Brussels South Charleroi Airport Spotting Guide

Located 5km at the north of Charleroi city and about 40km south of Brussels, Charleroi Airpprt also called BSCA (Brussels-South Charleroi Airport) is the second busiest airport in term of passengers in Belgium. The airport is dedicated to low cost carriers Ryanair and Wizzair. The main terminal is at the northeast of the single runway called 07-25. Old terminal with the tower at the south is dadicated to business aviation.
Runway 25 is usually in use for landings and departures, 07 about  a maximum of 30 days a year due to the regulars west winds on the country. About traffic, 18 B738 Ryanair are based in Charleroi. The rest of the traffic is operated by Jetairfly and Pegasus Airlines. In the summer time some charters flights are operated by Tailwind of some others companies. Expect about 80 flights a day. Traffic is boring and repetitive, go for a specific reason and look schedule on the airport’s website.
At the north-west the Sonaca factory build some pieces for Airbus and Embraer. At the southwest SABCA factory is an important fighters maintenance center. Some military flights with fighters or transportation airplanes like C130 or Transal comes but It is quite rare. There is no freight activity but some business jets instead. Airport is closed from 11pm till 6am.

There is no problem with police but sometimes private security assimilate spotting as a crime so just explain what are you doing there. Belgian’s laws don’t forbid aviation spotting. If you use a ladder at the fence, use it just to take your picture then take distance till the next movement. Unfortunately along the “Rue des Fusillers” It’s not possible to see the runway anymore due to a new mont build by the airport for noise restrictions. There are two cheap hotels at the proximity of the airport. There are bus shuttles from Charleroi-South station and they are connected with trains to everywhere in Belgium.

Written by Cedric Valence (local spotter)

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Weather
Airport Informations Runways 07L/25
2.550 m (8,366 ft)
Terminals Terminal General Aviation (old terminal)
Ryanair, Wizzair, Jetairfly, Pegasus, Tailwind Private Wings, Buisness jets, Light aviation

 

Spotting Informations Ladder Necessery for points 5, 6, 7 and 9
Car There is a bus network around the airport
Restrooms Availlable at all points except 6
Drinks/Food Availlable at all points except 6
Hotels Baladins Hôtel and Ibis Budget
Season Best in summer
Runway Usage  07/25 All traffic, 25 is usually more in use due to mostly west winds

Spot #1 – Ransart place “Louis Delhaise”
WHERE From a corner of “Ransart” village’s place  is a little street called Louis Delhaise. Park your car on the Ransart place. You may join this place with the busses number 68 from the airport or from Charleroi South station. Go to the end of this dead end road and you’ll find spot 1.
WHAT You’ll see the airplanes arriving runway 25 and apron activities. It’s possible to take also pictures of taxi and line up runway 25 but you need a ladder, it’s far and there are heat haze
TIME Light is good there from 8AM till 3PM.
MISC. There is a village pub at the corner with restooms but you may drink something.
FOCAL LENGTH Use about 250mm for a B738 in final runway 25. Departures 07 are usually too high.


Spot #2 – Approach 25 on the street “Rue d’Heppignies”
WHERE On a sidewalk along the street “Rue d’Heppignies” you find spot #2. It’s not allowed to park your car along the street, then use the airports paying parking P3 or the streets in Ransart village for free.
WHAT You may take pictures of landings runway 25. Departures are not shootable.
TIME Light is good from 8AM till 3PM then join point 3.
MISC. You’ll find food, drinks and restrooms at gaz station at spot #3.
FOCAL LENGTH Use 80mm for a B738.

Spot #3 – Approach 25 at “Rue d’Heppignies” roundabout and gaz station
WHERE Drive on the “Rue d’Heppignies” till the roundabout avnt you’ll see a gaz station. You may park your car at the gaz station but if you stay a long time preffered parking is along the “Avenue Jean Mermoz”. Don’t let value things in your car there it’s not really a secure place.
WHAT Approach 25 shots are possible in the late afternoon from the roundabout of the airport’s street. Departures are not shootable.
TIME Light is good in the long days from 5PM till sunset
MISC.  You’ll find food, drinks and restrooms at the gaz station.
FOCAL LENGTH About 120mm for a B738

  Spot #4 – Bus station at Charleroi Airport
WHERE The best place at the terminal for plane spotting is the bus station. Join airport by bus or park at airport’s official parking, then walk at the west side of terminal and you’ll find point 4.
WHAT You’ll get great shots with a typical old caves village and a church in the background. You are above the fence and you’ll get great shots of landings 25, departures 07, push back and taxi. You may observe all the ramp activity from there
TIME Light is good there in the summer from 6pm till sunset.
MISC. Don’t park your car at the bus station and use airport parking instead. There are shops and restrooms in the terminal.
FOCAL LENGTH Use 200mm for a B738


Spot #5 – Rue Santos-Dumont and Auguste Piccard corner
WHERE Situated along the Rue Santos-Dumont and Auguste Piccard corner. Park your car at the road as marked on the map. There is a wall and you need to use a 2 steps ladder or a chair to shoot over it. It’s not possible to connect points 4 and 5 by foot because there are security fences along the terminal and parking so you must use your car or a bus to get back to spot 4. A walk via “Jean Mermoz Avenue” takes more than one hour!
WHAT Similar of point number 4 but with another angle. You can shoot from the late afternoon the activities on ground, landings and line up 25 and 07 departures.
TIME From late aftenoon till sunset.
MISC. Nothing nearby and its not possible to enter the terminal by foot from here.
FOCAL LENGTH  Use 180mm for a B738


Spot #6 – Taxi and runway from “Rue Santos-Dumont”
WHERE Close of Balladins Hotel at the Rue Santos-Dumont. Park your car along the street and choose your point of view. You’ll shoot over the wall with a chair of a 2 steps ladder. The wall is not so high.
WHAT Taxi from landings runway 25 and taxi for departure from terminal to runway 07
TIME From the late afternoon till sunset
MISC. For shoots of the airplanes on the runway there may sometimes be some high herbs in the weels, depend of the last cut of the grass.
FOCAL LENGTH Use 24mm for a B738 at the taxiways or 150mm for the runway


Spot #7 – Approach runway 07 “N5 street”
WHERE Drive along N5 “Chaussée de Bruxelles” till the airport’s fence. Park your car on the parking of nearby shops or join by bus or tram and walk a few meters to see the runway.
WHAT Best for approach on runway 07. Taxi and line up runway 07 are too far but good for airplanes making a back track till the very end of runway 07, but it does’nt happen regulary. Ladder is needed in this case.
TIME From 1pm you may take great shots of line up for departures runway 07 after a back track when this one is in use. Wait till the late afternoon for 07 landings.
MISC. Departures 25 are too high from this point of view and landings leaves usually before. There are shops at 10 minutes walk and a burger restaurant with restrooms.
FOCAL LENGTH Use about 150mm for a B738 at line up and 80mm for approach

Spot #8 – Approach 07 at “Induscabel” shop parking
WHERE Along the N5 street there is a shop called Induscabel. Park on there parking lot. You may also join this point by bus or tram, the station is just on the other side of the street.
WHAT Approach shots of landings 07. You can’t see the runway from this area. You may get distributed by trees and lights poles along the road.
TIME Light is good from 8AM till 3PM
MISC. There is the burger restaurant at 2 min walk for your amenities.
FOCAL LENGTH Use 140mm for a B738.


Spot #9 – Runway from old terminal and BFS flying school
WHERE Join the old terminal street “Rue des Fusillers” via the bus or park there. directly. It’s possible to take pictures over the fire gate.
WHAT Traffic on runway and taxi to flight school and general aviation parking.
TIME Light is good from 8AM till 3PM.
MISC. Just set your lader to take your picture and go away till the next movement. Someone will quickly ask you what are doing there, just smiling and explain what are you doing. If you listen firetrucks sirens don’t obstruct the way !
FOCAL LENGTH Use 105mm for the traffic on the runway, taxi is too far but aircrafts going to business platform will pass just in front of you.


More pictures on http://flyfan.fte2.org/crl.htm

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