Sunday, August 5, 2007

Eye On The Sky

Out of all the major airports in the United States, few provide greater opportunities for plane spotting and photography than KLAX. Below, an area map shows the six most popular locations for aviation photography in the immediate vicinity surrounding the airport. Additional information for each photo location can be found by clicking on the provided links below.

Site Map


(1) In-N-Out. Probably the most popular location out of the six to be mentioned for aviation photography, this site has become legendary for the dramatic shots photographers can get of jetliners on final approach for runway 24R/6L, the In-N-Out site being just a few hundred feet away from the runway threshold. Slightly obstructed views are also provided for landings on 24L/6R, and when winds dictate, takeoff's in the opposite direction.

Imperial Hill
(2) Imperial Hill. The most popular spot at KLAX for acquiring aircraft registrations and the second most popular for aviation photography, Imperial Hill provides a commanding view of the southern half of the airport, excellent for witnessing take-off and landing operations on runways 25R/7L and 25L/7R. Several tables and benches are provided for the general public to enjoy the view, as well as two telescopes.

(3) The Flight Path Learning Center Museum provides a close up view of the southern runways, runway 25L/7R itself being only a few hundred feet away. The museum is adjacent to the Qantas and NCA cargo operations at LAX, and itself has auxiliary parking positions just outside its main gallery windows for use by the airport. On occasion, some of LAX’s more unusual visitors can be found parked at these positions. A multi-frequency radio scanner inside the museum provides an opportunity to listen in on ground operations as they happen in front of you.

Proud Bird
4) The Proud Bird. Similar to the In-N-Out but providing a more "proper" restaurant setting, the Proud Bird is situated a few hundred feet from the runway threshold hold for runway 25L/7R, and provides good views of planes on final approach, or take-offs in the opposite direction when needed, for both southern runways. Themed after the Second World War, the restaurant has several vintage fighters on static display in an outdoor patio area.

5)Vista Del Mar. Paralleling the Pacific Ocean, the Vista Del Mar drive can be a difficult location to photograph from, as only climb and belly shots are practical from along the coast. However, a setting sun can provide a most dramatic backdrop to planes heading out towards the Pacific Ocean.

Northside Parkway
6) Westchester Parkway. My last location and also the most difficult to photograph from, Westchester Parkway runs parallel to runway 24R/6L and is an excellent location from which to see landing operations for that runway. Loitering in the surrounding areas is prohibited, but only a few minutes time is needed for spectacular shots. An unobstructed view of operations for the parallel runway 24L/6R can also viewed from here.

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