I hadn't been to Frankfurt since 1999 and when a friend suggested a trip there for a few days in June I was keen to go, the plus points this time were that we would have a hire car and I would be able to see a couple of viewing spots that I hadn't been to before on my previous visit.

Frankfurt has a Spectators Terrace close to the action and it is very popular for that reason but as I am a "shooter" only and not a spotter who logs registrations it can be quite frustrating as it is South facing so the sun is in front for most of the day only getting behind in early evening.

During the morning it is particularly bad as the sun is well in front so you are limited to shooting aircraft using the links to the left and right of the Terrace plus a few others that use the Stands behind the Terrace, everything taxiing close right in front of you is a dead loss until well into the afternoon.

There is however a viewing spot at the shorter cross Runway 18 that is good from mid afternoon onwards where you can shoot aircraft using it at about the liftoff point which I failed to find during my 1999 visit, on one of my days there I set off in late morning on foot as their isn't a public bus service on this road expecting a long walk but it was more than I bargained for.

Although I had a rough idea where it was I didn't know how long it would take me to get to it or what it would look like but I reckoned up to an hours walking was acceptable since I wouldn't have been able to use the Terrace anyway because of the bad sun angle in the morning.

Walking away from the Terminal there is a pavement all of the way so I plodded on and after 75 minutes I finally got to the bottom of the long road where it curves away to the left which I knew was the general direction to head but on reaching this point the road stretched out away in the distance and there was no sign of a viewing place so I gave up and walked all the way back.

After this fruitless search 4 years ago I was really interested to see what the place looked like and this was my chance to visit it at last, I had seen many shots in magazines and on Airliners.net taken from there and it looked good so this would be one of my main interests on the trip.

When I was there four years ago I didn't realise that there was also a viewing place on the opposite side from the Terminal just before the Military base and that is where to go in the mornings rather than having to just sit on the Terrace passing time until the sun goes around behind much later in the day.

My travelling arrangements this time were to fly from Prestwick to Hahn on Ryanair then take the Ryanair bus to Frankfurt Airport, I knew that Hahn was quite a distance away from Frankfurt and was wary of the connection but I understood that the bus goes direct from Hahn Airport to Frankfurt Airport so ideal for me.

When I got to Frankfurt I would meet up with my friend who was coming from Gatwick and we would pick up the Hire car and head off for some shooting provided that the weather was okay then make our way to the ETAP Hotel at Offenbach about 20 minutes drive away.

As it happened another friend had a week off and was travelling about so he arranged to be at Frankfurt at the same time and like myself he had only been to the Terrace and not the two other places.

I made my way to Prestwick by train and boarded the Ryanair 737-800 in late morning for Hahn taking a window seat as usual near the back on the right hand side and settled in with my bag under the seat in front with the tightening string loose so that I could make a quick grab for the camera if something interesting appeared.

Sitting on the right hand side turned out to be lucky because what I didn't know was that the route took as over Heathrow and I happened to notice it down below which wouldn't have happened from the other side, naturally I couldn't get the camera out of my bag quick enough and fired off a few shots.

You never really know how shots through aircraft windows are going to turn out depending on distortion through the perspex particularly with downward angles but my Heathrow shots were not too bad although you always tend to lose some of the natural colour from them.


(In Flight 20-6-03).

The Ryanair flight arrived at Hahn on time and we all walked across the Tarmac into the Terminal Building, while doing this I noticed a lot of people standing behind glass looking down at us and it wasn't workers so I made a mental note to try and get to this place before boarding my flight home and see if it was a viewing area.

After waiting 20 minutes for my luggage to come through I was quickly outside but had to wait nearly an hour for the next bus to Frankfurt so I sat outside the Terminal in the very warm weather.

The bus fare to Frankfurt was 11 Euro's single so not bad considering the distance involved, to put in in perspective it was about a third of the cost to go from Gatwick to Heathrow on the Express bus at their extremely high prices so after 1 hour and 5 minutes the bus arrived outside the Frankfurt Terminal at 4-30pm and I made my way up to the Spectators Terrace.

I had about 20 before meeting my friend coming in from Gatwick so it was time to get the camera out and shoot a few interesting ones as at this time of the day the sun is going behind when you are on the Terrace and improves until dusk.

I only had 15 minutes on the Terrace but during that time an Aeroflot TU154 arrived and just following it was the daily Lan Chile A340, a nice one to start off with.

We met up and sorted out the hire car then proceeded away from the Terminal to find this viewing spot at runway 18, I was interested to see how far away from it I was when I did that 75 minute walk trying to find it 4 years earlier and it was just as well I gave up that time because I reckon it would have taken about another 45 minutes to get there.

Typical of Germany there is a cycle track all the way from the Terminal so if you don't have transport hiring a bike somewhere would be a good means to get to it, it's definately too far to walk there.

The weather was ideal and on getting to the viewing spot at 5-40pm we found a fairly small raised structure that cleared the fence with little to spare butit was slightly short of where the liftoff point is, the sun is behind you at this time of the so ideal for using a camera.

There is plenty of action on this runway and the two good ones that landed when I was on the Terrace briefly both used this runway to depart so I got some nice shots of the Aeroflot TU154 and Lan Chile A340 flashing past at speed.

I took my last shot of the day at 7-40pm as some cloud had built up on the horizon blocking out the sun and anyway we still had to check into the ETAP Hotel at Offenbach so that was my first day and with an excellent weather forecast for the next one things were looking good for a busy day with the camera.

Lan Chile
(Frankfurt 20-6-03).

Lan Chile
(Frankfurt 20-6-03).

(Frankfurt 20-6-03).

RA-85647 TU154
(Frankfurt 20-6-03).

Air Nostrum
(Frankfurt 20-6-03).

Page 2 (Saturday 21st June 2003 (26 photos).

Page 3 (Sunday 22nd June 2003 (19 photos).

Page 4 (Monday 23rd June 2003 (4 photos).

Page 5 (Frankfurt Viewing Map) (9 photos).
(click on the red text to access the page)

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