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Los Angeles International Airport

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Revision as of 16:57, 19 July 2007 by David (talk | contribs) (→‎Terminal 6: add VX)
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Continent: North America Country: United States Region: California


Los Angeles International Airport
Location Los Angeles, California
IATA code LAX
ICAO code KLAX
Airport type Commercial
Website http://www.lawa.org/lax/welcomeLAX.cfm
Overview map Google Maps
Communications
Tower 133.90 North
120.95 South
119.80 Helicopters
Ground 121.65 North
121.75 South
Clearance 121.40
Approach 124.30 Feeder
124.50 Final & Feeder
124.90 Feeder
127.40 (LEENA4)
128.10 (VISTA2)
Departure124.30
125.20
ATIS 133.80 Arrivals
135.65 Departures
Departure128.55

Official Spotting Locations

Theme Building

There is an observation deck on top of the Theme Building, which has been closed since 2001. The Encounter Restaurant located in the theme building is open. This location is generally considered poor for photography since it is distant from aircraft, except for airport overview shots, though it is good for spotters who just which to watch traffic or log tail numbers.

Other Spotting Locations

International Terminal

The Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) has a food court upstairs which is not in the secure area and overlooks the North-South taxiway affording close encounters with the heavies. Photography is possible through the glass but you need a 25-80mm zoom or similar, and reflections are a problem. In theory movements on both sets of runways can be logged here with suitable optics, but there have been instances of 'enthusiastic' spotters causing the customers to freak out and call security. Discretion and restraint are necessary if you intend spending any time here.

Imperial Hill

In the city of El Segundo. A small roadside park at the intersection of Imperial Avenue and Sheldon Street. A few tables and seats, for other facilities you need to walk west down the hill (towards the ocean) to the small shopping plaza. MTA bus route 439 has a stop right at the park.

All movements on the South runways can be logged here although care must be taken not to miss those arrivals which turn off early. Some photography possible when traffic is westerly, few arrivals come far enough down although spectacular departure shots can be had with a long (300-400mm) lens. On the rare occasions traffic is landing to the East this is one of the finest locations in the land. Aircraft taxiing on taxiways B and C in the general vicinity of the American Airlines hangars, American Eagle remote terminal building, taxiways Q and S, and the Tom Bradley International Terminal can be photographed from here with a sufficiently powerful lens (300-400mm).

  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large (25R departure)
  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large (taxiway B)

In-n-Out Burger

At the corner of Sepulveda and Westchester, 10-15 minutes walk from the airport. Small grass area across the road from which all movements on the Northern runways can be seen. Limited photography as arrivals are almost directly overhead, and you are facing South. However, walking to under the approach lights and jaywalking across Lincoln Blvd. can yield some very nice shots of inbound aircraft. Parking in this area is limited (for those driving to the spot) depending on the time of day if you park on the street, and can be sparse during lunch hours (1100-~1430lcl).

There is a multi-storey car park with good views from the top floor. No photography signs are present, and you will likely be told to leave.

Westchester Boulevard

Some other possibilities in the same area as the In-n-Out. A bridge about 1/4 mile West provides good photos but anyone standing there is very visible. Two car parks either side of Sepulveda, one at ground level (E) the other a multi-story (W). None of these locations are very satisfactory for a long stay.

Proud Bird Restaurant

Off Aviation Boulevard beside the approach to the Southern runways. Good landing shots but care must be taken to avoid lampposts and trees. Take the B parking shuttle from the airport. Shots can be taken from both the parking lot, and from the "backyard" where the old planes are on display. A good lens is suggested. To achieve shots similar to those taken by In n' Out, walk north on Aviation Blvd. to under the approach path for 25L (you will see the ILS antenna). Be warned as there is no sidewalk, so caution is advised when going for a shot.

Flight Path Learning Center

The Flight Path Learning Center is located at 6661 Imperial Hwy, and was formally known as the "Imperial Terminal". This building used to house some charter flights, and regular scheduled flights from "MGM Air". It sat empty for 10 years until it was re-opened as a learning center for LAX. The center contains information on the history of aviation, as well as several pictures of the airport (some notably from famed photographer Sam Chui) as well as aircraft scale models, flight attendant uniforms, and general airline shwag (playing cards, china, magazines, signs, even a TWA gate information sign). If you ask nicely, one of the fine docents (who are usually retired Flight Attendants who started work in the 1950's, or have been working at the airport for many years. Great conversations to be had), they will be glad to open one of the restricted access doors and allow you to stand out on the tarmac (behind a small fence) to get shots of the South side. The center is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and the first Saturday of each month from 10am to 3pm. While it does not provide the greatest shots, it is defiantly worth a visit.

http://www.flightpath.us/

Radisson Hotel

There is a lounge on the roof of the hotel, step outside and shoot from the rooftop. Please keep in mind this hotel is private property, so it is suggested that you only use this location if you are staying at the hotel or a paying customer of the lounge. Recent reports indicate that this location is only accessible after 5pm, when the lounge opens.

Locations to Avoid

Westchester Bridge

See above.

Cargo Parking

There are 2 parking lots off the first and second cargo roads respectively. These were good locations prior to September 11, 2001, but are now patrolled frequently by not-very-friendly LAWA police and spotters will be asked to leave. However, a two person operation could be useful. Some have reported good experiences driving through the cargo complex. A common method is to drive constantly, stopping only when no police are around.

Spotting Locations Map

<googlemap lat="33.943716" lon="-118.404465" zoom="14"> 33.944125, -118.402426, Theme Building 33.943431, -118.4091, Tom Bradley International Terminal 33.930934, -118.411578, Imperial Hill 33.953644, -118.39674, In-n-Out Burger 33.935581, -118.377353, Proud Bird Restaurant 33.931962, -118.405446, Flight Path Learning Center 33.946021, -118.395152, Raddison Hotel </googlemap>

Regular Traffic

Terminal 1

  • Southwest Airlines (Boeing 737)
  • US Airways (Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Airbus A321)
    • America West Airlines (Airbus A319, Boeing 737)
    • America West Express/Mesa Airlines (Bombardier CRJ-200, Bombardier CRJ-900)

Terminal 2

  • Air Canada (Airbus A319)
    • Air Canada Jazz (Bombardier CRJ)
  • Air China (Boeing 747)
  • Air France (Boeing 777-200)
  • Air New Zealand (Boeing 747, Boeing 767, Boeing 777)
  • Aviacsa (Boeing 737)
  • Avianca (Boeing 767)
  • Hawaiian Airlines (Boeing 767)
  • KLM (Boeing 747)
  • LACSA
  • Northwest Airlines (Airbus A319, Airbus A320, Boeing 747, boeing 757, Boeing 767)
  • TACA (Airbus A321)
  • Virgin Atlantic (Airbus A340-600)

Terminal 3

  • AirTran Airways (Boeing 737)
  • Alaska Airlines (Boeing 737, McDonnell Douglas MD-83)
    • Horizon Air (Bombarider CRJ-700, Bombardier Q400)
  • ATA Airlines (Boeing 737)
  • Frontier Airlines (Airbus A319)
  • Midwest Airlines (Boeing 717, McDonnell Douglas MD-88)
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Sun Country Airlines (Boeing 737)
  • WestJet (Boeing 737)

Tom Bradley International Terminal

  • Aer Linugs
  • Aeroflot
  • Air India (Boeing 747)
  • Air Pacific (Boeing 747)
  • Air Tahiti Nui (Airbus A340-300)
  • Alaska Airlines (arrivals from Mexico)
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Asiana Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific Airways (Boeing 747)
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Copa Airlines (arrivals)
  • El Al Israel Airlines
  • EVA Air (Boeing 747)
  • Japan Airlines (Boeing 747)
  • Korean Air
  • LAN Airlines
  • LAN Peru
  • Lufthansa
  • Malaysia Airlines (Boeing 747)
  • Mexicana de Aviación
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Qantas Airways (Boeing 747)
  • Singapore Airlines (Airbus A340-500, Boeing 747)
  • Swiss International Air Lines
  • TACA (evening arrivals)
  • Thai Airways International (Boeing 747)

Terminal 4

  • American Airlines
    • American Eagle (Bombardier CRJ-700, Embraer ERJ-140, SAAB 340B)
  • Qantas Airways (Boeing 747)

Terminal 5

  • Air Jamaica
  • Delta Air Lines
    • Delta Connection/ExpressJet Airlines (Embraer ERJ-145)
    • Delta Connection/SkyWest Airlines

Terminal 6

  • Aeromexico
    • Aerolitoral (Embraer ERJ-145)
  • Continental Airlines
    • Continental Express/ExpressJet Airlines (Embraer ERJ-145)
  • Copa Airlines (departures)
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin America (Airbus A320) - begins August 8, 2007

Terminal 7

  • United Airlines
    • TED (Airbus A320)

Terminal 8

  • United Airlines
    • TED (Airbus A320)
    • United Express/SkyWest Airlines (Bombardier CRJ-200, Embraer EMB-120)

Facilities and Transportation

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority operates several bus lines that serve LAX and the surrounding area. Consult their web site for specific information. They also operate the Metro Rail system, with service to LAX provided at the Green Line's Aviation/LAX station, where a free shuttle bus provides connections to the airport terminals.