The Leipzig/Halle Airport is situated 16 km northwest of the city of Leipzig which means a 25 minutes ride by train or about 20 minutes drive if you travel by car. The airport in Saxony is mainly famous for its freight traffic and is a hub for DHL. But it also handels a few international flights within Europe or to holiday destinations. The freight hub is perfectly located next to the federal highways A9 which connects Berlin with Munich via Nuremburg and the A14 which mainly serves the north and east of Germany enabling freight companies to send their cargo from Germany to the world using the astonishingly big Leipzig Airport.
Not to disregard are 2.3 million passengers who travel through LEJ every year: It’s not just freight what makes the airport busy, it also serves Central Germany (mainly Saxony) as the gateway to their holidays. Condor, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, SunExpress, Corendon and many more offer regular services to European metropolises or holiday destinations including Bulgaria, Turkey or Tunesia.
Being the 13th busiest airport in Germany measured by passenger numbers is still some room for improvement but in terms of air cargo, Leipzig ranks second behind Frankfurt and there is some very nice cargo traffic besides the DHL movements. Some russian cargo aircraft are regular visitors in LEJ such as the SilkWay IL76s or the An124s from Volga Dnepr Airlines. Furthermore the mighty An225 and An22 visit LEJ regulary so its the best airport in Europe to catch these heavies. The Antonov Design Bureau pays Leipzig quite a few visits in general with their An124s and therefore you may sometimes see the An26 or An74 as crewshuttle to/from Kiev Gostomel.
Written by Severin Hackenberger and Tommy Pfeiffer (Regular Visitors); Paul Kalbitz (Local Spotter). Last Update: December 2020
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| (15 votes, average: 4.60 out of 5)
|08L/26R||3.600m x 45m (11.811ft)|
|08R/26L||3.600 x 60m (11.811ft)|
|Terminal A||General Aviation only|
|Terminal B||All Passenger flights (including rare Military flights)|
|Ladder||Only necessary at a few locations. See detailed description.|
|Car/Public Transport||Car is recommended as locations are far apart and switching runway will take very long otherwise. Bus line 207 running between Schkeuditz and Delitzsch S-Bahn stations connecting the 08R spots, the terminal and the 26L. Futhermore ICE/IC and S-Bahn trains stopping at the directly at the terminal.|
|Restrooms||Gas stations and restaurants around the airport. Restrooms are also available inside the terminal buildings.|
|Drinks/Food||Around the airport are a few restaurants and a Mc Donald’s or you can get some snacks in the supermarkets.|
|Hotels||There are just a few motels/hotels. No one offers a good sight to the airport.|
|Season||We recommend visiting the airport during the summer as the air cargo jets are rather to be encountered at late evening. As sun sets significantly later in the months around June, spotting is more efficient then.|
|08L/26R||Most of the passangers flights use this runway and almost all freighters which park at the VDA Technics arrive/depart on this runway.
My opinion (collected along >10 visits): This runway is used by DHL (Arrivals), all PAX aircraft and most VDA freighters. Apart from those, the runway is used by almost all An12 and smaller freighthers like CargoLogic Air or Westatlantic Boeing 737s.
|08R/26L||Almost all Kalitta and DHL freighters use this runway and most of the other freighters which park at the WCC.
My opinion (collected along >10 visits): This runway is used by DHL (Departures), Polar, Kalitta and Southern Air Freighters, MNG Cargo and AeroLogic as well as ADB flights.
|WHERE||From the terminal follow the S8a, which becomes the Schkeuditzer Straße later on, until Freiroda. After you’ve passed this little village, you will get to a big crossing. Turn left onto the S1 and drive north. You will pass the runwaylights pretty soon and after about 800m you will have to turn left agian, onto the Ernst-Thälmann-Straße. Follow this street until you can see a big dome on the left. Park your car next to it and climb up on the stairs or take the access for disabled.|
|WHAT||All activities on RWY 08L/26R.|
|TIME||In the summer from sunrise until 8 am and from 5.30 pm until sunset. In winter you’ll only have backlit.|
|MISC.||There is a parking area next to the hill (marked on the map). No restaurants, restrooms or similar stuff available there, take with you what you need! In the summer months you’ll maybe have heathaze here.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||70 – 350mm
B737 = 200mm / An-225 (Nr. 1) = 150mm / An-225 (Nr. 2) = 80mm
|WHERE||Follow the S8a, which becomes the Schkeuditzer Straße later on, until Freiroda. After you’ve passed this little village, you will get to a big crssing. Turn left onto the S1 and drive north. After you have passed the runwaylights turn right into the “K7432”. Park your car on the right (or whereever nearby by the roadside) and go back to the sidewalk of the S1 (marked on the map). Choose your favourite position along the sidewalk, this depends on the view you like the most – that’s why we have different angles in our example pictures!|
|WHAT||Arrivals on runway 26R only.|
|TIME||In summer almost the whole day as you can move to the opposite side of the runway when the sun has turned around. In the winter months from sunrise till sunset.|
|MISC.||If possible stay away from the street, because some drivers are driving very fast and dangerous there. Nothing nearby, so take with you what you need! Park your car good, so you don’t block the street/traffic – the roadside is just for short stops!|
|FOCAL LENGTH||100 – 250mm
A320 = 145mm / A320 = 190mm
Taken from different positions along the walkside:
|WHERE||This spot is located at the northern runway and similar to spot #11, but from here you can take great touchdown shots – from #11 not! It’s easy to get here if you have a car; Follow the Towerstraße from VDA Technics towards Freiroda and turn left into Wellerstrasse.
|WHAT||Arrivals and departures (if they use the last taxiway to line-up) on runway 26R and late rotates on runway 08L.|
|TIME||In summer days from around 9 till late afternoon. In the winter months from sunrise till sunset.|
|MISC.||Ladder needed. Nothing really nearby like restrooms or shops.|
Angle and background can vary depending on your exact position along the fence:
|WHERE||Follow the Towerstraße from VDA Technics towards Freiroda and turn left into Wellerstrasse. Then turn immeadiately left again at the first crossroad. Follow this road to Gate 63 and park on the left side on a small concrete pad (space for around 5 cars), not on the road. Go to the gate and take your photos through the bars. Furthermore you can walk a bit eastwards till you arrive at a small mound from which you can take photos over the fence.|
|WHAT||Best for aircraft taxiing on TWY C for 26R departure. 26R arrivals and 08L departures are possible too. If the plane is on the runway usually parts are cut off if the lawn is not mowed.|
|TIME||Good light conditions all day in winter months, on summer days from late morning till late afteroon (around 9-18).|
|MISC.||If you want to get closer to the runway and avoid the trees, you can use a ladder. If there are really special planes, the place is always full. So if there’s no parking space left, turn left at the crossroad instead and turn right after crossing under there bridge, there you’ll find additional parking space.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||20-300mm (Taxiway: 30mm 757-300, Runway: 160mm AN-124, 220mm 737-800)|
|WHERE||This spot is located either by the roadside of the S8a when crossing the other S8a part or along the fence infront (depending on your favorite angle/taste). Just get rid of your car in one of the nearby field entries where you can probably leave your car for a few hours. Then come back to this kinda “hill” or the fence from where you can take pictures, but some trees might block the view. Position can be chosen totally free along the road here depending on th trees and subjects around here…|
|WHAT||26L Arrivals, Airplanes lining up for RWY 26L, heavy departures on 08R.|
|TIME||Only in the evening, the rest of the you’ll face backlight. If there are clouds, semi good photos are possible.|
|MISC.||If you want to get closer to the runway and avoid the trees, you can use a ladder along the fence. If there are really special planes, the place is always full. So if there’s no parking space left, turn left at the crossroad instead and turn right after crossing under there bridge, there you’ll find additional parking space.|
130mm = 747-400 / 250mm = AN-12
|WHERE||This spot is no exact position, rather just the area southwest of the big roundabout just at the end of runway 08R/26L. When coming from the airport on S8a, you would have to take the first exit, but it’s forbidden to drive and park there. So now you have the choice where to park your car, then you can still position yourself freely around here and either go to Angle A or B:
1. Risk it and drive in the street towards the airport fence in the roundabout. There you can park on a paved area (actually forbidden to be in here with a car), which is Angle A, but you can then also walk south onto the field towards Angle B.
|WHAT||26L left arrivals will pass right over you.|
|TIME||Almost the whole day except early morning hours in the summer.|
|MISC.||The police checks for cars parked on the airport road regularly, so it’s better to stay away from it. A ladder is not necessary. Nothing nearby, so take with you what you need!
Heat haze can be an issue here in summer.
|FOCAL LENGTH||Depends on where exactly you stand, but you will need 50-300mm (A = ? / B – Tu204 = 220mm)|
Angle A – Directly from the parking pad below the arrival path:
|WHERE||If you come out of the terminal, follow the S8a into eastern direction (heading to Freiroda). Just after you crossed two “planebridges” turn left (NOT to A14). Follow this road for about 1km then exit the roundabout at its 3rd exit (into Radefelder Alle). After about 1km turn right into Gesnerstraße. Follow this little road for 1km, then you should see a little hill on your right. Park your car somewhere there and climb this hill.
To reduce heat haze on hot summer days you can follow the little dirtpath along the airport fence on the right till you get to an empty field.
|WHAT||Arrivals on runway 26L and planes which are lining up on runway 26L (often Freighters).|
|TIME||In summer days from around 9 till 18. In the winter months from sunrise till sunset.|
|MISC.||There is nothing really nearby, so bring with you what you need. In the summer you should take care of Spiders, Beetles or other (maybe dangerous) insects, because the grasses might be quit high. Ladder not needed. Heathaze is a very big problem here, especially for Line-ups!|
|FOCAL LENGTH||200 – 400mm
B777 = 275mm / An-124 = 250mm / B747 = 260mm
|WHERE||This spot is located inside the EAT Staffparking and along the nearby fence and can easily reached by Using the Bundesstrasse 6 (“B6”). Exit the street to “DHL Hub” and then take the third exit at the roundabout, where you can see a DHL tail in the middle. Then park your car nearby by the roadside (which is okay for a few minutes, but probably you won’t spend many hours here) and walk back to the fence.
+++ MAY 2020: Construction works going on around here – access and parking is actually not allowed, but we never had problems here yet. Future unknown, but spot is expected to disappear in a few years when all this area has turned into DHL halls/buildings… +++
|WHAT||From here you have a great view of DHLs western Apron, where mostly MNG Cargo, West Atlantic and Aviastar are parking. Apart from this, you can see 08R Departures, if they already departed, because you can’t see the gears of aircraft on runwaylevel i.|
|TIME||Depending on the parking postion, but mostly light conditions will be better around midday. Only for freighters, which are parked at the western line in the south (like the ones in the example pictures) light might be also good in the evening, if you can walk to the northern side of them (possible for the southern 1/2 parking positions.|
|MISC.||Ladder senseless, due to a very high fence. Lenses up to 67mm wideness will fit through the fence, with bigger ones you’ll probably have vignetted shots. Everything needed can be found in the nearby villages. The staff parking west of the apron is signed as private and officially it’s forbidden to enter it as non-EAT-staff, but nobody cares.
DO NOT TOUCH the fence. Security will come out and send you away. So stay away a bit all time and just go to the fence for some quick shots!
~380mm = B757 departure / Distance and thus focal lenght for parking positions in front varies a lot – e.g. B757 on closest parking spot = 20mm
|WHERE||This spot is located just next to the parking on a staircase or along the fence – whatever you prefer. To reach this spot exit the B6 onto “Industriestrasse” and follow the street for about 200 meter. Then turn right and immediately again left onto a parking area. On the left side you should see a long building and if you are right there is a stair(case) on the left side, too. Either go up there and you’ll be able to look over the fence (bottom will still be blocked by the fence when shooting big aircraft), or stay at the bottom and shot through the mesh along the fence.
Parking your car is hardly possible here. Normally you will not have a problem here while parking anywhere in the front, but actually all parking bays are privately reserved for the police, customs and security services here. So the only position where you would park legally is the thin street south of the spot.
|WHAT||All activities on runway 08R/26L and movements. If standing on the stairs the sight to the left is blocked by the building so its a bit tricky as you see the planes very late.
Taxiway photos are possible from the stairs but its better to go down on the ground and shot through the fence. Otherwise you will have parts of the fence in the picture (see Kalitta photo).
The AN225 usually parks exactily on the pad infront of the building (sample photos were taken from below through the fence) so view may be blocked then.
|TIME||In summer days from around 9 till late afternoon (around 18 o’clock). In the winter months from sunrise till sunset.|
|MISC.||Ladder uselss as the fence is very high (3 meters at least). Nothing really nearby, just inside the town a few shops/restaurants.
Heat haze is BIG problem on warm days – especially on the runway.
Fence: B757 on runway = 160mm / B737 on taxiway = 100mm
Stairs: B744 on runway = 120mm / B737 on runway = 240mm
|WHERE||This spot can be found next to the WCC and the “Tor 71”. It’s again no exact position rather the area along the fence here, depending on what you wanna spot.|
|WHAT||You may be able to take pictures of the planes/freighters, which are parked on the western positions infront of the WCC hall from the blue fence/gate on your left. Mostly the view ono the ramp is disturbed by lots of foreground clutter. But apart from that you can see the nearby taxiway and the runwayend from here, too.|
|TIME||Better in the morning hours for parked freighters. Runway has light in summer days from around 9 till late afternoon (around 18 o’clock). In the winter months from sunrise till sunset.|
|MISC.||Heat haze might be a problem on warmer days. Ladder useful, but not indispensable. Everything like restrooms/snacks can be found in the nearby Mc Donalds.
Keep a low profile (especially when carrying a ladder) as the guards of the gate on the right may get suspicious! This spot is mostly hard to use due to all the foreground clutter like trucks, ground equipment and cargo boxes.
ATR72 = 100mm
|WHERE||If you come out of the terminal, follow the S8a into western direction (heading to the B6). The street leads you to the southern side of the airport, that’s why you have to exit the S8a after about 4km. Turn left into a unnamed road which leads you to a lot of parking slots. Park your car somewhere there, but take care of not Using reserved slots. Then position yourself somewhere along the parking or on the field so you can nicely see arrivals.
+++ DEC 2020: Spot along the fence is not useable anymore now as the area is partly covered by new halls and the rest is actually Amazon’s private parking. You could access the carpark by foot but there are big private property signs everywhere and security will send you away! Airside (so behind the fence) is also full of cars and ground stuff, so no chance to shoot the ramp anymore clearly. Arrivals from the car park are still possible though. +++
|WHAT||Arrivals on runway 08R and Departures on runway 26L.|
|TIME||On the runway you’ll have light from 11am till sunset (in the summer) and in the winter months from around 9am till sunset.|
|MISC.||There is McDonalds nearby, there you find food and restrooms. Haze can be an issue in summer and the arrival path may be hard to shoot due to all the light poles.
B747 = 140mm
|WHERE||This spot is located by the roadisdie of S8a and is no exact position, rather the area around here, where you have a good view and your favourite angle. Just get rid of your car somehow and search your favourite position here.|
|WHAT||Arrivals onton runway 08R.|
|TIME||Early summer mornings or late summer evenings. Unuseable in winter months.|
|MISC.||Nothing nearby. Ladder might be useful to have a better view above the plants. Parking difficult as officially forbidden here by the roadside, but normally it is no problem.|
B744 side on = 80mm
|WHERE||This spot is located at the end of a dirt path which can be reached from the S8a. Just follow the road (which starts next to some patrol tanks) till the very end and park your car there.|
|WHAT||Departures on runway 26L and sometimes arrivals onto runway 08R, too.|
|TIME||In summer days in the morning hours and evenings, but in the winter months you’ll have backlit all day.|
|MISC.||Nothing realy nearby, except the McDonalds a bit south of this spot. No ladder needed.|
|WHERE||If you come out of the terminal, follow the S8a into western direction (heading to the B6). After 500m you will croos a bridge and just after this you see some petrol tanks and buildings on your left. Exit the S8a there and follow the dirty path (on the right side of the tanks) until you get to the fence, where the pictures are taken from.|
|WHAT||Planes parked on A1 West and taxiing planes from/to runway 08L/26R, if they use the western bridge. In addition also heavy 26L departures.|
|TIME||For parked and taxiing planes from around 1.15pm till sunset. Heat haze is an issue here, especially for the parked planes.|
|MISC.||Ladder is necessary otherwise the images will be vignetted. The Terminal is just around 500m away, so you can get snacks/drinks there. Restrooms can be found there, too.|
B744 on apron = 90mm / An74 on apron = 280mm
|WHERE||This spot is right in the fencecorner next to or even between the airport’s fire and police station. Just park your car somewhere in the area as you cannot drive up to the fence anymore due to some metal barriers on the strteet now. But once you got rid of your car or just stopped somewhere (mostly you will only spot here for a very short time), go to the fence and quickly take your pictures along the mesh.|
|WHAT||Activities on Apron A1 West or the taxiway behind. Also nice for night shots…|
|TIME||In the early morning and useable until midday and during night as well nicely.|
|MISC.||Ladder needed to get over the fence, but you can also easily shoot thru the mesh. Nothing nearby, parking very difficullt here.
Keep a low profile (especially when using a ladder) as the guards/police may get suspicious!
Thanks to Stefan Bratner for providing the night shot below:
|WHERE||The old tower is used as the visitor terrace today. It’s a pretty high red/yellow building which is located between the passanger terminal and the GAT.
It’s pretty difficult to discribe how to get to this spot, but the building can be easily found if you follow the signs. It can just be entered from outside the temrinal facilities and only from the ground floor. Entrance costs 2 EUR per person and there is an elevator to get up to the viewing plattform.
|WHAT||This terrace offers a great overview above the southern part of the airport. You can see:
|TIME||In the summer from sunrise until 8 am and from 5.30 pm until sunset. In winter you’ll only have backlit.
You can take good night shots from here. An example can be found HERE.
|MISC.||You can either take the stairs or the elevator, this one is large enough for a group of people or disabled persons in a wheelchair. If you’ve entered the tower once, you can’t leave it without any further payment, so if you wanted to check the schedule inside the terminal, you need to pay again down at the entrance. There are no shops/restrooms on the top of the terrace. In the summer you’ll probably have heathaze most of the time.|
B757 = 300mm / AN12 Close-Up: 280mm
|WHERE||This spot is located at the fence next to the GAT and visitor tower. You can reach this spot easily from the terminal by foor and by car. The best position to park your car at for a short moment is the little dirty road marked on the map, because you aren’t disturbing anybody there. If you plan to stay longer drive to the “village” Kursdorf and walk back for 2-3 minutes.|
|WHAT||All planes parked on A1 East apron, which can be GAT visitors as well as freighters. And parts of the normal apron infront of the terminal as well.|
|TIME||Depending on the parking spots, but mostly better in the early morning or late evening.
You can take good night shots from here. An example can be found HERE or HERE.
|MISC.||Don’t block “Terminalring”, because it’s an firefighter entrance road! As of OCT 2020, the entrance to the parking was moved over here (see picture below)! So you cannot park here anymore at all, leave your car in Kursdorf rather ( some steps northeast) and walk back here!
Ladder useful at the eastern and western ends, but not indispensable – in the middle is a jetblast fence and the airport fence is really high, so you can’t take any pictures there! Everything needed inside the terminal.
Blue AN12 = 45mm / A321 infront of terminal = 280mm
|WHERE||Located at the end of Freirodaer Strasse this spot is very easy to find as you just have to follow the street till its end. Then just park your car by the roadside here and search your favourite position around here with or without ladder.|
|WHAT||From here you can see 08R Departures as long as they are in the air already; otherwise the gear is blocked by the grass at the bottom. You can also see the nearby taxiways and the bridge just next to you, but the gears are sometimes (especially in summer by long grass) clipped, too.|
|TIME||08R and taxiway to the south: Early morning or late evening – only useable in summer.
Bridge: From midday till sunset.
|MISC.||Ladder might be useable to win some meters, where you can already see aircrafts, which are otherwise behind the fence. Nothing nearby, except shadow and parking possibilities.|
B744 takeoff = 200mm / A319 on bridge = 90mm
Taken form the street without ladder:
|WHERE||This spot is a grasshill, which is located between railwaylines and a highway. You can easily reach this spot from “S8a” by following the dirtroad, which leads you to the other side of the grasshill (where the rails are on). There you’ll find a little hill on your right, where you can hike on to get a better angle (but it’s not that decisive). Parking is quite tricky here, because a sign says “Usage of the road is only allowed for abutters”, but we’ve never expirienced any problems while parking next to the hill with a few more local spotters.|
|WHAT||Arrivals on runway 08L.|
|TIME||From late morning till late afternoon (around 9am – 5pm).|
|MISC.||Nearest possibility to grab food or find restaurants is the temrinal or the McDonalds to the south. Shadow can be find below the bridge, no ladder needed! The hill is full of plants, which might avoid the Usage in a few months/years. Take care of little insects and remind, that you might slip when hiking up/down – take care, so that you don’t hurt yourself or your camera equipment! To avoid all this you can stay at the ground, where no trains will come, no plants can disturb and you won’t slip that fast – decide yourself which position to use!
Take care of the trains which are using the rails, because some of them are pretty fast and might cause an pressure wave! That’s why we recommend to look before you take pictures, so if a train is coming you can go down a few meters to avoid injuries!
AN12 = 300mm / A330 = 230mm
|WHERE||This might be Leipzigs most famous spot! It’s located on the parking garage, which can be found (and entered from or) next to terminal. This spot is no exact position inside the garage, rather the front at the upper floors – northern and western end, both useable. The best floor to spot from might be the highest one; here it’s Floor 6.|
|WHAT||Northern end: All activities on runway 08L/26R, nearby taxiing aircraft, freigthers parked on the VDA-Technics apron and the famous bridge-crossers!
Southern end: Bigger activities on runway 08R/26L, nearby parking aprons and taxiways.
|TIME||Depending on what you want to take pictures of.
Northern end: Runway and parallel taxiways have good light from late morning till late afternoon, VDA apron is mostly better in the evening/afternoon and bridge is good from sunrise till midday.
Southern end: Runway and parking aprons infront have good light in early summer mornings and late summer evenings.
|MISC.||No ladder needed, everything needed can be found inside the terminal and there is definitely enough shadow. Heat haze might be a BIG problem in the summer and also on warmer spring/fall days, but you should avoid this spot around midday anyway. From 15-20 degree celsius you have bad problems with heathaze here!|
AN12 on runway = ~330mm / Bridge overview = ~120mm
Unfortunately we can’t provide any of the famous bridge-shots yet, which look like this.
|WHERE||This position is quite difficult to discribe. But if you are inside the terminal, walk to the northern end and exit the terminal there. Then use the bridge to cross the A14 and walk to the sidewalk on your left (marked on the map). As option ou can take pictures from the parkingbuilding next to the terminal where you are higher, so you can take pictures along the runway – from the terminal driveway some trees might disturb your view.|
|WHAT||Departures and arrivals on the northern runway (08L/26R) as well as taxiing aircraft.|
|TIME||Runway and parallel taxiways have light from 8am till 5pm in the summer and in the winter months from sunrise till sunset.|
|MISC.||In the summer (and also on warmer spring/fall days) you will have worse heathaze on the runway and maybe also on the taxiway like on the example picture. Everything you need is inside the terminal (like restrooms, restaurants and supermarkets).|
|FOCAL LENGTH||100 – 250mm
An-22 (Nr. 1) = 145mm / An-22 (Nr. 2) = 190mm
|WHERE||If you come from the Terminal, drive northwards and then go down the driveway. Then turn right onto Towerstrasse and follow this road for about 200m. Turn left into a small road which leads you to a gate. Park your car nearby, but take to care of not Blocking the gate (because it’s an emergency entrance for firefighters). You can take pictures from the gate or you can use the big parkingplace on your right.
Therefore you have to walk down the Towerstrasse another 100m and then enter the parking area by Using another gate on your left. There you can choose your favourite position, this depends on the view you like the most – that’s why we have different angles in our example pictures!
+++ DEC 2020: The fenced parking is under construction now and not accessible during the weekdays. The site is not locked up as of yet, so you can still take your pictures from along the fence on weekends +++
|WHAT||This spot is very useful for cargo airplanes parked infront or next to the VDA Technics hangar, because they are usually parked in a good angle.|
|TIME||The planes are usally parked like the ones on our example pictures, so you will have light from late midday till sunset. It’s rare, but if a freighter is parked parallel to the runway you’ll have light from late morning till late afternoon in the summer and in the winter months from sunrise till sunset.
You can take good night shots from here as well as you can see below.
|MISC.||Terminal is just next to you so you can get snacks/drinks there. Restrooms can be found there, too.
Ladder not needed, but very useful (otherwise your pictures will might be vignetted).
An124 face-to-face = 45mm / An124 close-up side = 80mm / White B737 side shot = 125mm