WAW - spot 01
The biggest airport in Poland with the largest traffic, Warsaw Chopin Airport, is home for LOT Polish Airlines. LOT has it’s entire fleet based in WAW. Wizzair also has a base in Warsaw (currently 6 planes) and is the second largest operator. When spotting in Warsaw you won’t get usually any unusual machines (sometimes an Open Skies Antonov or a Yakovlev from the east). From the bigger ones you get the 777-300ER from Emirates, LOTs 787, UPS MD-11F, Qatar A330. Cargo operations: mainly during early morning hours (~6-7am) and late afternoon (~9pm). For details about the current situation don’t hesitate to send a question to the author.
New!!! Spotting holes available in the fence at some spots. See description of the spot if it has them or not.
Best way to get information about the schedule is at flightstats.com or the webpage of the airport. For exact light conditions I suggest visiting suncalc and checking the date and time that you are interested in spotting at, to see where will the sun be (your computer set time zone must be the same as the time zone in WAW [+1 winter, +2 summer]) for it to work properly)
At most spots there is no problem with parking a car nearby. If at a spot there is no such possibility, there is info about it in the part about the spot and tips where to leave your car if you need to do so. Also, a ladder isn’t necessary at most spots. For valid public transport timetable check the ztm page.
Written by Konstanty Dobrzyński, Clive Grant / local (last update September 2019)
How was your trip? Rate this airport!
| (8 votes, average: 4.75 out of 5)
|15/33||3.690 m (12.106 ft)|
|11/29||2.800 m (9.240 ft)|
|Terminals||Just one which is named Terminal A and used by every airline.|
|Ladder||Might be helpful at some spots for some shots but you can make it without one.|
|Car/Public Transport||Car is not necessary, but it is faster to get around with one|
|Restrooms||Not at the spots! Inside the terminal and restaurants (BK is nearest)|
|Drinks/Food||Small shops at the terminal, a gas station near the terminal. Fast food restaurants close to Al.Krakowska (BK and McD), a couple of gas stations at Al.Krakowska. No way to starve when in the right region.|
|Hotels||Hotels at the airport and in the city|
|Season||All year is fine, however best are times in late spring, summer and early autumn. Nevertheless winter gives an opportunity for some nice lit photos and de-icing pictures.|
|29||Mainly departures. Landings only in heavy crosswind for rwy33|
|15||Mainly departures. Landings only in heavy crosswind for rwy11 and good visibility, or when the wind is calm and visibility very good. Usually only departures|
|33||Mainly used for landings, sometimes the heavier planes depart from it.|
|Spot #2 – Coach terminal glass walls – stands 25R/L area|
|WHERE||Just beside the coach station and the new cargo terminal. There is a couple of glass walls through which you can look at planes and perhaps take some shots. No place to leave your car for long.|
|WHAT||Planes taxiing and standing at their stop. Possible looking on departing and arriving planes, not really a place to shoot them|
|TIME||Night, morning (to around noon)|
|MISC.||Usually there are vehicles, stairs, planes, containers blocking the way.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||from 18mm (up close)|
|Spot #3 – Small cargo terminal – taxiway towards the runways.|
|WHERE||Behind the small cargo terminal south of the bus terminal there is a small hut with a security guard in it, behind it there is a fence through which it is possible to take some pictures. Don’t worry, there is a barrier on the way. No place to leave your car.|
|WHAT||Planes taxiing to/from the runways. Sometimes some on stands nearby.|
|MISC.||There is a tree that might disturb. Lenses fit through the fence. Don’t worry about the guard.
Now has a double fence. Basically makes the spot useless.
|FOCAL LENGTH||70+ [120mm the 737, 140mm the A310, 230 the A320]|
Spot #4 – “Wirażowa” – de-icing and taxiing to rwy29
|Spot #5 – sidewalk – 29 arrivals|
|WHERE||This spot is located on the sidewalk of the main road, possibly at a small bridge. Just beside the turn to spot 4. Easy to find from the “Terminal Cargo” bus stop. If by car, proceed to spot 4.|
|WHAT||Arrivals on runway 29|
|TIME||After ~11am [summer] ~10am [winter]|
|MISC.||Light poles may be disruptive. Park your car in the region of spot 4. No ladder needed|
|FOCAL LENGTH||18+ [from photos below: Emirates at 195mm, Merlin at 70mm, the 737 at 125mm]|
|NO LONGER AVAILABLE – ongoing construction works.
|Spot #7 – Express road overpass – 29 arrivals|
|WHERE||A sidewalk on the overpass of Poleczki road over the express road and train rails. Near the bus stop “Osmańska”. Nearest place to leave your car at is spot 8.|
|WHAT||Planes landing on runway 29|
|TIME||After ~11am [summer] ~10am [winter]|
|MISC.||Sand on the sidewalk.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||135mm for 767, 185mm for A320|
|Spot #8 – “Cargo”/ Apron 12 – 33 arrivals/Apron 12 action|
|WHERE||Located near the Cargo terminal and apron 12. When traveling by car proceed all the way south beside the cargo terminal, you may park your car at the side of the road, then you must walk on foot. By bus: hop off at “Terminal Cargo” stop and walk south.
APR 2019: Construction works ongoing here, so future of this spot is unknown!
|WHAT||Morning arrivals on runway 33 and planes standing at apron 12.|
|TIME||Mornings and nights.|
|MISC.||After rain the ground likes to get muddy. Some holes around, but partly blocked due to the construction works.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||787 at 22mm, E175 at 40mm, A320 landing at 180mm|
Photoholes look like this:
|Spot #9 – “Technical road” – 33 arrivals|
|WHERE||At a side, technical road (extension of Wirażowa street) near the express road. Southern part of the airport. You may park your car at the side of the road and leave it there. By bus: hop off at “Terminal Cargo” stop and walk south.|
|WHAT||Morning landings on runway 33|
|TIME||Before 11am [summer] or 10am [winter]|
|MISC.||No need for a ladder, plenty room to park. In winter, snow can nicely reflect the light to the bottom of the planes.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||70+ [170mm for 737 from the road, Kalitta at 100mm]|
|Spot #10 – Field – 33 arrivals|
|WHERE||A field near runway 33 threshold. Continue driving/walking down the technical road until you pass the approach lights and make a 180 turn. By bus: hop off at “Terminal Cargo” stop and walk south. You may either park your car at the side of the field, near the approach lights or there is a spot on the field itself to which a path leads.|
|WHAT||Evening 33 arrivals|
|TIME||After 12pm [summer] or 11am [winter]|
|MISC.||Might get muddy after rain. In winter, snow can nicely reflect the light to the bottom of the planes.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Depending on where you shoot from. [Ryanair 737 at 115mm, Emirates 777 at 210mm (front) and 135mm (rear)]|
|Spot #11 – B8, runway 33 threshold|
|WHERE||A spot located in the area of taxiway B8 and the end of runway 33. After arriving at spot 10 or 9 continue together with the airport fence. Can’t get there by car, Leave your car at spot 10 or 9.|
|WHAT||Runway 33 arrivals and full lenght 33 departures|
|TIME||After 12pm [summer] or 11am [winter]|
|MISC.||Might get muddy, no shops nearby. B8 is now rarely used after completion of A8|
|FOCAL LENGTH||40+ [MD11 shot at 50mm, Aerosvit at 92mm, landing SAS at 135mm, Brussels 737 at 90mm]|
|Spot #12 – H1, new 33 threshold|
|WHERE||This is a spot between some summer houses. Near the fences. To get there simply take bus #124 to “Ogrody Działkowe Paluch”, there should be a entry gate to the houses, get through it and continue towards the airport fence.By car: while driving al.Krakowska south, turn left at the first intersection after you have passed the freeway (it will be over you), turn left into Na Skraju street. Continue with the street until you pass the animal shelter (to your left) and then after the turn right look for a gate to the summer houses (also to your left) and turn there. Continue up to the fence.|
|WHAT||33 arrivals and departures.|
|TIME||After 1pm [summer] or 12pm [winter], best in the afternoon|
|MISC.||You might need a high ladder to pass over the fence, if not you must shoot through the holes in the fence|
|FOCAL LENGTH||50+ [landing 737 at 130mm, Wizz photo at 220mm]|
|Spot #13 – “Paluch”|
|WHERE||The hill like structure is located at the brink of the forest. There are two ways of getting there.By car: while driving al.Krakowska south, turn left at the first intersection after you have passed the freeway (it will be over you), turn left into Na Skraju street. Continue with the street until you get to the animal shelter (to your left) and park your car there. Proceed as ** There is a bus stop for bus #124 called “Schronisko dla zwierząt” which is a on demand stop so you need to press the stop button on the bus or wave on it for it to stop.
** From the bus stop (or after leaving the car)
There are official holes in the fence; there are two at the south end, two in the middle and six facing east at the north end. There are about four more at the north end facing north towards Runway 11/29, but there’s currently a large pile of sand blocking the view, so these are no use at the moment.
|WHAT||Almost everything. 33 arrivals, 15 departures, in some way 11 arrivals (see small planet A321) and 29 departures. Best for the first two.|
|TIME||Post midday. Best in the afternoon.|
|MISC.||Nearest shops are far. Take what you need. You might need to walk through some bushes, don’t worry or fear. Heat haze can be a harsh problem from ~15 degrees celsius on!
Spotting holes available in the fence, but ladder might be useful to get out the fence from the mound totally – although there are some wodden obstacles and stones you could stand on.
|FOCAL LENGTH||150+ [A320 at 250mm, CRJ at 220mm, 787 photo at 300mm]|
|Spot #14 – Airport Firefighters station|
|WHERE||It is located near the airport firefighters station, hence the name. To get there simply continue from spot 15 on with the road and you will find a road like path in the field heading to a radar. Take it. Then move on towards a couple of plane wrecks standing just beside the fire station. Might be a little bumpy for the car but fear only after big rains when the field is okay.
You can either stay on the platform or go to the fence were spotting holes are available.
|WHAT||Runway 11 arrivals and runway 29 departures. Taxiing to runway 11 (rare)|
|TIME||After 11am [summer] or 10am [winter]|
|MISC.||A bit of a walk to the nearest toilet or restaurant. Bring what you need. There is a hill with benches. You may park your car at the spot.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||70+ [T154 at 165mm, A320 at 280mm, F100 at 300mm]|
From the platform:
From the fence:
|Spot #15 – A hill near Al.Krakowska|
|WHERE||When on foot simply go towards the runway from “P+R Al.Krakowska” or when taking the bus to “Szyszkowa” stop (which is just beside Burger King) simply cross the road and move towards the airport, there will be a road (poor quality) just beside the fence which will get you to the hill.|
|WHAT||All runway 11 arrivals. 11 departures and taxiing if in use (rare)|
|TIME||After 11am [summer] or 10am [winter]|
|MISC.||There is a hill at this spot so you are over the fence. You may park your car at the spot|
|FOCAL LENGTH||50-250mm (E175 at about 135mm)|
|Spot #16 – Al.Krakowska, 11 final approach|
|WHERE||At Al.Krakowska, near the approach lights to runway 11. In between bus stops “P+R Al.Krakowska” and “Szyszkowa”. Easily accessible by foot, hard to park a car.|
|WHAT||Runway 11 arrivals|
|TIME||Basically all day. Spring/fall best around 6-7pm with the sun in the background|
|MISC.||The road is a bit busy. There is grass you can sit on. In winter, snow can nicely reflect the light to the bottom of the planes. Hard to park your car in the area so better leave it at spot 15.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Rather short. The long ones only for far away approach shots [Q400 at 30mm, Aegean at 300mm, Emirates at 78mm]|
|Spot #18 – Viewing terrace|
|WHERE||This spot is located in the southern part of the terminal, is free of charge. The sole entrance is located near the railway station entrance, between Terminal A and the coach terminal. You can get here with any public transport arriving to the airport. The only place to park a car is the airport parking (with a fee).|
|WHAT||Good for watching operations. Photos of planes taxiing off the runway and/or to the runway, planes at their stands. You can not see the planes standing near the terminal. Only if the weather is cloudy and in the morning and the night.|
|TIME||Photos only in poor weather, morning and night. Good for watching all day.|
|MISC.||There is a thick, glass wall (tends to be dirty) which also isn’t perpendicular to the floor. There is a gift shop, a bar, a radar screen and the current timetable available.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||50-300mm depending on whether the subject is on the near taxiway, the far taxiway or Runway 15/33. Smaller bizjets and commuterliners will need a larger magnification.|
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.