Pierrefonds Airport (ZSE/FMEP) is one of the two airports at Réunion Island and also the smaller one. It’s located near the city Saint-Pierre, why it’s also called Saint-Pierre Airport. It was build for commercial aviation back in 1998 but is still used by the military base, that is next to the airport, too. With about 100.000 passengers per year (128.000 as it’s peak) it’s not a very frequented airport so there is also not that much traffic but for someone who isn’t from Réunion the traffic could still be quite interesting. At the moment there are Air Austral and Air Mauritius operating to Mauritius Intl., both most time with ATR 72 (at peak times Air Austral with B737 and Air Mauritius with A319), and some military movements. There are also many aero clubs and sightseeing helicopters.
As you cannot see these ATR 72 on FR24 (but still the flight plans), it’s useful to listen to the ATC on 122.400 if you have your own scanner, or on https://www.liveatc.net/search/?icao=fmep / search in your LiveATC app for FMEP. (It’s legal here)
Written by Florian Scheuner (October 2018).
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| (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
|15/33||2100m x 45m (tarmac)|
|Terminals||One for all flights|
|Ladder||Not needed though it could be useful.|
|Car/Public Transport||Public transport is available and marked on the map but you are more flexible with a car.|
|Restrooms||Available in the airport terminal.|
|Drinks/Food||You should eat in the cities/at home/at the hotel or bring your own food and drinks.|
|Hotels||Only in the cities close to the airport like Saint-Pierre or Saint-Louis.|
|Season||Not recommended to visit during the cyclones in December/January. Try to come at the weekend for more general aviation and paragliding. Also keep in mind that the Air Austal B737 and Air Mauritius A319 only come here during the school holidays.|
|15/33||Normally runway 15 is in use.|
|Spot #1 – Tower – Apron movements|
|WHERE||It’s directly at the left of the tower, in front of the portal 1. If you come from the main street, it’s the portal directly in front of you and if you come from the parking, just look after the tower. It’s behind then. The ways is marked on the map.|
|WHAT||You can see the airliner movements on the apron and if general aviation is at the fuel station. Some general aviation could be difficult to spot and parked aircraft too. 15 Landings are not very visible, while it’s okay for 15 take-offs. When 33 is active, it should be the opposite.|
|TIME||During the day, the sun is high in the sky. Come, when traffic is to expect, but always keep sunrise and sunset times in mind.|
|MISC.||No ladder needed and probably also not well seen next to the tower as the fence and the portal aren’t that high. In the fence is a hole (not temporary, it’s to open the portal) you can use to spot through it.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Apron 70-300mm, 15 departures/33 arrivals 200mm|
|Spot #2 – Portal 5 – All movements
|WHERE||This spot is a few meters from the helicopter sightseeingpoint, but just at the next portal. The portal is not named, but it’s the one after portal 4. You can look up the way on the map.|
|WHAT||All movements should be visible as the view on the runway is free of important obstacles. It is impossible to see what’s happening on the apron.|
|TIME||At this spot you can have backlit in the evening in western direction, but during the day, the sun is high in the sky. Come, when traffic is to expect, but always keep sunrise and sunset times in mind.|
|MISC.||Ladder is not needed though it might be useful.|
|Spot #3 – Final 15 – 15 arrivals, 33 departures
|WHERE||It’s at the eastern end of the runway. You can go there by foot using the path around the airport or by car using a street from the next roundabout. Both is marked on the map. Vary a bit the position regarding to the conditions and the angle you want to have.|
|WHAT||15 arrivals and 33 departures are both good to spot, for 15 arrivals you won’t find a better spot. 15 departures and 33 arrivals aren’t possible to spot as you cannot see the runway due to its height and many plants.|
|TIME||At this spot you can have backlit in the afternoon and evenings in western direction (15 arrivals) while it’s still good for 90° shots facing north-east. During the day, the sun is high in the sky. Come, when traffic is to expect, but always keep sunrise and sunset times in mind. Late in sunset, the conditions should be fine.|
|MISC.||No Ladder needed. Parking spot is marked on the map.|
|Spot #4 – Threshold 33 – 33 arrvials and departures
|WHERE||It’s next to the Threshold on runway 33, the way is marked on the map.|
|WHAT||The spot should be perfect for 33 departures and 33 arrivals, but 15 departures are also still okay.|
|TIME||You will have some backlit at this position and sun is high in sky during the day. Come, when 33 traffic is to expect, but always keep sunrise and sunset times in mind. Light conditions should be perfect for 33 arrivals during sunset.|
|MISC.||A ladder could be very useful for 33 departures and touchdowns of 33 arrivals.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Threshold 50mm, 33 arrivals 70-100mm, 15 departures 200-300mm|
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