seen some beautiful planes, got invited on rides and got to learn a lot about aviation.

I would add that you probably should carry ID just in-case someone calls you in to the police.


#5

Sure you can, and at most places you would be very welcome. As long as you follow the “rules” above and remember, be polite and respectful of others property. You can even go into one of the high buck FBOs at an airport like Teterboro and watch the comings and goings of all the corporate iron, chances of you allowed on the ramp at that place would be unlikely unless escorted. They have snack and pop machines and you could just sit there and enjoy the view for awhile.
Smaller airports would generally be the most friendly and have the best sucess of getting closer to the planes. Tell people who you are and that you’re interested in planes and flying and most people would be only to happy to talk to you. You’ll have to put out the first handshake or you may not be noticed if you just stand alone in the corner.
Remember these people have the same interest as you, airplanes and flying, so their really not strangers. Say hello, ask questions and listen and learn from what they have to say.
Good luck!


#6

Absolutely! Like everyone else mentioned, GA airports are usually very very friendly.


#7

Aggreed they are, just contact them before you go. Maybe you can get a tour or something?


#8

No need to do that, it’s still a free country (for a while anyway).


#9

One thing I’ve found out about general aviation airports is that often you’ll find something unusual at one. I’ve found an AN-2 and Grumman Albatross at one and a Lockheed Electra tanker at another. Also found DC-3’s at several.


#10

A couple of shots from my local general aviation airport, KANE.

jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=7301719

jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=7202978


#11

Just be polite go inside and ask about where and when you can be somewhere. I did that at my local and now have free run of the place as long as stay off the runway. I’m there for pics so I have camera gear in tow.
As others have said pay attention for yourself and ALL OTHERS. Be ready for a quick flight at all times. Twice in the last couple of months I’ve been waved over and told hop in and lets go


#12

We are not quite the snobbish crowd some would lead you to believe. Contrary to popular belief, most corporate/135 guys are in the hurry up and wait mode and I pretty regularly give cockpit/airplane tours at the smaller airports. Nothing like a snarling APU and a lit up panel to convey the idea that they/you can do it too! Be curious, ask questions, and take your camera. I love to see my airplanes on FlightAware! You will generally have better luck at the smaller airports. Teterboro et.al have too much security but you won’t see too many jets at less than 5000’ runway airports. Happy Plane Spotting!