Miami International Airport
|Continent: North America||Country: United States||Region: Florida|
|Miami International Airport|
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|Plane Spotting Hotels guide|
The Miami International Airport is one of the best spotting locations in the United States. Miami is a hub for South and Central American traffic (both passenger and cargo) coming into the United States, and also serves as a major hub for American Airlines. The combination of frequent international heavy traffic and a pair of excellent spotting locations make Miami a must-see destination. The nearby Opa-locka Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport can easily be combined with Miami for an all-inclusive spotting day-trip.
Official Spotting Locations
The only official spotting location at MIA is called the "holes." The "holes" is aptly named for the holes cut-out in the fence. The airport authority has provided a half dozen viewing ports cut out from the fence, ideally located for camera lenses. This location provides viewing for the approach end of RWY 08L, 08R and 12 as well as limited views of departures for RWY 26L, 26R and 30.
This spot is located on NW 25 ST, across from 65 AVE. The holes are cut in the fence just east of the US Customs building. Do not park in the Customs Employee lot, but across the street to the South. This location does not provide any shade or places to sit, many locals bring lawn chairs and water to cope with the Miami heat.
For photography, the light is best during the Winter months as the sun is further South, but photography is possible nearly all day, year round. The holes are very close to the action and no more than 250mm of zoom is necessary. If traveling with a group of friends, be aware that spots at the fence are limited and the area can get crowded.
Other Spotting Locations
NW 72 Ave and 14 St
Miami's second spotting location is not officially recognized by the airport, but is much more popular with locals than "The Holes". Known commonly as "El Dorado" or "The Furniture Store" this location is the dead-end of NW 72 AVE. Do not park in the parking lots of El Dorado or the police station, there is plenty of parking along the street. Concrete K-rails and large stones block the end of the street, these can be used as vantage points to gain elevation and shoot over the airport fence and the railroad tracks between the street and airport.
This spot affords great views of arrivals and departures on RWY 09. Most of the cargo flights and South American international heavies will arrive and depart on this runway. Again, the light is better during winter months at this spot, but can be used year round during all daylight hours. For almost all aircraft, 300mm of zoom will be plenty, even for the smaller American Eagle ATRs.
The police will occasionally stop by and ask for cars to be moved if they are blocking the street, otherwise you will rarely be hassled. This location provides plenty of shade, and a convenience store is a quick walk across NW 12th ST.
Locations to Avoid
Avoid using ladders to shoot over the fence at "The Holes". Signs specifically prohibit this and it will attract attention.
Aero Honduras (B-733), Aero Mexico (MD-87 & B-737), Aerolineas Argentinas (A-340), Aeropostal (B-727 & MD-80), AirBerlin (A-330), Airborne Express (B-762F, DC-8-63F & DC-9F), Air Canada (A-320 & B-763), Air France (B-744 & A-320), Air Jamaica (A-320 & A-321), Air Tran Airways (B-717 & B-737), Alaska Airlines (B-737 & B-738), Alitalia (B-763 & B-772), America West Airlines (A-319 & A-320), American Airlines (B-738, B-752, B-763, B-772), American Eagle (ERJ, ATR7), Arrow Air Cargo (DC-8-63F & DC-10F), Astar (A-300F, B-727F & DC-8-70F), Atlas Air (B-742), Aviacsa (B-732), Avianca (B-752, B-762, B-763 & MD-80), Bahamasair (B-732 & Dash8), British Airways (B-744), BWIA (B-738), Cape Air, Capital Air Cargo (B-727F), Cayman Airways (B-732 & B-733), Centurion Air Cargo (DC-10F), Comair/Chautauqua (CRJ & ERJ), Continental Airlines (B-733 & B-738), COPA Airlines (B-737 & B-738), Delta Air Lines (A-319, A-320, B-752, B-763, B-764 & MD-88), DHL Aviation Americas (B-727F), El Al Airlines (B-744 & B-772), Estafeta Cargo (B-732F & B-733F), Eurofly, FedEx (B-727F, DC-10F & MD-11F), Finnair, Gemini Air Cargo (DC-10F), Gulfstream Int'l (B-1900 & EMB-120), Iberia (A-346), Kittyhawk (B-727F), Lloyd Aero Boliviano (B-763), LACSA (A-320), LAN (B-763), LAN Cargo (B-763F), Lufthansa (B-744), Martinair (B-763), Martinair Cargo (MD-11F), Mexicana, (A-3119 & A-320), Polar Air Cargo (B-744F), Santa Barbara Airlines (B-752), Swiss International Airlines (A-330), TACA (A-319 & A-320), TAM (A-330), Tradewinds (A-300F & B-742F), United Airlines (A-320), UPS (A300F, B-752F & B-763F), US Airways (A-319, A-320, B-733 & B-734), Varig (B-772 * MD-11), Virgin Atlantic (A-343, A-346 & B-744)
Facilities and Transportation
Miami's spotting locations are not easily accessible via public transit. Arrive by automobile and plan ahead with water, sunscreen, and perhaps lawn chairs. MIA offers excellent spotting opportunities, but no relief from the oppressive Miami weather.