Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF/KBUF) is an intermediate size regional airport serving New York State’s second largest metropolitan area. First opened in 1926, it is the third busiest in New York State, and one of the oldest public airports in the United States. The airport’s development benefited from the dominant influence central and western New York had in the early era of aviation. During WWI and WWII, the airport was the location of the Curtiss aeroplane factory which produced thousands of fighters and bombers for the Allied air forces. In 1997, a new terminal complex was developed and opened. Currently the airport provides commuter service to northeastern and southeastern US cities via Southwest, American, Delta, Frontier, Jet Blue and United airlines. There is also cargo traffic with regular service from UPS and Fedex as well as a number of charter and private aviation movements.
Written by Chris Simpson (Local Spotter). Last Update: October 2020
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| (3 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)
|05/23||Asphalt: 8829ft / 2691m|
|14/32||Asphalt: 7161ft / 2183m|
|PAX Terminal||In the southeast the only normal passenger terminal serving all carriers and destinations.|
|Cargo Terminal||In the west serving UPS, FedEx and co…|
|Ladder||Do not use a ladder in any area adjacent to the airport perimeter.|
|Car/Public Transport||Public transit access is limited to the terminal side of the airport via NFTA bus, otherwise a car is required.|
|Restrooms||Various hotels and restaurants are located on Genessee St. which offer restroom access.|
|Drinks/Food||Various hotels and restaurants are located on Genessee St.|
|Hotels||Various hotels are located on Genessee St.|
|Season||Buffalo is well known for dramatic snow events in winter months, visitors in the winter should be prepared for Arctic type conditions.|
|Security||Keep a low profile while spotting in order to avoid any inconviniences. That’s why don’t show off your equipment if you very close to the fence al the time to avoid strange/suspicious looks. Always carry an ID with you as police can come by and check you. We already received one report that a visitor here was checked by the security services at the Mercy flight location.|
|General Info||The primary commercial runway is 05/23, most traffic arrives and departs on runway 23 due to the prevailling westerly winds.|
|05/23||The primary runway used in both directions.|
|14/32||The secondary runway used in both directions, primarily by smaller aircraft.|
|Spot #1 – Mercy Flight – 23 Departures and Arrivals Taxiway A|
|WHERE||The spot is a picnic area next to an old restaurant that now belongs to Mercy Flight Air Ambulance, and its a known place for local aviation enthusiasts. It IS located on airport property and is therefore monitored by airport security. You park in a large lot below the building (choose a spot away from the air ambulance facility) then climb a small hill via a sidewalk or the grass. There is a nice and clear view over the airport fence. If coming by car you can park directly at the location and if you stay in one of the airport hotels you can even walk to this spot (15 minutes walk).|
|WHAT||This spot allows a full view of runway 05/23. Becasue of the prevailling west winds, most traffic appoaches from the east and touches down just to the right of this spot. Departing aircraft rotate V1 about level with the spot. Departing traffic also taxi past on the fence side of the runway offering close-up opportunities. The taxiway is roughly 50 meters from the spot.|
|TIME||From sunrise till afternoon for 05/23. Runway 14/32 from sunrise till noon only.
This is a daylight spot only, visiting in the dark would most certainly attract security and risk detention. In December, January and February the sun sets almost in line with the runway making afternoon shots to the west challenging -> not useable properly in winter!
|MISC.||There are no restrooms or food or drink vendors close to this spot. It is quite exposed in winter and can be very cold. There is cover to hide from wind and rain, but it is necessary to move into the exposed area to take pictures. No ladder needed as one can climb the small hills around here.
There are stories about trouble with police at this location, but a visitor should have no issues if they remain in the easily identifiable picnic area, away from the fence and act in a way consistent with an aviation photography enthusiast. NFTA PD checking on people at spot #1 is EXTREMELY rare so there is zero need to worry though. They know about the spotting that occurs as do the workers at the Mercy Flight facility and will tend to tell anyone who harass spotters about “illegal photo taking” at the airport outside the perimeter fence to leave the spotter(s) alone.
Taxiway = 50-70mm / Runway = 100-300mm
|Spot #2 – Genessee Street – 05 Departures and Arrivals|
|WHERE||A paved sidewalk runs along the perimeter fence along the SW corner of the field. This spot has a bus stop, and is close to a number of parking lots for occupied and vacant businesses. Just search your favourite position along the fence or the sidewalk and shot thru or next to it – on the weekend, there is a parking lot just across the street which would allow the use of a ladder, the issue would be drawing attention from the business owners when the lot is full of employees cars.|
|WHAT||This spot affords a clear view of arriving aircraft to 05, and views of taxiing departing aircraft.|
|TIME||Sunrise till late midday/early afternoon.|
|MISC.||This spot is a public thoroughfare and thus can be accessed at anytime. It is completely exposed to the weather. There are hotels and restaurants only a few hundred meters away, as well as the terminal complex. Ladder not really needed as one can shoot through gaps in the wooden slats of the fence – at least departures/line-ups.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||30-300mm needed|