Bern-Belp Intl. Airport Spotting Guide

Bern-Belp BRN/LSZB is located 11km south of Bern City. It is the homebase of SkyWork Airlines and a seasonal base for Helvetic Airways. In 2015 Bern handled 190’130 passengers and there were 54’300 movements counted in 2014. It is also the main Base of Switzerland governments fleet which counts a Falcon 900EX (T-785), Cessna Citation Excel (T-784) and a rarely seen Beech 1900D (T-729) and Beechcraft 350C Super KingAir (T-721). Sometimes there are also Helicopters of the Swiss Air force (Super Puma/Cougar and EC-635) which spend a visit at Bern.

Airliners at Bern are Homecarrier SkyWork, Helvetic, BMI, Germania and Etihad Regional. Bern has also a big amount of Business Jets but only in winter season. In summer season there are a lot of Glider and GA movements of Cessna Skyhawks and similar planes.

Two bus lines serve the airport: the AirportBus Bern (line 334) connects the terminal every half-hour with Belp railway station where passengers can connect to frequent S-Bahn trains S3, S4, S31 and S44 to Bern main station. The journey time to Bern city center is 30 minutes. The bus line 160 connects the airport with Belp, Rubigen and Münsingen (connection to S-Bahn trains S1). (Text taken from Wikipedia.org)

For airliners I advise summer season (Mai-October) as the rest of the SkyWork and BMI are the only who serve Bern the whole year through. For corporate traffic I advise winter season (December-March) but be aware chance of bad weather is high at this time.

The main peeks of movements are 6.00-8.00 a.m. for take-offs, 11.00-14.00 landings and take-offs, 16.00-18.00 for landings and take-offs. Days with most traffic are Thursday and Friday for Corporate traffic and Sunday for Airliners. Gliders are flying at summer season Wednesdays and Saturdays only with few exceptions and of course just good weather cases.

The daily Flight schedules can be found on the airports website:
http://www.flughafenbern.ch/en/

Written by David Augsburger (local spotter)

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Weather
Airport Informations Runways 14/32 (Asphalt) 14L/32R (Grass)
1730m x 30m (5,676ft x 98ft) (2,133 ft x 98ft)
Terminals Main Terminal
All flights except Privatjets
Spotting Informations Ladder Stepladder can be useful sometimes. Look where it is mentioned
Car Not needed because Airport area isn’t that big
Restrooms On Terminal side there are free toilets. Otherwise none
Drinks/Food Terminal side you have some restaurants. Otherwise bring with you what you need.
Hotels It has a small Airport Hotel otherwise just in the city centre
Season We suggest June – September as this is the high season for the airliners, especially on Fridays and Sundays. Otherwise December-March are very good for Businessjets but not for airliners and chance for bad weather is really high in Winter.
Runway Usage 14/32 They switch it very often. In summer runway 32 is very often in use. In winter it is mainly RWY 14 which is used.

Spot #1 – Terminal Aera – All movements
WHERE Go to the terminal and you will see a ball. From Bus Stop you will see it directly. Park your car where mentioned on the map. It’s the only official visitor place. It has a kind of a fence but nearly all lenses will fit through but at the front there is glass. It’s kind of tricky to take pics of here. Maybe try to take pics at the top of the stairs before entering the ball or just try a bit and you’ll recognize how it fits for you. Please do not use a ladder for the public good.
WHAT All movements can be taken from here. Sometimes parked planes will disturb your view direction RWY32. For landings on RWY 14 some lamps will make it very tricky to get shots without the pole on it.
TIME RWY 14: 06:00-12:00   RWY32: 06:00-09:00
MISC. Some Restaurants are there. Inside the Terminal it has also a scheduled flight plan and opportunity to buy some snacks and beverages.
FOCAL LENGTH 18mm-400mm everything can be useful. D328 28mm; E135 + F100 300mm


Spot #2 – Rega Basis – Landing 32 & Backtrack/Line-Up 32 & Taxi
WHERE Just park your car where mentioned on the map at the Rega basis next to the terminal. By Bus take the stop called “Belp, Giessenbad”. You will find the spot easily. A stepladder can be very useful. The fence is about 250cm high.
WHAT All landings on RWY 32 are just touching down in front of you. You’ll also see the landed planes on RWY14 which vacate on the taxiway in front of you. (Everything that has fewer spans than 21.5m). Also all REGA (Swiss Air Ambulance operates with EC-145) movements are in front of you.
TIME 06:00-12:00
MISC. The only restaurant nearby are the once at the Terminal. It takes you a 10min walk to the Terminal if you are thirsty or hungry. Else you take with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH EC45 28mm; F900 75mm; C55B 180mm; LUD328 230mm; Arr D328 300mm (18mm-400mm)


Spot #3 – RWY 32 – Line Up RWY32, Landing RWY32, Takeoff RWY14
WHERE Just park your car at spot 2. By Bus take the stop called “Belp, Giessenbad”. Then walk around the threshold like shown on the map. It takes you less than 5minutes. A stepladder can be useful but it has also small hills where you are higher than the fence.
WHAT All landings on RWY 32 are approaching in front of you and they come often very low (except GA). Also Line-Up Shots or slowing down shots of RWY14 are possible.
TIME 0600-1600
MISC. There is nothing nearby so take with you what you need. Do not leave any trash there.
FOCAL LENGTH 35mm-400mm everything can be useful. SB20 120mm; GLF4 205mm
 

  Spot #4 – Guerbendamm – All movements
WHERE The spot is located on the opposite site of the terminal in a small industrial park next to the glider hangars and Swiss helicopter. Just park your car where mentioned on the map. By Bus take the stop called “Belp, Muristrasse Süd”. Then walk like shown on the map. It takes you 10-20 minutes.
A stepladder is not necessary because you’re standing on a small hill. It has three metal/cement blocks where you can stand on to be higher. But be careful on sunny days they can be very hot.
WHAT  All movements on RWY 14/32 and take-off of gliders
TIME RWY14: 1200-sunset RWY32: 1500-sunset
MISC. There is nothing nearby so take with you what you need. Do not leave any trash there. At the Bus Stop it has a market called “Landi” where you can buy some refreshments and snacks.
FOCAL LENGTH 150mm-400mm


Spot #5 – Guerbendamm – All movements except landing 32
WHERE Just park your car where mentioned on the map next to the road to the terminal. By Bus take the stop called “Belp, Muristrasse Süd”. Then walk like shown on the map. It takes you 10-20minutes.
A stepladder is not necessary because you’re standing on a small hill. It has three metal/cement blocks where you can stand on to be higher. But be careful on sunny days they can be very hot. Stop where you you like most.
WHAT Similar to spot #4. All movements on RWY 14/32 and take-off of gliders except landing on RWY 32
TIME RWY14: 1200-sunset RWY32: 1500-sunset
MISC. There is nothing nearby so take with you what you need. Do not leave any trash there. At the Bus Stop it has a market called “Landi” where you can buy some refreshments and snacks.
FOCAL LENGTH 70mm-400mm; D328 +BMI 110mm; SB20 + E35L 300mm


Spot #6 – Spot #5 – Crash Barrier – Take-off 14/32, Backtrack 14/32, Taxi
WHERE Just park your car at the terminal parking. By Bus walk direction North along the street. It takes you 10-15minutes from the Terminal and less than 5 minutes from your parking lot.
A stepladder is not necessary but very useful (and more safe). You can stand on the end of the crash barrier (Red arrow). Please take care of yourself when standing on it. Cars are driving by not very fast but sometimes really close. It has also a lot of bicycle riders so take care of them too. If you have a stepladder just place it inside the free space that the crash barrier gives you (blue arrow).
WHAT Take-off 14/32, Backtrack 14/32 and taxiing
TIME RWY14: 0600-1200 RWY32: always backlight but anyway nice shots are possible
MISC. If you need something go to the terminal or the nice restaurant called “Gribi’s eat&drink”. Be informed that the Ruag does sometimes engine tests with Do328 so it can get very windy and that’s the reason why the fence is covered on one side.
FOCAL LENGTH 55mm-400mm; CL60 + GLEX 75mm; E190 105mm; SB20 + D328 300mm


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