Southern Florida Spotting Miami International El Dorado

By: Category: AirlinesAirports Around the World


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BY: Scott Jankowski
We continue our look at Spotting locations at Southern Florida Airports in Part 3 of our series focusing on “El Dorado”. Scheduled Airline Service began in September of 1928 when Pan American Airways started service from Miami to Key West FL. In the Mid-30’s airlines started to relocate to the then known 36th Street Airport for the old airport. Eastern Airlines was the first to relocate offering flights to New York City and Atlanta. Miami played an important part in the transportation of Troops and Material during World War 2. In 1943, the U.S. Army Corps completed the adjacent Miami Army Airport creating a vital gateway to Europe and Africa.

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In 1945 Cubana was the first International Airline to serve Miami with flights to Havana. The newly created Miami Dade Aviation Department acquired both airports in 1946. The Miami International Airport name was officially adopted in 1948. Through the 1950’s such iconic airlines as Eastern, National and Pan Am would become the dominant carriers. Several firsts were also on top for Miami in the years to come. National Airlines operated the first Domestic Jet Flight in 1958 with a leased 707 to New York City. Delta’s first Convair 880 set a Transcontinental Speed Record of 3 hours and 31 minutes in 1960 while flying between San Diego and Miami. Eastern Airlines operated the first 727 route in 1964 with service to Washington D.C. Eastern, National, Northeast, and Pan American introduced 747, DC10, and L-1011 service in 1970-1973.

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National Airlines was awarded several Transatlantic Routes though the 1970’s. These Routes included London with DC8’s in 1970, In 1977 DC10’s were operated to Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt were added in 1978. British Airways brought Concorde to Miami in 1984 with flights to London Heathrow. Miami has been no stranger to the volatility of the constant change in the airline Industry. National Airlines was merged into Pan Am in 1980. Braniff went Bankrupt in 1982, Air Florida shut down in 1984. Eastern Airlines collapsed in 1991 as did Pan Am, the Miami landscape was changed forever.

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We turn our attention back to present day Miami and the second spotting location known as “El Dorado”. It is located at the dead end of NW 12th Street and 72nd Avenue adjacent to the Furniture Store bearing the same name. This is the Prime Spot for Arrivals and Departures on Runway 9. You will have an unobstructed view of all arrivals, but will have to work around the fence for taxi and departure shots. The concern with the fence is easily overcome by several Concrete Barricades located in the area that you can stand on allowing clear shots above the fence. You can also view arriving traffic on Runways 8 Right and Left but is distant for decent photos. The Sun Angle is good all day long with Heat Haze being a factor but not as bad as other locations. You will not need more than a 200mm lens to capture full frame shots from this location. You have plenty of shade and several close options for food and drink including a convenience store within walking distance.

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All Traffic arriving from the West and South as well as all A-380 movements will use this runway. This will allow photos of airlines like Latam, SBA, Surinam, and Copa. All Cargo traffic that parks at the West Cargo base will also use this Runway. This will give you an opportunity to photograph airlines such as Martinair Cargo, Kelowna Flightcraft, Amerijet and Korean Airlines Cargo. Departures are limited on this runway to the above-mentioned Cargo Operators, A380 Departures and other departures that require 13,016 feet of Runway. Runway 9 also happens to be Miami’s longest Runway.

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As with the “Holes” this prime spot is a must see during any visit to Miami. Next up is our final stop and spotting location which is not at the airport itself, rather it is next to it. This would be the Miami Airport Hilton Hotel. Until Next time, “Blue Skies to All!”.

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Remaining photos.

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