Chicago Airport Watch

By: Category: AirlinesAirports Around the WorldMidwestSpotting

IMG_5063 (1024x513) By Scott Jankowski If you frequent the areas around any of the Chiagoland airports, chances are you have likely seen the orange-vested enthusiasts with “ORD AIRPORT WATCH” emblazoned across their backs. Simply put, we are a group of specially trained aviation enthusiasts, over 450 strong, that are considered “authorized” to spot and photograph the activity around the Chicago Airports. I am honored to be part of this program and have been an active member for 4 years now. The Watch Group was founded back in April, 2010 as an offshoot of the Neighborhood Watch program in the Village of Bensenville, Illinois, and is the first of its kind in the state. “Observe, Record, Report” is the official group motto, with all members receiving specialized yearly training. This training is provided by local Law Enforcement, Federal Agencies, and Airport Operations. This training includes recognizing potential security-related concerns, safety related concerns, and how to properly deal with them. Watch members have called in safety issues like debris on runways and taxiways, and open security gates around airport perimeters. Chicago Airport Watch Members are all volunteers and must pass a background check and attend a training session before earning the coveted orange vest and official ID. Group Members spend countless hours in the nearby area teaching local residents and businesspeople about the benefits of having the extra sets of eyes in their community. You will also find us volunteering at numerous events held in the local area, and at training exercises at the local airports. We do not receive any financial compensation for our time, but what we do receive in return is well worth our time and efforts. The biggest benefit for following all Group, local, and federal regulations, respecting the people and businesses we spot in and around, recording our time, completing our training, and promoting the Group would be the ramp tours at Chicago O’Hare Airport. We will spend time next to ramps, runways, and taxiways. We have been given tours of the main Fire Station on the field, the Fire Rescue Training areas, and the Cargo Ramps. We have seen parts of O’Hare that you rarely, if ever get to see.

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During our tours, we have been fortunate enough to photograph such rarities such as the Zero G 727-200 and the prototype Canadair CS-1000, as well as the more regular United and American 737’s. It is quite a thrill to be extremely close to departing 747-400s - you really cannot get much closer then we get. The action does not stop next to the runways, as we have also been ramp-side watching 747-400 freighters load for their next flight, and saw Citations and Falcons parked on the Signature FBO ramp. Airport Watch Groups are gaining popularity as airports across the globe realize the benefits of having such programs. In the U.S., besides Chicago, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, and Minneapolis have Airport Watch Programs. The Canadians and the Australians also have Watch Programs at airports across each country. The requirements vary from program to program, but to join the ORD Airport Watch Program you need to be at least 18 years old, pass a background check, pay your minimal processing fee and attend the yearly training sessions. If you would like join or are looking for more specific information please see the website at WWW.ORDAIRPORTWATCH.ORG , the Facebook page, or contact Aviation Universe at 630-350-7913. Aviation Universe is an aviation-related hobby shop in the village of Bensenville and has many different aviation-themed items.

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ORD Airport Watch continues to grow, with new members being constantly added. If you frequently “spot” in and around the Chicago area, I highly recommend you look into joining. If you are out spotting and see the Orange Vests around, please stop by and introduce yourself. We would love to meet you and tell you more about us. Thank you for reading and as always “Blue Skies to All!”   IMAGE 5063 JA742J JAPAN AIRLINES 777-346ER C/N 36129 IMAGE 5245 B-2063 CHINA CARGO AIRLINES 777-2J6 C/N 29156 IMAGE 5349 G-BNLO BRITISH AIRWAYS 747-436 C/N 24057 IMAGE 5364 G-BNLO BRITISH AIRWAYS 747-436 C/N 24057 IMAGE 5403 N174UA UNITED AIRLINES 747-422 C/N 24381 IMAGE 5572 PH-BFW KLM ROYAL DUTCH AIRLINES 747-406M C/N 30454 IMAGE 5550 N522TA AVIANCA AIRLINES A319-132 C/N 5219 STAR ALLIANCE COLORS IMAGE 5597 A7-BAG QATAR AIRLINES 777-3D2ER C/N 36014 ONE WORLD COLORS IMAGE 6541 N794AJ AMERIJET AIRLINES 727-227 C/N 21243 ZERO G COLORS IMAGE 6610 N794AJ AMERIJET AIRLINES 727-227 C/N 21243 ZERO G COLORS IMAGE 6640 N604AE AMERICAN EAGLE AIRLINES EMB-145LR MSN 58 IMAGE 6789 N485EV EVERGREEN AIRLINES 747-212B C/N 70712 IMAGE 6799 D-ABTA LUFTHANSA GERMAN AIRLINES 747-430 C/N 24285 IMAGE 6863 F-GZCB AIR FRANCE A330-203 MSN 443 IMAGE 6895 9H-ALE COMLUX MALTA A319-115 MSN 2592 IMAGE 7655 N671UA UNITED AIRLINES 767-322ERWL C/N 30076 IMAGE 7859 A6-ETH ETHIAD AIRLINES 777-3FXER C/N 39683 IMAGE 7891 N802AN AMERICAN AIRLINES 787-8 C/N 40620 IMAGE 7903 N802AN AMERICAN AIRLINES 787-8 C/N 40620 IMAGE 7985 N910AT DELTA AIRLINES 747-231 C/N 55086 IMAGE 8188 C-FFCO BOMBARDIER CS-100 SERIAL 50006 IMAGE 8260 N427YX AMERICAN EAGLE AIRLINES E-170 MSN 402 IMAGE 8316 N973NN AMERICAN AIRLINES 737-823 C/N 31219 IMAGE 8324 C-FEJF AIR CANADA EXPRESS E-170SU MSN 91 IMAGE 8342 N37456 UNITED AIRLINES 737-924ER C/N 37205 IMAGE 8401 VT-ALO AIR INDIA AIRLINES 777-337ER C/N 36313 IMAGE 8408 JA18KZ NIPPON CARGO AIRLINES 757-8KZF C/N 8408 IMAGE 8448 B-2428 CHINA CARGO AIRLINES 747-412F C/N 28263 IMAGE 8458 N773AN AMERICAN AIRLINES 777-223 C/N 29583 IMAGE 8493 FEDEX RAMP WITH MD10’S AND A300 IMAGE 8516 N942NN AMERICAN AIRLINES 737-823 C/N 30084 IMAGE 8555 N75410 UNITED AIRLINES 737-924WL C/N 30127 IMAGE 8577 N905AN AMERICAN AIRLINES 737-823 C/N 29507 FLAGSHIP LIBERTY TITLES IMAGE 8605 N178UA UNITED AIRLINES 747-422 C/N 24385 IMAGE 8620 N178UA UNITED AIRLINES 747-422 C/N 24385 IMAGE 8673 D-ALCK LUFTHANSA CARGO AIRLINES MD-11F C/N 48803 IMAGE 8682 JA789A ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS 777-381ER C/N 40687 IMAGE 8817 EC-LUK IBERIA AIRLINES A330-302 C/N 1385 IMAGE 8882 JA777A ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS 777-381ER C/N 32650

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