Photo community for Plane Finder and Ship Finder

I thought I might try Gatwick for a change. Having never been there, I was wondering where would be the best spot for some decent photos.

I am looking at visiting there on Friday and the weather forecast is the usual for UK; some sun, some clouds and a westerly wind.

Who can point to a couple of good spots for either arrivals or departures?

All inputs gratefully received.


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Comment by Mark Daniels on February 24, 2015 at 14:35

I'm not much help here. I did get some pretty good shots a while back of 08R arrivals from a farmer's field adjacent to Lowfield Heath Road.

I parked somewhere near to the Flight Tavern but access to the field wasn't that good and neither was parking.

The pub has since closed - not surprised as it was really terrible!

I did see people getting moved on who were parked on the road verge.

Ladders in front of the crash gates are a no-no too.

Comment by Kelvin Davies on February 24, 2015 at 17:16

Ho hum! Thanks anyway Mark. Perhaps I will need to go there very early and do some exploring!

Comment by Flyer1 on February 25, 2015 at 10:32

Hello Kelvin, the 747 you commented on was taken airside as I had a job there.If you look at the google map and zoom-in which you have done, as Mark has said Lowfield Heath Rd...08R left of map. Park in the long unmade layby in Charlwood Rd opposite the closed Pub and Caravan club site.....if you park anywhere else for 08R the police Will move you on. From your car its a walk to 08R, your going the right way if you pass Purple Parking site on your right. Lowfield Heath Rd you get sky-shots, if you go to the Crash Gates which are fully boarded you can get a lens between the metal gate and post, this will give you an aircraft/scenery shot, looking at the gates the sun if its there will be on your right. If you take a high step ladder you Must be 3mtres from the perimiter fence!

                        Right of google map is London Rd.....26L parking is very limited. There is a short layby on this road on the left as you head for Hunts Green Wood but you need to be early to get a space. From the London Rd end you have to cross 2 busy roads and then your at the fence looking down the Rwy from 26Lthe fence is about 5mtres high....if you place your lens hood against the chain-link and set your camera to the centre AF-Point most lenses work ok even if you are back from the fence and set your focus through the fence it works but you most proberbly know this. If you get close to the fence you will be removed, Good for close sky shots and terminal.

               If you look at the map for Charlwood Rd and Povey Cross Rd this is the other side of the airport there is an entrance which is a public right of way which goes past a Play School.... 'Keep Away Children are Dangerouse' !......I know I have a grandson I call Rat Boy! its a fair walk on rough ground and you cross the River Mole which is only small to the wire for ground shots.

                  Some say the best way to snap at gatwick is to take a bike go by train which takes you to 26L and cycle round, then you can get to perimeter S, 'no car parking' two rows of fence but midway down the Rwy.

           Some say its easier to take photo's inside a nucular reactor chamberthan to snap at Gatwick...hope the info helps.


Comment by Kelvin Davies on February 25, 2015 at 13:06

Many thanks for the info, Flyer1. I will no doubt read and re-read it a few more times yet as I am not sure if it is good news or terrible!

There's nothing like a job airside for good views. I once had such a job where I was responsible for the maintenance of ground to air comms, VOR, ILS, TACAN etc at something like 7 airports in western Saudi Arabia. But taking a camera airside there was not a good idea, particularly as most of the airports were dual use, shared between civil and military.

Comment by Kelvin Davies on December 16, 2015 at 14:37

An update to this thread:

At last, I got round to trying Gatwick for a couple of hours today, 16th December 2015.

Foul weather and sunrise at 08:00, who could ask for more?

Still, the All Nippon Airways B787 in the Star Wars livery (R2-D2) was coming here for a couple of days, promoting the release of the latest Star Wars film in London.

I spent a couple of hours on Google Earth last night and eventually settled on a spot on a small bridge above the M23 motorway. This involved parking my car in a small road which had a small lay-by, big enough only for 1 car. The ANA flight was scheduled for 08:10 but was a little delayed (fortunately!). Fortunate to find a parking spot but unfortunate to have to make an almost 1 mile hike!

I soon found that taking aircraft photos 20 minutes before sunrise is fruitless! I was joined at my chosen spot by another enthusiast and while waiting for the flight, a police car arrived from out of what was virtually a jungle. A couple of nice coppers who spotted straight away what we were doing there and explained to us they had received a couple of calls from drivers on the M23 that they thought we were going to jump off the bridge!

A couple of hours later, when my companion had left, another police car arrived. This one had plods with guns! They asked if I was there for the ANA flight and I explained they had missed it by a long while. Yes, they said, we know. They were checking that I was the same person they had received the calls about earlier and said they were still getting calls from "concerned" motorists and I would have to go. No amount of reasoning was going to sway them and I was awaiting the imminent arrival of a Pegasus flight and Icelandair TF-ISY. I managed to keep them talking long enough to catch this pair of planes before leaving. They were insistent on my leaving as they were getting fed up with getting calls about my being a possible jumper!

Still, I have figured out how to get round that for my next visit! Having logged 30 'new' aircraft in the 3 hours I was there, I shall be going back again.

Comment by Mark Daniels on December 16, 2015 at 14:51

Oh Wow - that was a bit of an experience then!

Good of the motorists to report you I suppose!!

Still - good too see that you captured the Star Wars B787 :o)

What is your master plan for avoiding more motorist calls next time?

Comment by Kelvin Davies on December 16, 2015 at 15:01

The "master plan" is to stay off the bridge until an aircraft is approaching, pounce on the bridge centre and leg it back to the bridge approach. Luckily, that road is signed as a dead end so very little traffic uses it. Sounds like a Baldrick plane, doesn't it?

Something that surprised me was the number of Norwegian flights.10 of them in the space of 2.5 hours! I was beginning to think I was in Oslo!

Comment by Mark Daniels on December 16, 2015 at 15:20

Thanks Kelvin,

That is a genius plan :o)

I can't see a fault in it!

Sounds like you've uncovered a plan for a Norwegian takeover!

My son flew to the US on a Norwegian 787 from London as it was cheaper that any other flight he could find!

Comment by Kelvin Davies on January 21, 2016 at 10:06

Well, yesterday showed only 1 "new to me" arrival at Heathrow but Gatwick seemed to offer lots.

Rather stupidly, I left home a lot later than I had intended and had to suffer the M25 speedway, 5mph in places!

I followed Flyer1's advice, found my way to the long lay-by and set off on the hike to the West end of the airport where there was another spotter. The airport was using 08R so we had a good view of arrivals on approach. The other chap told me about the crash gate just beyond the approach lights and how I could possibly poke my lens through the gap in the gates, where they have the padlocks etc. A decent sized hole through which you can get some shots of the departing aircraft taxying toward the active runway.

Through judicious use of Planefinder, I was able to spot the gaps in arrivals and what was on the way out so I walked from the original spot to the gate, get some departing aircraft shots and get back to the original spot for the next inbound flight.

Brilliant sunshine the whole time and I ended up with 350 photos of 28 aircraft I had not seen before, plus a couple I had seen in December but in terrible weather. According to a couple of people there, it was a "quiet day"! Oh, and for entertainment there was a couple of semi-tame robins that would hop round our feet, waiting for crumbs from our sandwiches.

To think, I had been toying with the idea of going to Calshot but there was only 1 ship movement worth going for. I think I made the right choice!

Comment by Mark Daniels on January 21, 2016 at 13:41

Hi Kelvin,

Good to hear that your battle through the M25 car park was so worthwhile.

Calshot is always nice but it does sound like you made the right choice.

Look forward to seeing some of the results of your trip.

Nice to hear that Plane Finder did a good job for you too :o)

Thanks for updating us all.


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