Photos and Article By Scott Jankowski
KMIA (Miami International Airport) is the 11th busiest airport in the United States, the 36th in the world, and served over forty-four million passengers in 2016. The airport encompasses 3,230 acres of land and is a short six minutes from downtown Miami. From its humble beginnings in 1928, modern day Miami features four runways, six concourses, and one hundred sixty two gates. Over one hundred and nine airlines serve Miami, offering nonstop service to one hundred sixty one destinations all over the world. Miami is a major hub for American and American Eagle, they account for the majority of daily flights. UPS, ATSG Holdings ( which encompasses ABX Air and ATI), and Amerijet Airlines consider Miami to be their gateway to Latin America with several cargo flights every day.
Miami also serves as an Operations and Maintenance Base for IBC Airways, Miami Air, Eastern Airlines, American Airlines, and LATAM. Due to Miami’s very close proximity to Latin America, several MRO’s (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) have facilities here including AAR and the Commercial Jet Group. These are just a few of the reasons that make Miami a must visit for any aviation enthusiast and photographer. Miami, just like Fort Lauderdale, has some excellent locations in which to spot from, we will be taking a look at those locations in the next three articles.
The first we will focus on is on the North Side of the field, at the end of Runway 12 and 8 Right. This location is known in the Spotter Community as “The Holes”. Simply stated it means exactly that, located off 25th Street, the Airport Authority has cut several holes in the fence. The Airport Authority has even lined the holes with thick rubber to protect your lens. From this location you can easily observe and photograph arrivals and departures of Runways 8 Right and Left and Runway 12. You will have a great view of the UPS, FedEx, and IFL ramps from this location. More distant you will see the Signature FBO, the IBC Ramp, The MROs, and the Centurion Cargo ramp. A 50mm to 200mm lens will be sufficient to capture almost all the action, but 400mm would be better for the variety of props that use these runways. Sun angle will not be an issue here, but heat haze will become more prevalent later in the morning and afternoon. You can find plenty of shade across the street to get a break from the sun.
Based on the traffic flow into Miami, most arrivals from the north and from Europe will land on this side of the field. The A380’s will however always use Runway 9 on the South Side of the field and is Miami’s longest Runway at 13,016ft. All of the aircraft that park at Signature and at the hangers and cargo ramps on this side of the field will almost always land on Runway 8 Right or Left. 98% of all departures will also use these runways, except for the A380 and cargo airlines that operate out of the other side of the airport. It is not uncommon to see over ten aircraft waiting to depart during the busiest time of the day.
This is the first stop of the spotting locations around Miami. The following series of photographs are just a small sample of the variety to be found at this location. In our next article, will move to the South Side of the Airport and the second stop. This location is known at “El Dorado” and offers even more spectacular photo opportunities. Until next time, “Blue Skies to All!”