Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE/KMKE) is a civil-military airport serving Milwaukee, Wisconsin and located 5 miles south of the downtown area. The original airfield was established in 1920 as Hamilton Airport by local business owner and aviator, Thomas Hamilton. Since then it underwent some major extensions and reconstructions so it reached todays size and capacity. Todays terminal was opened back in 1955, but extended in two steps back in 1984 and 1990. From 1986 till 2019 the airport was named General Mitchell International Airport, but this name was changed into the actual one in February 2019.
In 2019 there were nearly 38,000 flights that had operated out of MKE and 6.8 milliion passengers. It is the busiest airport in Wisconsin, and one of 3 class C airports in the state.
Written by James Glazewski (local spotter) and pictures provided by Martin Pinnau. Last update: Feb 2020
How was your trip? Rate this airport!
| (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
|01L/19R||2954m × 61m Concrete/Asphalt|
|01R/19L||1275m × 46m Asphalt|
|07L/25R||1463m × 30m Asphalt|
|07R/25L||2442m × 46m Concrete/Asphalt|
|13/31||1789m × 46m Asphalt|
|Terminals||Only one terminal used handling all traffic – from international to domestic and from low-cost too expensive.|
|Ladder||No ladder needed.|
|Car/Public Transport||A car is needed to travel to and from spotting areas – public transport is bad. To get from one to the other is usually like a 5-10 minute drive.|
|Restrooms||If spotting from the parking garage restrooms are available in the airport terminal. There are Speedway gas stations a short distance away from the North and 6th street observation areas and there is a porta potty near the entrance of the dog park, but I would rather not use it.|
|Drinks/Food||The airport has some restaraunts before security, otherwise there are plenty of other restaraunts and convenience stores nearby located offsite of the airport.|
|Hotels||The closest hotels are a short drive from the main terminal to the west.|
|Season||Winter is not the greatest for spotting as it can get pretty cold and therefore uncomfortable to stand outside for long periods of time. Therefore summer is even better – good weather and more traffic.|
|General||Runways 01L/19R and 25L/7R get most of the action with three smaller runways that are occasionally used by smaller aircraft|
|01L/19R||Largest runway on the airport. On the rare ocasion when a large plane such as a 747 comes to this airport, it will use this runway.|
|25L/07R||Second largest runway. Used for most traffic when the winds favor it.|
|31/13 – 01R/19L – 25R/7L||Three smaller runways used occasionally by smaller aircraft|
|Spot #1 – North Observation Area – 19R departures and arrivals + 1L departures|
|WHERE||This spot is located just east of Signature Flight Services. It’s a small parking located on Layton Ave right at the end of Runway 19R. There is a fence, but no ladder is needed as you can take pictures through the fence.|
|WHAT||Runway 19R, arivals to 19R, departures from 01L, Signature ramp, and taxiways.|
|TIME||It is usually a good place to spot all day long, although during the winter months it can get very backlit and heat haze can be a problem in the summer unless the plane you are spotting is taxing very close (which they often do) or already in the air|
|MISC.||There are restaraunts and a gas station nearby.|
|Spot #2 – Parking garage – All runways and ramp|
|WHERE||This is the top floor of the parking garage at the airport, just drive in like you’re going on vacation, but choose hourly parking. It is also possible to walk into the airport and then go to the parking garage that way.|
|WHAT||This spot has views of all the runways and great views of the ramp|
|TIME||It really depends on what you are trying to spot, 01L and 19R gets backlit in the mornings, 25L/7R gets backlit in the winter.|
|MISC.||Food is in the actual airport along with restrooms. I have been kicked out by security once, as long as you don’t look suspicious (ie. running across a closed floor of the parkling lot) then you should be fine. If not they will just ask you to leave. It also doesn’t hurt to call the airport beforehand|
|Spot #3 – 6th St observation area – 7R arrivals + 25L departures|
|WHERE||Just off the west end of 25L/7R. Take college ave and turn north onto sixth street. The road will curve left and you will see a small parking lot. there is a fence, but pretty much everything you would spot here is already in the air and above the fence. You do have to worry about poles though.|
|WHAT||Best for 7R arrivals. 25L departures possible but not the best angle.|
|TIME||In the morning 25L departures can be backlit and in the evening 7R arrivals are EXTREMELY backlit.|
|MISC.||This spot is not in the greatest neighborhood. It is a good idea to go here in a group, and to be careful. I have seen people pull up in there cars and start doing drugs, and my friend almost got robbed once. You will probably be safe if you are in a larger group.|
|Spot #4 – Runway dog park – 01L arrivals|
|WHERE||Past the end of 19R/01L, take rawson avenue as if you are going to Gastrau’s golf center, but instead of going into the parking lot keep heading north on the dirt road. There will be a second parking lot where you will park your car and walk to the north end of the dog park.
An alternative is to drive from S Howell St to the end of E Oak St and spot directly from the car (as marked on the map). There is a chain blocking the access at the end of the road but it is at the exact same corner as the postion above but another journey.
|WHAT||Best spot for 01L arrivals.|
|TIME||Gets backlit in the winter, and also full of snow. Don’t go when it has rained recently or the whole park will be very muddy.|
|MISC.||The dirt road gets a lot of potholes, so I would reccomend driving a vehichle that can handle bumps, or better yet go with your friend that has a pickup truck. There are usually lots of dogs, and they can be muddy/slobbery. There is a portapotty near the entrance, and if you get bored, you can drive back down the dirt road to Gastrau’s golf center where they have a driving range and mini golf|
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.