KJFK

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Len90
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KJFK

Post by Len90 »

I know there is the NYC aviation page, but I truly find Kennedy to be a pain with spotting. I headed out seeing 22s in use, so the mounds would be the place to go. I get to the mounds only to see 31R arrival pattern. Went over to Rockaway Blvd and parked over in the lot by Kmark and Modells to get some directly overhead shots. By the time I was parked and set up, Kennedy was running 13L arrivals. Ended up getting fed up and left. Total number of images taken: 0 :(

This was my first attempt at JFK and I know many have gotten some great stuff. Would definitely appreciate some pointers and tips on how to spot there. I'll probably be out at JFK again in a couple of weeks and definitely would like to get something positive as the traffic there is impressive. However, with what I had today, it makes dodging with the police at EWR look easy :D

Please share any ideas you have!
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Steve1840
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Re: KJFK

Post by Steve1840 »

Len, don't get discouraged by the runway changes. Trust me, they mess with all of us spotters all the time. It sounds to me like the winds were shifting quite a bit the day you went, in which case that will happen. Generally when the winds are calm or in a constant direction all day long they will only make a few changes. If the winds are out of the west or southwest, you can expect 31s until about 8am and then a switch to the 22s until about 11am and then back to 31s until about 4pm and then 22s until it gets dark. If the winds are out of the west or northwest, switch out the 22s for the 4s in the above "schedule".

You will get splits between 22L and 13L if the wind is out of the S or SE usually as the 22L/13L split allows for the most flexibility traffic-wise as they can depart from 2 runways and arrive on two runways.

Please keep in mind that the above is not gospel and will not always ring true, but is a fair assessment of how things go at JFK. My best advise is to go on a day that shows little or no changes in wind direction. And if winds are calm, be prepared for them to change to a runway configuration that makes no sense at all. It will happen.

But by no means should you get discouraged. Get there nice and early, bring a scanner (tune into approach, not tower) so you can stay ahead of the switches and plan accordingly, and have a good time. I'll probably be down on April 27th if the weather is nice and would have no problem showing you around to some of the spots.
Len90
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Re: KJFK

Post by Len90 »

Thanks for the tips. I think April 27th would be the next possible chance I am out on Brooklyn as I would be picking up a family member who is flying in on that day. Now let's just hope the weather will cooperate. Mother nature tends to act up whenever I plan in advance on going on a photo hunt.
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Moose135
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Re: KJFK

Post by Moose135 »

(718) 995-8188

That's the number for JFK ATIS. You will hear the same message that is broadcast over the air, so you will know what runways are in use. Save it to your phone and call when you are heading out, and to keep up with changes during the day.
Len90
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Re: KJFK

Post by Len90 »

Steve,
Are you still planning on going to JFK on Sunday? Forecast right now looks like it should be promising. Fingers are crossed though.
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Len90
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Re: KJFK

Post by Len90 »

So I was down at JFK on Sunday and they were running 31s. Ended up setting up in the Costco parking lot up against the water. Hung out there for about 2 hours (1:30-3:30). Ended up catching a total of 5 744s, a pair of 340s, and a bunch of 777s and 330s. Kind of upset that I missed the jetBlue FDNY scheme by about 40 seconds, but I was able to get N587JB, the one of a kind blocks tail.

I hope to return a few more times over my summer break and hopefully catch them using 22s for the mounds experience.
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Len90
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Re: KJFK

Post by Len90 »

Went back to JFK today as it was all 22 activity today and I wanted to experience the mounds. I get there, catch a few planes, and then nothing. Listened into approach and heard everything going to 13s. Moved over to Howard Beach for the 13R thinking that is where everything is going... Nope the 380s snuck in on 22L during my 25 minute move. Got back to the mounds and "settled" for a little of everything else.

Today's pattern:
13R: Departures
13L: Arrivals: lighter aircraft, anything coming from the south, or west including all heavies that flew over the Pacific
22L: Arrivals: All flights from Europe or the North.

Needless to say, I learned a lot today. JFK gets everything, but in spotting there you get whatever you can. Spotting in 90+ degree heat kind of sucks when you have a book bag full of spare camera lenses and 5+ pound camera set-up around your neck. The mounds currently have 2.5 feet tall grass/weed covering them and there are a ton of random bugs present that enjoy human flesh and blood. Oh and finally, bring fluids when spotting in the summer.

With that said, I would go out there again in a heartbeat :D
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Cary
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Re: KJFK

Post by Cary »

Hope you checked yourself for ticks :) Most of the guys don't go up on the mounds this time of year (I still do, if there's sun and good traffic). You can clear the houses and brush from the parking area. Also, make sure you check ATIS when you're there. When they do the 13/22 split, I don't think I've ever seen anything land on 13R or 22R. Those only really come into play when it's full 13s or full 22s (a JFK regular can correct me if I'm wrong). When the split is going on, arrivals from the NW usually fly over the field, then circle south of the airport to pick up 13L. European arrivals will either cut into Long Island and go 22L or head down to near Sandy Hook, NJ, before turning north to 13L.
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Moose135
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Re: KJFK

Post by Moose135 »

Len90 wrote:Today's pattern:
13R: Departures
13L: Arrivals: lighter aircraft, anything coming from the south, or west including all heavies that flew over the Pacific
22L: Arrivals: All flights from Europe or the North.
Pretty standard configuration during the summer with winds out of the South/East.

Len90 wrote:The mounds currently have 2.5 feet tall grass/weed covering them and there are a ton of random bugs present that enjoy human flesh and blood.
Many of us will shoot from down on the soccer field when the weeds get high on the hill.
Len90
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Re: KJFK

Post by Len90 »

Cary wrote:Hope you checked yourself for ticks :) Most of the guys don't go up on the mounds this time of year (I still do, if there's sun and good traffic). You can clear the houses and brush from the parking area. Also, make sure you check ATIS when you're there. When they do the 13/22 split, I don't think I've ever seen anything land on 13R or 22R. Those only really come into play when it's full 13s or full 22s (a JFK regular can correct me if I'm wrong). When the split is going on, arrivals from the NW usually fly over the field, then circle south of the airport to pick up 13L. European arrivals will either cut into Long Island and go 22L or head down to near Sandy Hook, NJ, before turning north to 13L.
You would be correct on the way the configuration went. The arrivals from the NW bound for 13L would fly over the field at around 12-14,000 and circle in from the south. The European and Northeast arrivals were shooting down the coast, then crossing through Long Island with nothing going to 13L. The pattern was all 22s up until around 12:45PM when the lighting started to get okay for 22L. I did do a tick check, but I was bitten pretty good by everything else. Got some cool welts on my right leg and back of my neck from the Mosquitos.
Moose135 wrote: Pretty standard configuration during the summer with winds out of the South/East.
Winds were out of the South/Southwest.
Moose135 wrote:Many of us will shoot from down on the soccer field when the weeds get high on the hill.
Glad to know that after the fact :lol: I actually ended up shooting from the street by standing in my trunk for the last 45 minutes I was there. It worked out pretty well and did make me think about buying a house on that block. Almost feels like it would be the perfect place for a plane spotter to live. :D
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