The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG/KCVG) is located in Hebron, Kentucky and serves the greater Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana Tri-State area. The airport serves as a focus city for Allegiant and Delta but also has operations for Air Canada Express, American, Frontier, Southwest, United, Volaris, and VivaAerobus. It is also the 4th busiest cargo airport in the Western Hemisphere, acting as a global hub for the likes of Amazon, Atlas Air, ABX, DHL, Kalitta, and Southern Air among others. The airport handled over 9.1 million passengers in 2019 but took a hard hit in 2020 with the COVID-19 Pandemic. With 4 runways (3 parallel), CVG is a very large airport covering over 7,000 acres of land, giving spotters a lot of groud to cover each day they go. There are many locations that surround the airport where spotters can get their best shots from, giving CVG a year-round advantage for lighting.
Written by Jack R. Oliver. Last update January 2021.
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| (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
|18L/36R||3.048m (10.000ft) – Concrete|
|18C/36C||3.353m (11.000ft) – Asphalt/Concrete|
|18R/36L||2.438m (8.000ft) – Concrete|
|09/27||3.658m (12.000ft) – Asphalt/Concrete|
|Concourse A||Air Canada Express, Allegiant, Frontier, Southwest, United, Volaris and VivaAerobus (Both just for departures)|
|Concourse B||American, Delta, Volaris and VivaAerobus (Both just for arrivals)|
|Ladder||Ladder is not necessary for any location.|
|Car/Public Transport||You will need a car to get to all of these locations. No public transport to get around.|
|Restrooms||Porta-potties are available at the CVG airplane viewing area Spot1.|
|Drinks/Food||Plenty of supermarkets and restaurants at the south side along near I71.|
|Hotels||Hotels are located on the north side of the airport. These include Hilton, Marriott, Radisson, and Comfort Suites and in the south at I71.|
|Season||Summer is the best choice in terms of weather and the cargo traffic tends to leave/arrive in the early morning or late evening so north/south
runways are always better for that. In terms of cargo, peak season usually occurs from late November through late December.
|Security||Some locations are more monitored than others. Be prepared to leave when asked to. Some spots are good for just quick stops. The safest and best position is #1.|
|General Info||Cargo times are best from 5:00AM-10:00AM and 1:00PM-4:00PM. The cargos like to take 27 for morning departures as there is a noise abatement rule or something during those early hours.|
|18L/36R||Used mostly for arrivals. Some departures during rushes or for southern airport destinations|
|18C/36C||Used almost entirely for arrivals.|
|18R/36L||Barely used at all. But when used, it is mostly for arrivals.|
|09/27||Used almost entirely for departures. Arrivals for very windy days.|
|Spot #1 – Viewing Area – 18L/36R movements, 27 arrivals, taxiway S & T|
|WHERE||There is just one single official viewing location which is tolerated. Its the CVG airplane viewing area (AVA) which is off Donaldson Road east of the airport and open from 08:00 to 22:00, offering parking, picnic tables, a play area and excellent views of the airfield. The area around the AVA is pretty undulating and the fence is going up and downso walk a bit around to find the perfect position (see yellow line on the map). At some points the fence is lower than you and then you don´t have parts of it in the picture. Not so easy for heavies but narrowbodys are fine.|
|WHAT||The AVA is almost in the middle of the runway 18L/36R and perfect for all movements. If you go a few meters back to the entrance of the location you can even photograph arrivals on runway 27!
Furthermore you can photograph aircraft on taxiway S & T mainly for 27 departures.
|TIME||Runway 18L/36R from sunrise till noon all year round.
Runway 27 from late morning until afternoon all year round. Backlit in summer evenings and early mornings.
|MISC.||Pretty nice location with benches, picnic tables and even a childs playground. Porta-potties are available too.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Kalitta 744 = 190mm; AA CRJ900 =280mm|
|Spot #2 – Economy Lot Driveway – 18L Arrivals|
|WHERE||Located just beyond runway 18L. Right off of Donaldson Highway. Just pull into either the driveway median or off to the side. The main terminal is a short 2-3 minute drive from this location.|
|WHAT||This location is good for quick stops to catch arriving aircraft on 18L. The planes will pass right overhead, giving nice head-on and belly shots. You can go to the right of the driveway for some side shots. There is a grass area next to it.|
|MISC.||We generally try to make these quick stops as Airport Police reguarally patrol this road. This may cause alarm so I would time your arrival to this location appropriately.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||DHL A330 = 130mm; National 744 behind = 100mm|
|Spot #3 – Terminal Parking Garage – 18L arrivals/departures and Concourse A ramp movement|
|WHERE||Located on top of the main parking garage. Follow the signs to the top level and drive to the far East side.|
|WHAT||This location is great for 18L arrivals, departures, and ramp movement at Concourse A. Only major blocking factor is the Delta Maintenance Hangar.|
|TIME||From afternoon through evening all year round.|
|MISC.||You can access restrooms via the terminal by taking either the stairs or elevator. As long as you arent causing a ruckus, you should have no problem with Airport Police.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||United 772 = 190mm; 744 = 160mm; A320 ramp = 210mm|
|Spot #4 – Limaburg Rd – 27 departures and 09 arrivals|
|WHERE||Located on Limaburg Rd on the west side of the airport. Just park in the lot of the small buildings and walk to the grass area.|
|WHAT||This location is a prime spot for catching some underbelly shots of aircraft departing runway 27. On rare occasions you can catch aircraft arriving on runway Prime spot for catching westbound departures.|
|TIME||In winter all year round, in the summer from later morning until afternoon.|
|MISC.||Keep a low profile as Airport Police have told other spotters to leave this area, even though it is off of their property.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||748 = 100mm|
|Spot #5 – Delta Private Jets/Wheels Up lots – 09/27 and 18C/36C movements|
|WHERE||Located inside the airport off on Airfield Rd. There are two different parking lots where you can stay. One has a view of Runway 27 and the concourses right next to the Wheels Up building. The second one has a view of 18C/36C and is next is further down the road. No ladder is needed as the locations are elvated to overlook the fence.|
|WHAT||All 18C/36C movements and all 04/27 movements and nearby taxiways.|
|TIME||For 27 departures, late morning through afternoon, in winter all year round. For 18C/36C operations from sunrise till noon all year round.|
|MISC.||Keep a low profile as security tends to patrol this area throughout the day. If asked what you are doing there just tell them and they may or may not let you stay. Some officers are more lenient than others. Try not to stay too long.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||744 = 90mm; 763 =100mm|
|Spot #6 – Bosch Parking Lot – 36R arrivals|
|WHERE||Bosch is a company located at the south side of the airport at HWY 1017 near the 36R approach. The entrance to the lot is at the intersection of Aero Pkwy and Turfway Rd.|
|WHAT||It provides some nice views of arrivals into 36R.|
|TIME||From sunrise till noon all year round.|
|MISC.||Weekends are best to go as there are not many owrkers at Bosch those days. If you choose to go during the weekdays, park further down the lot and only come out of your car when the aircraft are on short final. Keep a low profile.|
Sorry but we cannot provide pictures from this location. If you do so, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Porta-potties are available at the CVG airplane viewing area (spot #1).
Thanks for the hint!