Best places for planespotting
Since the dawn of aviation, people have looked up to the skies to watch planes flying overhead. Planespotting has become the hobby of millions around the world, thanks to official and unofficial areas where people tend to gather to track and watch planes from gliders to the Boeing 747 jumbo jet.
Whether you're a die-hard aviation enthusiast or just one who enjoys watching planes, below are seven great spots across America to look at and photograph planes above.
Washington Dulles International Airport
This international hub airport, 28 miles outside of the nation's capital, is well known for its embrace of plane spotters. Occasionally, the airport invites people, along with media, to special events with escorted access to the airport's four runways for the ultimate viewing experience. But there are also two other great spots to watch the parade of domestic and international jets taking off and landing at Dulles. The first place is the roof of the Daily Garage 2 parking lot on the north side of the facility. The second place is in the parking lot at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Pay $15 to enter the lot and plane spot outside and visit the museum to see planes including an Air France Concorde and the prototype of the Boeing 707 jet.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Arlington, Virginia's Gravelly Point Park, managed by the National Park Service, is one of the favorite plane spotting stops in the world. It earned this reputation because of how low aircraft fly on their final approach to the airport's Runway 1/19, surrounded by views of national monuments. Be sure to bring headphones or earbuds, because it gets really loud. The park also has a boat dock, picnic areas and a walking/running path to enjoy. Other great places to spot are the marina at Daingerfield Island and the balconies at the end of the airport's Terminals B and C.
Los Angeles International Airport
Kill two birds with one stone here. Go to In 'N Out Burger, located on the east side of LAX at the intersection of Sepulveda Blvd and West 92nd Street, grab a meal (get your hamburger animal style), sit at a table and watch the parade of planes landing at Runway 24R. Other spotter locations include the airport's iconic Theme Building's observation deck, Imperial Hill between Cypress and Sheldon Streets and Clutter Park in El Segundo at the intersection of Imperial Avenue and Sheldon Street.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
Serious planespotters know all about the hidden spotting deck at Concourse D near the departure lounge. The bad news is you need a ticket or pass to get through airport security to enjoy it. But once there, spotters have stellar views of not only Concourses C, D and E, but also Runway 12L/30R. There are chairs around the deck for your comfort. If you can't get to the hidden deck, the airport also has a spotting area right next to FedEx's shipping center near the intersection of Runways 12R/30L and 4/22. The airport offers free parking, picnic tables and benches.
San Francisco International Airport
Bayfront Park, located on the edge of the San Francisco Bay at Highway 101 and Marsh Road, has great views of aircraft on their final approach to Runway 1R. There are unpaved trails, benches, restrooms and a limited amount of free parking. Other spotting areas include the airport's Airtrain stations, the Long Term and West Field parking garages and the Anza Fishermen Park.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
This airport is home to the Ron Gardner Aircraft Observation Area, located near the southwest corner of Perimeter Road on Southwest 39th Street. There's plenty of parking and most people sit in their cars to watch the parade of planes. The county's Aviation Department put in a solar-powered speaker system that allows visitors to hear conversations between pilots and the air traffic control tower, as well.
McCarran International Airport
Las Vegas is home to the Sunset Viewing Area, south of the airport off Sunset Road. It's the perfect place to view planes arriving on Runway 25L and taking off on Runways 25R 7L and 7R. Another bonus -- if you set your radio to FM 101.1, you can hear conversations between air traffic controllers and pilots. There are also viewing areas at the long term green triangle parking garage and the Jack In The Box restaurant on Las Vegas Boulevard.
If you go
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A message from UNITE, United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group
Fellow United team members –
Hello from the UNITE leadership team. While we communicate frequently with our 3,500 UNITE members, our platform doesn't typically extend to the entire United family, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share some of our thoughts with all of you.
Tomorrow is June 19. On this day in 1865, shortened long ago to "Juneteenth," Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved individuals were free. For many in the African-American community, particularly in the South, it is recognized as the official date slavery ended in the United States.
Still, despite the end of slavery, the Constitutional promise that "All men are created equal" would overlook the nation's Black citizens for decades to come. It wasn't until nearly a century later that the Civil Rights Act (1964) ended legal segregation and the Voting Rights Act (1965) protected voting rights for Black Americans. But while the nation has made progress, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have made it undeniably clear that we still have a lot of work to do to achieve racial parity and inclusion.
Two weeks ago, Scott and Brett hosted a virtual town hall and set an important example by taking a minute, as Brett said, "to lower my guard, take off my armor, and just talk to you. And talk to you straight from the heart."
Difficult conversations about race and equity are easy to avoid. But everyone needs to have these conversations – speaking honestly, listening patiently and understanding that others' experiences may be different from your own while still a valid reflection of some part of the American experience.
To support you as you consider these conversations, we wanted to share some resources from one of United's partners, The National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum will host an all-day Virtual Juneteenth Celebration to recognize Juneteenth through presentations, stories, photographs and recipes. The museum also has a portal that United employees can access called Talking About Race, which provides tools and guidance for everyone to navigate conversations about race.
Our mission at UNITE is to foster an inclusive working environment for all of our employees. While we are hopeful and even encouraged by the widespread and diverse show of support for African Americans around the country – and at United - we encourage everyone to spend some time on Juneteenth reflecting on racial disparities that remain in our society and dedicating ourselves to the work that still must be done to fight systemic racism. By honoring how far we've come and honestly acknowledging how far we still must go, we believe United – and the incredible people who are the heart and soul of this airline - can play an important role in building a more fair and just world.
UNITE (United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group)
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Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, video conferencing tools that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
To use on Zoom:
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
- Start by downloading your favorite United image to your computer. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- C:\[insert your device user name here]\AppData\Microsoft\Teams\Backgrounds\Uploads
- If you're using a Mac copy the images to this folder on your computer:
- /users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds/Uploads
- If you're using a PC, copy the image you want to use into this folder:
- Once you start a Teams meeting, click the "…" in the menu bar and select "Show background effects" and your image should be there
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