Tue, Dec 22 2009 10:23 PM
Spotting in Europe. Frankfurt & Dusseldorf, Paris CDG & Orly.
Hotel - Intercity Hotel - http://www.intercityhotel.com/aw/Hotels/InterCityHotel_Frankfurt_Airport/~ypl/Englisch/ - Prices range between £70-£90 per night, per room.
From room 3070 excellent views could be seen of landing traffic on to 25L/R. During the day all were easy to read off from the bedroom window. There are tress in front of the hotel that do slightly obstruct your views. Also in the distance is Terminals 1 & 2 and with a good scope/bins aircraft taxiing by the terminal could be read off.
Spotting from the Terminals
Frankfurt houses one of the best viewing areas anywhere in Europe. Located on the upper level of T2 are some food court areas. The entrance to the terrace is loacted in this area. They charge 4 Euros to get on the terrace and you can come on and off as often as you like, just keep the ticket they give you safe. Before entering the terrace you have to go through a full security check. laptop has to be taken out of its case, belts also have to be removed etc etc. Once on the terrace you have excellent views of the landing and departing traffic as well as those taxxing between T1 and T2. The terrace is open daily between 10am through till 5pm. Out of these hours you can spot from the food court area inside Mc Donald's which offers the same views. Here is the view available from the viewing terrace.
Just like Frankfurt, Dusseldorf also has an excellent viewing area. The best area is located above the airports railway station. To gain access on to the viewing terrace it costs 3 Euros. From this point you can monitor the whole of the airfield. You can expect to read off all movements day and night as aircraft taxi out right in front of you. Here are the views available.
Paris Charles De Gaulle
Hotel - Ibis Hotel - http://www.ibishotel.com/gb/hotel-1404-ibis-charles-de-gaulle-aeroport-terminal/index.shtml - Prices range between £65-£85 per night per room.
On occasions I've stayed here I've always been lucky when I've asked for a high floor facing the airport. I've stayed in room 664 and 654 before and have had excellent views of T3 and the Northernly runways and taxiways. A good deal of movements can be logged from either room. During daylight hours you can expect to read everything off in view of your room , However at night time only those taxiing can be read off with a good scope. Therefore SBS/AirNav would be essential once it goes dark.
The best place to spot and photograph is from '' The Mound '' this area is located only a five minute walk from the Ibis Hotel. Next to the Ibis is also a bus station and a train station. The get to the Mound walk out of the hotel and head straight through the bus station. In the distance you will see the Sofitel Hotel and Hilton Hotel to your left. Keep going through the bus station and you will reach a large car parking area. Turn left and you will see path way which leads to this area. As you walk towards here you will see aircraft taxiing out right in front of you with the Sofitel Hotel in the back ground. Once here you can take some excellent photos. Read off what's taxiing over on to T3 and departing. And to your left you will see the action on the other Northernly runways.
Important Notice. Before making your way to Paris, if you plan to use the mound to either photograph or just spend time there reading off you need to have written permission. There is almost a certain chance you will be stopped by the airport police whilst on the mound, and they will ask if you have a permit, If you havn't, you will asked to leave straight away. You can obtain a permit by sending an email too firstname.lastname@example.org also cc in email@example.com Mark it for the attention of Le Commandant Xavier Huby. You will need to scan and attach a copy of the back page of your passport along with a cover note requesting to photograph the aircraft for personal purposes. Remember to also include your full name and address in the email. To speed up the process its ideal and polite to translate your cover note in to French. This can be easily done by typing your email as normal and then by copying and pasting it in to Google Translate. When its translated just copy and paste it back into your email and send. The process time is usualy 2-3 weeks or less and once issued its valid for life and best of all its free of charge.
Here is the view from the mound
Spotting from the Terminals
CDG has three terminals. You can spot from Inside the food court area in Terminal 2 Landside. When going back to the airport from the hotel, as mentioned the hotel faces the bus station. Take the free bus which runs around all the terminals and get off at T2. T2 has 6 areas 2A/B/C/D/E/F. Get off the bus at (2D). Walk inside and you will see the food court areas. From inside Mc Donald's you can see some aircraft parked on the AF Terminal and see some movements taxiing. Spotting airside is also fine as there are large bay windows all around.
To get to Orly from CDG is very straight forward. The easiest way is to catch the Air France coach from either the arrivals area in T1 or T2. Tickets can either be bought from the ticket booth located on the ground level of T1/2 or on the coach itself. The price is 20 Euros each way and takes between 45 minutes to 1hr.
Orly is a must visit when visiting Paris. Alot of Air France widebodied aircraft as well as there smaller Airbus fleet are based here and will not be seen at CDG. Weekdays are busy, especially mornings between 8-10am and again in the evenings between 4-7pm. During the day is quite steady but is obviously dominted by French domestic carriers. There is an excellent viewing terrace located on the upper level of the Sud Terminal. The viewing area is free to use and is open daily early from 6am-10pm in the summer and from around 10am in the winter. Here are the views available.