Aeronautical Randomness
Sittin’ out here watchin’ airplanes
May 25, 2012

Most aviation enthusiasts enjoy watching aircraft land.  There’s nothing better than standing at the airport fence as aircraft approach the concrete.  The larger the airplane, the better the experience.

The best place I’ve ever watched jets land is the beach next to Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten.  I have no personal video or photos, but a simple search of YouTube will reveal why it is my favorite.

A very close second is Anchorage, Alaska.  In 2008, I was up there on a layover and rented a bicycle for the day.  From town, I rode along the water and up a hill to the airport boundary.  That afternoon, PANC was landing on runway 14.  I stood at the edge of the cliff as wide body aircraft flew overhead and landed on the runway immediately behind the bike path.

Here’s a video from that day… remember, in 2008, cell video cameras weren’t as advanced as they are today.

Last week on an LAX layover, I walked about a mile and a half to grab some lunch:


In-n-Out Burger at LAX – A great place to watch airplanes

After I ate, I decided to watch some airplanes arrive.  While not as exciting as St. Maarten or Anchorage, the area near the In-N-Out Burger is still a really good location for any #avgeek.  Here are a few videos from last week:

Southwest Airlines:

Air Canada:

Alaska Airlines’ “Make a Wish/Disney” jet:

Can anyone name this airline?

About author

Renewed Pilot

I've endured a roller coaster career in the U.S. Aviation Industry. Currently flying the 737 on my third try with the same legacy carrier, I have also flown for a regional, fractional and start-up carrier. My piloting experience includes the 737, A320, 727, Citation Excel, Citation Bravo, Saab 340 and many light singles and twin engine aircraft. I reside in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee.

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There are 13 comments

  • Leslie Storie-Pugh says:

    Malaysia Airlines arrived into LAX.

    In the very, very old days there was a place next to the fence at the hold on 25R where one could have incredibly up close and personal relations with departing aircraft. The best ever encounter was a taxi, hold and takeoff of a Continental B747 in 1970 at 0200. Wingtip right over my head! Awesome simply does not describe that experience!

    Love you blogs- thanks very much for writing.


  • Paul Davis says:

    My favorites. No pics. When Continental airlines was taken into bankruptcy in 1983 by Frank Lorenzo for three days and then came back non union as an attempt to save the company from the high pay, the unions understandably screwed themselves into the ground and every landing anywhere Cal flew was watched and recorded by dozens of irate union members. They had pictures of every conceivable problem from just plain hard landings to missed approaches including one landing on a parallel taxiway. The pics and stories by the unions was published each week by about 30 national newspapers on full page adds paid for by the unions. From Continental’s point of view it was a successful maneuver, they made $50 million that year Some spectacular pictures.

  • Cook says:

    In the very “old” days, (late 70s-early 80s) I too used to enjoy watching mostly take offs near LAX. In those days there were still a couple of roads open through the decomissioned residential area West of the airport directly in line with the North complex runways. For any AvGeek, it was great fun to park on the crest of the dune and watch the heavily laden 747s claw their way into the sky. It felt like one could almost reach up and touch a wing. I’ve not been there in decades and, post 9/11, I suspect that those unofficial obversation areas are long closed. Nice Post, although the first video, PANC, seems to be audio and no video. Stuff happens.

  • Jens says:

    I love that spot at In’n Out… Now that we layover in Redondo Beach it’s too far to get there… But thanks for the nice videos!

    That last one is a Malaysian 777 by the way.

  • Micah says:

    I work for a regional out of ANC and have stood on that very spot on the Coastal Trail watching aircraft land. Very fun.

  • Joe says:

    When we lived in L.A. I finally found a “compromise” airplane watching spot. My wife would be bored out of gourd watching planes all day, so we worked out a solution. Go to Hollywood Park race track and she could bet on the ponies and I would stare at incoming planes.

  • Mike L says:

    Love that spot! My desktop at work is a picture taken there. LOVE In N Out, love aviation! Love your blog too!

  • Steve M says:

    New to the blog and I’ve made it this far in only 3 days. Great stuff!

    Being an aviation enthusiast all my life and living near boring Syracuse, NY for most of it, moving to the Capital has been almost a dream. I spent 2013 living near Dulles, which was great, but I love my new place only 3 miles from Reagan. I’m sure you’ve been to Gravelly Point. Since I “discovered” it a few months ago, I can’t stay away. Years ago back in Syracuse, I would drive to one of the private hangars early in the morning before they opened. I’d park and walk to a corner of the fence that fronted the hangar and faced the runway. Watching the planes take-off from such a short distance and listening to those DC-9s engines reverberate off the hangar doors was just an incredible experience.

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