Planespotting Plane spotting guide: Hamburg

Have you ever stumbled across the term “plane spotting” and wondered, what that really means? In our new news category, AVIPEO.COM will explain what plane spotting is, why you should start, and what you should take care of when beginning.

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Welcome to the fourth part of our plane spotting series here on AVIPEO.COM! After you have learned what plane spotting actually is, what you should take care of when starting and what camera settings you should choose, it is now time to show you the best airports for plane spotting worldwide!

Today, we will start with Hamburg Airport Helmut Schmidt.

Hamburg Airport is Germany´s fifth-busiest airport and is located in Hamburg-Fuhlsbütttel, which is located 8.5km north of the city centre. Last year, the airport handled over 17.600.000 passengers. The two runways carried nearly 160.000 aircraft movements in total.

The airport was initially built in 1911, making it the oldest airport in the world that still operates from the same location. During the British occupation starting in 1945, it was named Hamburg Airport. In 1948, the airport was used as the northern air corridor went between Hamburg and West Berlin. Lufthansa launched its initial passenger services from Hamburg in 1955. Today, Lufthansa Technik is still having facilities at the airport.

When it comes to plane spotting, Hamburg Airport has very nice locations to offer. First of all, there is the famous “Coffee to Fly”, a café located right next to Runway 33/15. Normally, here you can take pictures of aircraft that are taking off RWY 33 or landing RWY 15. This spot is predestined for the morning hours, as you will be facing difficult lightning conditions from the later morning hours.

The next spot we want to present to you is a café as well. Café Himmelschreiber is located near the general aviation ramp next to Apron 2, Apron 4 and runway 33. From here, you can photograph take-offs from runway 33 from early noon until the evening. Moreover, you can spot planes taxiing from and to Apron 2. Usually, you will experience a lot of general aviation traffic here.

Another famous spot at Hamburg Airport are the terraces from Terminal 1 and 2. Here, you can photograph aircraft at the gates or while taxiing. The terraces are glassed but can be used without paying. If you are into night-shots, this is the spot to be! Next to the terminal buildings are various car parks. The most popular for plane spotting are Car Park P1 and P2. From here, you can spot runway 23 arrivals until noon and from P1 you additionally can photography the line-up of runway 23 as well. There is also a bridge (Flughafenbrücke) on which you can place yourself for sky-shots of runway 23 arrivals.

The next spot is located in the western part of the airport area. The so-called Krohnstiegtunnel is a tunnel that allows drivers to drive under runway 33/15 to the other side. On top of this tunnel, there are plenty plane-spotting holes, through which you can take photos without the need of a ladder. The holes have been installed by the airport and are located on both sides of the tunnel. You have to choose which side you visit - depending on the lighting conditions. The western side of the Krohnstiegtunnel is preferably used in the evening hours.

Another place to take photos of aircraft is located in the southern part of the airport. Here, near the street “Sootbörn”, there is a small hill on which several park benches have been installed. From here, you can easily take photos of aircraft arriving or taking-off on runway 05. RWY 05 is not that often in use, but if it is, this might be the location to visit!

In this small spotting-guide, we especially concentrated on locations, which do not require a ladder to take pictures. If you have some time to spend in Hamburg, you can easily just drive out and enjoy the aircraft movements. Be sure to send us your best pictures to and we might feature the picture as Snapshot of the week!

In the next part of you plane spotting series here on AVIPEO.COM, we will show you around at Los Angeles (LAX) airport, so stay tuned!


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