Boa Vista Atlas Brazil Cantanhede Int’l Airport (BVB/SBBV) was opened in 1973 is the main airport of the Roraima state, with 344.300 passengers in 2019. This name is because Atlas Brasil Cantanhede was one of the pioneers of aviation in the state, especially for gold mining aviation – Boa Vista had, in the 1980s, the busiest airport in Brazil in number of aircraft, as there was a dense movement of small propeller aircraft to mining in the region.
Three airlines operate regularly at the airport: Azul, Gol and LATAM, with direct flights to Manaus (MAO/SBEG) and Brasília (BSB/SBBR). Despite being international, this airport does not have regular flights to other countries; until 2016, the caribbean Insel Air flew weekly between Georgetown and Boa Vista with McDonnell Douglas MD-82.
Despite this, there are movements by general and military aviation. The airport shares the main runway with ALA 7/Boa Vista Air Base, so it is possible to observe the traffic of A-29 Super Tucano fighters daily, and not infrequently C-130 Hercules, C-105 Amazonas, C-99 (ERJ-145) and KC-390. In general aviation it’s possible to observe business jets, agricultural, single-engine aircraft, which stop in Boa Vista during their delivery flights, transfers between North America and Brazil/Argentina. There are also daily general aviation flights with small planes for indigenous communities across the state.
As mining in indigenous lands was banned in Brazil, Roraima, which owns 47% of its land in protected areas, has these activities considered illegal; those who want to fly to mining have to take risks on clandestine runways across the state, which is why the airport no longer has aircraft traffic for that, and the massive movement of general aviation that existed in the 1980s no longer exists.
Written by Renato Maia. Last Update: May 2020
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| (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
|08/26||2.700m / 8.858ft – Asphalt|
|Terminals||There is one terminal only here handling all apron and jetway stands regardless of airline and destination.|
|Ladder||Yes, but just for Spot #3. You have no problem using it.|
|Car/Public Transport||There is public transport by taxi and bus to reach the airport. No car is necessary, as it is possible to walk to the sites. However, I highly recommend to use a car because Boa Vista is very hot and sultry, so it is more practical and comfortable to go by car.|
|Restrooms||Inside the airport only.|
|Drinks/Food||There are two fast-food restaurants inside the airport. There’s no spotter points inside the building, so I highly recommend to bring a bottle of water (and solar protector) because Boa Vista is very hot, especially if you don’t have a car and is walking thru the spotting points during the day.|
|Hotels||Aipana Plaza, Uiramutam and Ibis Styles are the nearest; they are less than 7km from the airport.|
|Season||There is no specific season, the light is the same throughout the year. April to September is the rainiest season, and ends up being more pleasant after the rains to avoid heat haze.|
|Security||Using a ladder is no problem at BVB as long as you use it for spotting reasons only. The only problem is when there is a change in security companies that usually occurs every 4 years; new security guards are often unaware of spotting and tend to prohibit spotters watching planes. So when that happens, you need to go to the airport administration to inform the companies about the existence of the spotters and then they will not bother us. But this is very rare and in general there is no problem, most areas used for spotting are public.
Take always care of your belongings and keep an eye on valuables at spots 4-6 especially!
|General Info||BVB is a single operated runway, where 08 is the prefered direction.|
|08||Main runway, with ILS CAT I and RNAV procedures. It’s used for takeoff and landings.|
|26||Used for takeoff and landings when wind changes (mostly between July and September), which it’s not so common.|
|Spot #1 – TAM Cargo’s Street – Apron 1|
|WHERE||The street is on the left side of the airport, following the fence. You can search for ‘LATAM Cargo’ on Google Maps and go walking or by car. Bus and taxi take you to the airport building, but not to this street. The airport bus stop is 1 minute away walking. You can walk this entire street with a view to the tarmac.|
|WHAT||You can see Apron 1 entirely and very close (the apron used by airline and business jets, where airport’s main terminal is located), taxiway C and most part of the runway (LATAM Cargo’s building hides a little bit of the touchdown zone). Also, the only parking position in the airport that can support heavy airplanes (Boeing 767+) is located near the fence, just next to TAM Cargo’s building. So, heavy airplanes, like widebodies and big freighters can just park in this area, very close to you.|
|TIME||Noon till sunset is best.|
|MISC.||When there’s a plane in transport of valuables/money (usually CTA’s Caravans), or taking prisoners, this street is occupied by securities and police. You can’t take pictures at this time. Security goes off after the takeoff. You can identify this situation if there are armored cars at the end of this street or next to the airplane, that usually waits 2 hours on the ground. Until it takes off, the street is restricted. But flights like this are not common here, maybe once every 2 months.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||I recommend 18mm to 300mm. If a 767 is parked next to the fence, you use less than 30mm. If a Cessna 206 is parked in the beginning of the tarmac, or you are shooting an A320 rotating next to the end of the runway, something bitter than 150mm is recommended. My camera has an APS-C sensor.|
|Spot #2 – Casinha – Apron 1|
|WHERE||Just above TAM Cargo’s building, at the end of the street of Spot #1. It’s not part of TAM Cargo, it’s just above this building. The access is by a ladder on the left side of TAM Cargo.
+++ JUN 2020: Spot closed right now, but soon going to reopen +++
|WHAT||Same view of Spot #1, but, you are upstairs, so you can see better. Planes taxiing to runway 08, pass almost on your side. Also, as you are are above TAM Cargo’s building, you can shoot planes touching down on runway 08, and, if a plane is rolling/Taking-off on runway 26, the plane is coming directly to you, with an awasome view of them rotating. Widebodies just can park next to this place, very very close.|
|TIME||Taxiing to RWY 08 = Morning
Taking off RWY 26 = Everyday, until 4PM
Parked on Apron 1 = After 11AM.
|MISC.||Same note of spot #1 about armored cars and planes taking money or prisoners.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Parked Widebodies = less than 25mm. Parked Narrowbodies = 70mm+. Taxiing to RWY 08 = 55mm+. Rotating (RWY 26 take-off) = 70mm+.|
|Spot #3 – Crashgate – Apron 3|
|WHERE||The last street on the right side of the airport, in front of Roraima State Government’s Hangar. If you are in front of the airport, look to the right, there’s a gate called ‘G3’, with a small board of Gol Airlines’s Cargo (GOLLOG). Arrive in front of the gate and the guards open for you. In general, they don’t even ask what you’re looking for, they just open it. But be polite, they are cool.|
|WHAT||You can see Apron 3, used by general aviation. In the left side, there’s a lot of abandoned planes like META’s E120, Beech D18, Queen Air and other small props. Airliners rolling on runway 08, leave the ground in front of you, as you almost in 3/4 of the runway. Also, you can see small jets, props and helicopters that arrive and spend the night, like Phenoms, Learjets and BeechJets, mostly on ferry flights.|
|TIME||Anytime. BUT, this area opens 08AM, and closes at 06PM.|
|MISC.||Keep a low profile as you are close to the military base part. Take a small ladder with you though.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||Parked planes on Apron 3 = Less than 100mm. Airplanes rotating = maximum at 210mm, more than this you crop the plane.|
|Spot #4 – Fence near Taxiway Alpha – Twy Alpha + RWY 08/26|
|WHERE||At the end of Venezuela Avenue: You can find this avenue on Google Maps, it’s one of the main avenues in the city. Just go to the end of it and you will reach the fence at the end of runway 08.|
|WHAT||Taxiway Alpha and Runway 08. You can see planes taxiing for takeoff and landing at runway 08, also the best place to be for planes taking off at runway 26.|
|TIME||Best in the morning till noon.|
|MISC.||Lots of bushes. You’ll may need repellent and a ladder.|
|Spot #5 – BR-174 Highway Bus Stop – 08 Arrivals|
|WHERE||This spot can be found just next/around a bus stop a bit away from the airport. This bus stop is located in the urban perimeter of BR-174 highway (also known as “Joao de Alencar” street), on the opposite street side of a red Baptist Church.|
|WHAT||Planes on final approach for runway 08.|
|TIME||Sunrise till noon.|
|MISC.||You must go by car (as buses don’t come here regularly), and take care of your stuff. You can park on the other side of the highway, near the red church, and then cross the highway to reach the bus stop.|
|Spot #6 – Rue Deco Fonteles – 08 Arrivals|
|WHERE||This spot can be found northeast of a big roundabout. It is located on the opposite site/north of a gas station along the “Deco Fonteles” street next to Império Beer. This spot is no exact position, you can choose your location around here.|
|WHAT||Planes on final approach for runway 08.|
|TIME||Later noon till sunset.|
|MISC.||You must go by car, and take care of your stuff. It’s a quiet street, there is a bar next, a gas station and a supermarket.|