In the morning of my second day in Miami, I was spotting at “the holes,” as the southern runway was closed briefly. The main aircraft I was hoping to catch was a departure of the Avior A340 to Barcelona. The two German spotters I met the day before had similar intentions when I ran into them at the spot.
They had spent the morning at Fort Lauderdale catching an AZUL A330, and just arrived back from Fort Lauderdale to catch the A340. Once it departed, I joined them, and we headed to the El Dorado spot along the southern runway. However, as there was nothing “special” scheduled, we decided to head to Fort Lauderdale as an Air Transat A310 was heading there among other aircraft.
North Runway (10L) Official Viewing Area
After about 40 minutes on the road, we parked at an official aircraft observation area next to the northern runway, RWY10L. Besides it just being a parking lot, there is a speaker transmitting the ATC frequencies. Other than that, there are no facilities.
The place offers great views of aircraft landing on the runway, as well as aircraft taxiing to it. In fact, the taxiway is just behind the fence – only about 65mm of focal length (36mm equivalent) is required for a 737-800 on the taxiway.
Unfortunately, there is no platform to see over the fence. However, there is a guard rail on which you can stand. This works kind of well for arrivals, and not so well for aircraft taxiing by. To get clean shots, I suggest shooting through the chainlink fence. It takes some time to get used to, but in the end is the best solution. A lens with smaller diameter will come in useful here.
The “Canadian Festival”
A couple of minutes after we arrived at the spot, the Air Transat A310 landed.
For the rest of the two and a half hours that we stayed there, we also saw a pair of Air Canada Rouge 767s, an Air Transat Boeing 737-800, and one each of West Jet Boeing 737-600 and -700.
There was also a pair of Sunwing Airlines Boeing 737-800s – both wearing the base livery of Thomsonfly – one wearing the old one and one the new one. The one wearing the older one was registred in Canada while the newer one was wearing a “G-“ registration.
Most of the Canadian traffic at Fort Lauderdale seems to be bringing in and out cruise ship passengers. There is a lot of Canadian traffic especially on Sundays – which was the day we went there.
The Rest of the Traffic
As for domestic airlines, during our time there, we were able to catch aircraft of all three of the mainline carriers – American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United – with aircraft types ranging from an MD-88 and an A319 through 737s all the way to 757s.
What makes Fort Lauderdale interesting, though, is the domestic traffic that cannot be seen at Miami airport. During our session there, we were able to see multiple aircraft from Southwest Airlines and JetBlue – both of which have significant presence at the airport and use predominantly the northern runway.
We were, luckily, also able to see one Spirit Airways A321. While the airline operates many flights from the airport, it mainly uses the southern runway. Apart from that, we were able to get a Virgin America A320 and an Allegiant Air MD-83.
In terms of international traffic, an Emirates 777-200LR landed while we were there. Unfortunately, on the southern runway. The only non-Canadian international movements that we were able to get was a Bahamasair Boeing 737-500. There was also an ATR from the same airline, but heat haze and aircraft holding on the taxiway got in a way of getting a good photo.
Finally, the airport seems to get a fair amount of business aircraft movements as well. During our stay, no less than four of them departed.
Heading Back to Miami
After about two and a half hours of spotting – after capturing the newer Sunwing 737 and a Delta MD-88 both of which are mentioned above – we decided to head back to Miami to catch a Wamos Air 747 opeating for Air Berlin.