Miami International Airport Florida, the US-gateway to South America, handled 44 Mio. passengers in 2017. You get a great variety of international carriers, mainly from Europe and South/Central America as well as a many different cargo operators. American Airlines has a big hub here and is responsible for most traffic. If you want to escape the cold European winter, Miami offers everything you will need. Sun, ocean, planes…. and the girls at Miami Beach.
Almost all know operators from South and Middle America serving Miami from their hubs. LATAM Group, Avianca, COPA, Aerolíneas Argentinas or Aeroméxico as well as operators from the Caribbean Sea like Aruba Air, Bahamas Air, Caribbean Airlines just to mention a few.
Furthermore MIA is the twelth biggest cargo airport of the world with plenty of operators from all over the world, flying in and out of Miami. In addition to the cargo airlines from Latin America there are Amerijet Initernation, IBC Airways, UPS and FedEx using Miami frequently.
Spotting at Miami is tolerated by the airport authorities for the moment. However, spotting trough or having the ladder close to the fences is not permitted, it’s at your own risk. Only at the spot 1 is tolerated.
Written by Gary Culpan, Jan Seba, Jeremy Denton & Julian Mittnacht / Last Update February 2019
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|Airport Information||Runways||08L/26R (north side)||08R/26L (north side)|
|2.621 m (8.600 ft)||3.202 m (10.506 ft)|
|9/27 (south side)||12/30|
|3.962 m (13.000 ft)||2.851 m (9.354 ft)|
|Terminals||North Terminal (Blue)||Central Terminal (yellow)||South Terminal (red)|
|exclusive for American Airlines/Eagle and British Airways||United, Oneworld, partly Star Alliance||Delta, SkyTeam, partly Star Alliance|
|Spotting Information||Ladder||Not required but very useful if the spots are already taken. Also recommended if you want to try some pictures at the maintenance area. You can buy it at “The Home Depot”, 3x of them are at 5 to 10 minutes drive from the airport.|
|Restrooms||Tagged on the map, next to spot #3 or petrol station but you have to ask for the keys.|
|Drinks/Food||Tagged on the map, next to spot #3 or petrol station but you have to ask for the keys.|
|Hotels||There are cheap hotels all around the airport.|
|Season||Try to avoid the summer months. You will be confronted with heavy rain showers and high temperatures. Best conditions for spotting are in the winter from December till March with less rain and perfect position of the sun. All our spots are winter positions too!|
|Runway Usage||08L/26R||used for departures and arrivals in both directions (08 is more in use than 26). Prefered runway for Centurion Cargo, Atlas Air, UPS, FedEx, IBC as their facilities located at the north of the airport.|
|08R/26L||used for departures and arrivals in both directions (08 is more in use than 26). Prefered runway for Centurion Cargo, Atlas Air, UPS, FedEx as their facilities located at the north of the airport.|
|09/27||used for departures and arrivals in both directions, mainly by South American carriers and cargo airlines based in the southern cargo terminal (e.g. Atlas, Avianca, LAN Cargo, China Airlines, Amerijet) (09 is more in use than 27)|
|12/30||used for departures and arrivals in both directions. RWY 30 is preferred landing direction for flights from South America and Amerijet.
RWY 12 in use parallel to RWY 08 and 09.
RWY 30 in use parallel to RWY 26 and 27.
|Spot #1 – The Holes – 12 departures & arrivals and 08R/08L arrivals & departures|
|WHERE||This is the only official spotting location in Miami which is located near the cargo area. When you drive northwards on the 826N/Palmetto Expy, take the exit NW 25 St. Turn right into the NW 25 St and drive eastwards. Towards 500 meters you will see the perimeter fence and some holes in it on the left. This is the spot to be. Park your car where we mention it in the guide.|
|WHAT||As the name says, there are some big holes (5x big ones + 3 small ones) plus some in the airport perimeter fence. You get all 08 & 12 action at this spot. The planes are pretty close when 12 is in use for landings and its a little bit tricky to catch them threw the hole. Departures are much easier and you can make great close up shots!
If all the holes are already taken, we recommend you to buy a ladder at “The Home Depot” (3x are located at 5 to 10 minutes from the airport) and stand back in the grass as the overview picture is displayed.
|TIME||For RWY08 its almost an all day spot. Only in the summer you get backlit in the late afternoon. RWY12 starts to become interesting from the late morning hours before it’s backlight.|
|MISC.||There are no facilities at this location and no shadow.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||08L : B763 = 220mm / B752 = 270mm / Convair = 400mm
08R : B748 = 100mm / B763 = 135mm / B738 = 200mm
12 : A359 = 45mm / B738 = 80mm / E145 = 105mm
|Spot #2 – Cargo Ramp|
|WHERE||This spot isn’t official as its on the roof parking of some cargo companies. Its just a puddle jump from spot #1. Drive back the NW 25 St and take the second left into the NW 67th Ave. Follow the road until you reach the intersection to NW 22 St. Cross the road and drive up a ramp that leads to the visitor parking on top of the cargo buildings. Please keep in mind that this is private property and you should be careful in what you are doing, cameras are present!|
|WHAT||This is only good to overlook the western cargo ramp and make pictures from the parked aircraft. Atlas, Avianca/Tampa Cargo, Cargolux, Estafeta, Kalitta, Martinair and TAB are some of the operators there. 09 arrivals/departures are possible too, but you will face the sun.|
|TIME||All day and night shot possible. 09 arrivals/departures are possible too, but you will face the sun.|
|MISC.||We recommend you to stay in the car and get out only for the pictures. Keep a low profile.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||18 to 50mm|
|Spot #3 – El Dorado – 09 arrivals and departures|
|WHERE||The best spot for all the 09 action is the ‘El Dorado’ , named after the furniture store next to it. When you start at the hole, drive back the NW 25 St until you will cross the NW 72nd Ave. Turn left and follow the road for 2 km. You will pass the threshold of 09 on your left and come to the next intersection. Here you turn left into the NW 12th St and again take the next left into the NW 72nd Ave (you see the furniture store at the intersection). Just follow the road until you reach some railroads. Park your car at the end of the road.|
|WHAT||Once arrived, you have a great overlook of the threshold of 09. You get all 09 arrivals and departures from this spot. All arrivals from South America will use 09, as they are closer to their terminal. Cargo flights use it too, for arrivals and departures, as parts of the cargo area almost next to 09 (Avianca, Atlas, LATAM, etc.). The perimeter fence is disturbing if you want to make departure shots. There is a rock where you can climb up as well as a small fence that can be seen on the below picture. However, we recommend you to buy a ladder if there are too many spotters.|
|TIME||The spot is okay for most time of the day. Only in the summer you get backlit in the late afternoon.|
|MISC.||A gas station and 7 Eleven is just across the intersection (tagged on the map).|
|FOCAL LENGTH||A388 = 50mm / B738 = 105mm / E190 = 120mm|
|Spot #4 – Hilton Hotel – RWY 30&27 arrivals, 12&27 departures|
|WHERE||The upper floor rooms of Miami Airport Hilton hotel commands fantastic views over runway 30 arrivals and runway 27 departures and aircraft taxiing for departure. Ask for a room at the north-eastern corner of the hotel. More informations can be found here.
+++ UPDATE Jan. 2019: we received several messages that the management installed something like masquitos & bug screens at the balconies and the stairways which makes spotting impossible. The following room-numbers are confirmed to be net-free: 1120, 1020 and 720. (620 and 820 are equipped with a net). To be sure please contact the hotel in advance of your stay! +++
|WHAT||Great for runway 30 arrivals, 12 departures and runway 27 arrivals/departures and taxi shots. You can also get good quality overall views of the stands where some of the South American carriers like Avianca and TACA are parked.
You can also shot from the hotel garden/lagoon but only RWY 30 arrivals (see DHL 757 below).
|TIME||Light is good for most of the day for 27. Only in the summer you get backlit in the late afternoon. 12/30 starts from noon till sunset to be okay.|
|MISC.||Facilities in the hotel.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||250-400 mm are needed as the views are quite distant. Some cropping is required to get full frame shots of smaller aircraft.|
|Spot #5 – The Lagoon|
||From spot 6A, exit the petrol station and drive down the road on the left until you reach the end. Park your car on the side of the road. During weekend no much cars but during the week it’s pretty busy.|
|WHAT||You will get only arrivals on rwy 27 and rwy 30 are possible too but they are a bit high.|
|TIME||All day during winter.|
|MISC.||The petrol station is next to this spot. Be aware that heat haze can be a problem during the day. Morning until 10:00 should be ok and end afternoon as well from 16:00.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||A346 = 180mm / MD11 = 200mm / B762 = 250mm|
|Spot #6 – Exxon Petrol Station or Hyperbaric Therapy/Dentist|
||6A) From the Hilton, exit the Blue Lagoon Dr take on the left on NW 57th Avenue until the lights where you have to take on the left on NW 7th Street. Drive a few minutes on this road until you reached the Exxon petrol station on the left side. Make the left turn and the spot is located on the back side. This spot can be tricky as you see the plane arriving on the right side then it’s hid behind the building and appears between the right and left yellow building (this is your gap).
6B) Alternative spot of the Petrol Station is on the opposite of the street after the lights, Hyperbaric Therapy/Dentist car park (8 places in total).
|WHAT||You will get only arrivals on rwy 30.|
|TIME||Good from 10:30 in winter.|
|MISC.||You might be ask to leave at the Hyperbaric Therapy/Dentist car park. However, was not our case during the two days spent there.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||6A : B752 = 200mm / A320 = 220mm /E175 = 250mm
6B : B763 = 170mm / B738 = 240mm / E175 = 290mm
|Spot #7 – Alfa Garage|
||From spot 6, continue back on NW 7th street direction East until the crossroads. Then turn left and drive on NW 42nd Avenue until you merge with 953 Le Jeune Rd. Once you are on the Le Jeune Rd take the third way on the right on Nw 27th Street. For a couple of meters you will see the Alfa Garage on your right side. Please park the road on the left side of the road near the tree along the fence.|
|WHAT||Arrivals runways 26R/L.|
|TIME||All day during winter time.|
|MISC.||A petrol station is very close to the spot.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||27L : MD11 = 70mm
26R : B738 = 240mm / E175 = 310mm
|Spot #8 – Oracle|
||From the Hilton Hotel, follow the Blue Lagoon road direction West until the end. Enter in the public car park and find a place as far as possible towards the runway.|
|WHAT||Only departures runway 27.|
|TIME||All day in winter time.|
|MISC.||You might be ask to leave by the private security. Stay in the car and keep a low profile.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||B748 = 80mm / B789 = 100mm / B738 = 130mm|
|Spot #9 – Rest Parking 2 hours stay maximum|
||From spot 1, drive back until the second lights and turn right. Then turn again on the right where you will notice a huge parking space for trucks.|
|WHAT||Only arrivals 08R/L.|
|TIME||All day in winter time.|
|MISC.||2 hours stay maximum. Nothing nearby. Be aware, that you are allowed to stay only 2 hours. Security cameras are presents.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||08L : DC10 150mm / Convair = 250mm / GLF6 = 270mm
08 R : Rarely used. Mainly for 744/748 parked at the north apron or 380 if rwy 9 too busy.
12 : B763 = 95mm / B738 = 120mm / E170 = 170mm
Rwy 08L :
Rwy 08R :
No pictures as the runway is rarely used for arrivals but possible from this spot.
Rwy 12 :
|Unofficial Spotting Locations – Around the MIA Airport|
||Located in the north side of the airport, near the business jets apron, IBC Apron & the maintenance facilities.|
|WHAT||Aircraft parked for maintenance or rest. Some can be easily taken some require to be smart.|
|TIME||Early morning or late afternoon.|
|MISC.||These pictures have been taken in various locations where you are allowed to be and see them. However, it is strictly not allowed to take pictures through the fences or having a ladder near by. Spotterguide is not responsible for any issues that you might have with the airport security, it is at your own risks.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||18mm to 200mm|