Taking photos of aircrafts are not forbidden, but most of people think it is a kind of crime. We have the same thinking in Turkey. On the background, In Turkey, civilian use airports are also under act of special security areas, these are all airports, ports, power plants, nav aids, etc. In these areas unauthorized entry is forbidden, at these areas the taking pictures of buildings are not allowed, but aircrafts are free to take pictures.
So how we are spotting? Just stay away from the fences, or do not make yourself so clear to the security watch boxes around the airports. Better way is stay on the buildings, parks, forest etc surrounding airports. If you face a security staff, most possibly they do not aware of ‘photographing aircrafts are not forbidden’ listen them calmly, mostly they ask do not take photos, take a coffee break, if possible change location and continue in convenience.
Spotting at Istanbul LTBA / IST
Istanbul has three runways in open V style. If the wind is from north 80 percent of traffic uses runway 05 for landing and 35L/R for departures. In this configuration, private jets mostly lands runway 35L. (they vacate the runway at the end for general aviation area)
35L/R Take-Off, 05 Landing configuration.
For this configuration there are two most popular spotting area. Sun is on the east side at morning hours so IBB Florya municipality park is the most convenient place. It’s located at the sea side of runway 05 approach. For afternoon ‘ Flyinn shopping centre ‘ is most convenient as comfortable place for spotting. On the second floor open terrace for smokers is very close and good for spotting to departing aircrafts and general airport traffic.
17L/R Take-off , 23 Landing configuration.
When the wind is from south, Take-offs on runway 17L/R landings are on runway 23.
Flyinn shopping centre is useful for take-offs, but for landings there is no good place. The APlus shopping centre and roads around at Atakoy might be useful for 23 landings.
How to get there
To get IBB Florya park, from Ataturk airport, best and fastest way is take a taxi. Alternate way is from the some parts of city take train called Banliyö ( French originated word for suburb ) leave the train Florya, again taxi to the IBB park.
To get Flyinn shopping centre, take a taxi to Flyinn shopping centre at Florya, be careful about airport taxis, mostly they are not happy for short distance passengers.
Alternately, from the some part of city, take train to the Florya and taxi to the Flyinn shopping centre.
For taxi price you can use mobile app.
Spotting at LTFJ / SAW
Sabiha Gokcen is the another airport of Istanbul, growing number of traffic every year, It’s main base of Pegasus Airlines, second big user is the Anadolu jet. But unfortunately there is no good spotting place for both direction of airport. Airport security are not friendly, they are very unhappy with spotters. If you plan to visit around SAW expect a visit the security center. Just we can say a couple point. You can see on google map.
Spotting Locations Photos
Which lenses are enough for Istanbul
Spotting permission in IBB Park from Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
Spotting Points LTBA/LTFJ
View Spotting Points in a larger map