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Lincoln Municipal Airport

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Continent: North America Country: United States Region: Nebraska

Lincoln Municipal Airport
Location Lincoln, Nebraska
Airport type Commercial
Overview map Google Maps
Tower 118.5
Ground 121.9
Clearance 120.7
Approach 124.0 124.8
Departure124.0 124.8
ATIS 118.05

Lincoln Municipal is one of two major airports in Nebraska (Eppley Airfield in Omaha being the other). United Express (SkyWest and Air Wisconsin), and Northwest Airlink (Pinnacle and occasionally Mesaba) are the only two commercial carriers with daily service, after American Eagle pulled service in 2001 (the route previously served by TWA mainline). United Express serves Chicago O'Hare and Denver, and Northwest Airlink serves Minneapolis and Detroit. Up until 1/3/2006, Northwest also flew to Memphis but that route was cancelled due to low load factors. On 2/1/2006, Allegiant Air (G4) started twice weekly nonstop service to and from Las Vegas.

Official Spotting Locations

Other Spotting Locations

Terminal Cafe

Admittedly, I've never been in the terminal at a time of day which would allow decent shots, but I've sat at the cafe there, and I'd imaginge that, especially during the couple hours before sunset, that it would be a pretty decent place to get shots of activity on the commercial ramp. Given its proximity to the ramp, I wouldn't imagine that anything longer than a standard zoom would be necessary for full-frame shots of CRJ's.

Parking Garage

This location is pretty decent for shooting RJ's moving on the main ramp, but you'll have to get in your shots between the light poles. It also has good views of the middle of 18/36, and decent views of the approach end of 32. CRJ's in all of these locations can pretty much be covered with a long telephoto zoom (something going out to 300mm or so) on a 1.6x DSLR. This is seemingly the best location for shooting Runway 18 Departures.

Locations to Avoid

North Airport Access Road (N Park Rd.)

As of mid-2010, the Lincoln Airport Authority and Airport Police have been asking people to leave when spotting at this location along the road north of the airport, citing security reasons.

This road connects the FBOs on the east side of the airport to the light industrial complex on the west side of the airport, running along the north perimeter fence. Good shots can be had of pretty much all arrivals from the north (runways 14, 17, and 18), and, in most situations, departures to the north (off of runways 32, 35, and 36). Occasionally, departures off of 36 can be difficult to shoot from the access road without a long telephoto (200+ mm), as, depending on where the aircraft starts its takeoff roll, it can be at quite a significant altitude by the time it crosses over the access road (36 is over 12000 feet long, giving the aircraft plenty of time to climb out while it is still over the runway). The road runs perpendicular to all three runways (it turns to pass the approach to Rwy 14 at a right angle), so time of day is less of a concern than at some locations, as it is easy to reposition yourself depending on the sun (one side of the runway vs. the other).

Shots can be had of pretty much all traffic with a lens no longer than about 200mm (on an APS-C DSLR, so about 320mm full-frame), and the larger aircraft (generally the KC-135R's of the Nebraska Air National Guard) can be shot with a 135mm lens on an APS-C DSLR.

Generally, I park my car on the north shoulder of the road, just west of the approach for Rwy 18, and then walk back and forth along the road to shoot, depending on the traffic. The fence just south of the road does have No Trespassing signs, so i tend not to try to get too close to the fence to shoot through it, but this has never really been a problem, as the road is elevated above grade, and offers better views of everything with the possible exception of ultra-long-distance shots of terminal and taxiway activity.

Gate Areas

Not as much areas to avoid as they are generally poor spotting areas, shots from the gate areas are mostly obstructed by the jetway layout at LNK. I think the only shots you can reasonably get are those when the aircraft are either taxiing past the terminal (which would be mainly United Express traffic, given the terminal and runway layout), or shots during the time when the aircraft are pulling into or out of the gate. I'd wager a guess that you'd probably only have 15 to 30 second (or less) window to get a shot during one of these activities, and given that the traffic at LNK is quite light, you'll be standing around waiting for a long time for a shot opportunity. This, combined with the fact that you'll have to be passed security, means you'd probably be better off trying to get stuff from the parking garage, which is very easy to get to from the terminal (they're connected by a bridge).

Regular Traffic

Allegiant flights are Wednesdays and Saturdays, arriving in Lincoln around noon, and leaving at 1PM. The only aircraft used is the G4-standard MD-80. Non-Allegiant traffic is almost exclusively CRJ-200's, with Mesaba very occasionally flying in a Saab 340B for Delta Connection (they used to occasionally come in with an RJ-85, before those started being removed from the fleet). United also flies in a SkyWest CRJ-700 about once a day on average. Usually, one of the daily Denver runs will be on a -700, and every so often, we'll also get one in from Chicago.

During college football season, we'll occasionally get mainline aircraft in here for team charters. If its for the Huskers, it'll be United or Northwest (usually a 757-200 for the team, I think), and if its an away team coming into town, it could really be anything. We've seen everything from a Sun Country DC-10 (when the Huskers played Iowa), to a Pan Am (Boston-Maine Airways) 727 (when the Huskers played Maine). Also, depending on the bowl game the Huskers are in, we'll also get charter operations for the fans as well. It'll depend on the game, but for bowl games, its usually a 747-400 or maybe even 2 (2001 Rose Bowl).

LNK also gets a fair bit of Biz-jet activity, as Duncan Aviation is based here. Typical fare is comprised mainly of Dassault Falcons and Cessna Citations, but occasionally, we'll get an oddity in here, like a BAe One-Eleven. I once saw a Lauda Air 737 here, but with a U.S. registration, and missing its titles. There are also still a number of people who house their GA aircraft here, but with the shutdown of the airport's only flight school, Silverhawk Aviation, piston traffic has been slow.

Facilities and Transportation