Doncaster Sheffield Airport
|Continent: Europe||Country: United Kingdom||Region: England|
|Doncaster Sheffield Airport|
|Location||Doncaster, South Yorkshire|
|Overview map||[ ]|
Doncaster Sheffield Airport is situated south of Doncaster, formerly known as RAF Finningley. Doncaster Sheffield Airport is a relatively quiet Airport, with the majority of operations(during the COVID-19 Pandemic) being Cargo flights and General Aviation.
Doncaster Sheffield Airport is home to numerous flying schools, and you can expect flights with these most days. 2 Excel Aviation also have a base here at Doncaster Sheffield, where they operate and maintain aircraft for the Oil Spill Response team, notably a fleet of 2 Boeing 727's and Piper PA-31's. More recently(at the time of writing), Doncaster has been home to 4 Vulcanair P68's operated by the National Police Air Service (NPAS) out of their own purpose built Hangar at the airport.
Well worth stopping by if you're in the area though, and the authorities are very friendly to spotters.
Official Spotting Locations
There are no official spotting locations as yet.
Other Spotting Locations
Runway 02 end
From the airport turn left, and head for the A638. Turn left to head south on this road. Take the first road on the left (High Common Lane). This road runs between the A638 and A614. There is a layby on the northern side offering good views and photography of aircraft landing and departing on runway 02.
Map of this location: http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=465625&Y=396545&A=Y&Z=3
Alongside the runway
From this location, continue straight past the end of the runway and you will come to a roundabout. Take the first exit, onto the dirt road (Old Bawtry Road). This road comes closer to the runway and then runs parallel to the runway for most of its length. This offers good views of all traffic landing and departing on both runways, and there is parking for the entire length in a layby that seemingly stretches the length of the runway. You are at the same level as the runway and about 40-100ft from the side of the runway. A 300mm lens is plenty for most traffic.
This spot is good for photography until about 13:00-14:00 before shots start appearing backlit.
At the time of writing in May 2021, this dirt road is now used as an access road for the Quarry site, meaning that there will be large vehicles driving up and down regularly during working hours. parking is still possible closer to the roundabout as there is a large area for parking that still allows work traffic to pass through
The other side of Old Bawtry Road provides better views of aircraft landing and departing on runway 20 or runway 02, although parking can be fairly limited as the car park area has now been blocked off.
To access this location, go back to the roundabout previously mentioned and take the exit signposted Finningley. Once you are in the village, the road bends round to the left, keep following the road until you see the “The Harvey Arms” pub, and turn down the street to drive past it (also called Old Bawtry Road). Keep driving down this road and you will come to several gaps in the hedges where cars park up to the fence to watch the activity. A few lay-bys are also available for cars to park. You can then walk down the road, past the large concrete blocks blocking car park access, and further down the path you will come to a raised mound with some blocks to stand on, allowing you to be above the fence. At this location there is only space for 3 spotters so if something special or important is arriving or departing it is advised to arrive earlier to get a space, otherwise shooting through the fence is the only option.
Runway 20 approach mound
This location is situated opposite the Chinese takeaway in Finningley. To access this location, park outside the takeaway and look opposite for the gap in the bushes, climb through this gap and walk up and along the hill on the right or left side. This gives you a clear view of aircraft on approach for runway 20 as well as the Vulcan XH558 which you can see parked directly opposite.
As far as I know, spotting at this location is possible and many spotters use it. However I hear rumours that security and the airport staff are not particularly keen on people using it, although no attempt to block access through the hedge had been made as of winter 2020.
- UPDATE(May 2021)** This location is now inaccessible due to the airport owners installing fencing that blocks access **
Parking at this location is restricted in the airport zone. As a result of this, you may need to park in a nearby housing estate, as long as it doesn’t reside in the airport zone you will be fine.
On Fourth Avenue, you will find the 2excel and Cessna Citation hangars, where you may see the Boeing 727 Oil Spill Response parked up, or any other smaller aircraft owned by the company such as their fleet of Beechcraft King Air aircraft, or a number of Cessna light aircraft for the flight training schools.
You will also see stands 16 and 17 from this location, where cargo aircraft sometimes park up, although at the time of writing this (Winter 2020), a number of aircraft are parked here in storage.
You are unlikely to be moved on by security here.
For spotting on stands 16 and 17, it may be useful to have a zoom lens, although a 55-250mm will suffice.
This location is where the majority of cargo aircraft parks up, especially since stands 16 and 17 are presently occupied. From here you will be very close to the parked cargo aircraft such as the Astral 747. Night spotting is ideal here as you can set up a tripod and take a long exposure through the fence.
This location can be found by the left side of the main terminal building.
Security sometimes ask you to vacate this location, although this doesn’t happen very regularly.
A kit lens would be suitable and would be best for this location as you are very close to the aircraft.
Stands 1 and 2
This location is not needed most of the time as aircraft don’t usually park here unless it’s relatively busy and there is no other suitable option.
However when it is in use, this location can be found down the right side of the terminal building in the Meet and Greet car park.
Security may sometimes ask you to leave this location.
A 55-250mm lens may be useful at this location as there is a double fence for part of this, and you aren’t as close as you are at the stand 5 location, although you may be fine with a kit lens.
Locations to Avoid
High Common Lane Farmer's Fields
While it may seem tempting to venture into these fields and get close ups of aircrafts in the engine test bay or on the taxiway, this is trespassing and could lead to prosecution.
The airport goes through phases of being quite busy, interspursed with hours of nothing. Unfortunately much of the movement occurs before 9.30am and after 7pm, with only 2-3 movements in between. Most days there is no activity at all between 8am and 1pm.
Consult the schedule before setting off to avoid hours of nothing.
Magma Aviation Boeing 747 freighter arrives into Doncaster on a Saturday, usually fairly early in the morning - flight number CC335.
Astral Aviation Boeing 747 Freighter arrives into Doncaster, usually on a Tuesday. Usually in the afternoon but sometimes in the early morning - flight number 8V2601
Doncaster Airport Forum Dedicated aviation forum for spotters and aviation enthusiasts as well as aviation professionals. This forum is also home to a number of other airport forums for airports around the UK.
Facilities and Transportation
The Harvey Arms pub in Finningley is fairly close to the Old Bawtry Road spotting locations, with either a 10-15 minute walk or a very short drive from the location.
The 57C bus runs directly to the Airport Terminal Building.