Low Flying Planes Near LAX
There's a place I know where the planes fly low...
If you're an aviation enthusiast and you find yourself at or near Los Angeles International Airport, there's a great plane spotting location that you'll surely want to visit. It's also a fun spot for anyone to stop by and watch the spectacle of big airplanes roaring by overhead.
LAX Plane Spotting Park is really close to the east end of Runway 24 Right. And when I say it's really close to the runway, I mean it's really close for a publicly accessible area! I measured the distance on Google Maps and found that it's about 1,550 feet (472 meters) from the edge of the runway.
There are two runways on the north side of Los Angeles International Airport. Planes usually take-off on runway 24 Left (24L) and land on 24 Right (24R). The plane spotting park is also known as LAX Airplane Landing View Point which is a very good name because it's almost directly under the flight path of planes landing on runway 24R. I looked at the flight path on FlightRadar24 and according to Google Maps, the center of the park is about 200 feet (61 meters) north of the flight path.
If you want to be directly under the planes as they fly over, head over to the south side of the park near Lincoln Boulevard. From that vantage point, you'll see a "belly view" of the airplanes. If you'll be recording video there, you'll get the infamous "rotating airplane" shot as the planes transition from approaching the park to flying away from the park.
To see the side of planes as they fly by, stay to the north side of the park or watch them from the other side of N 92nd Street.
I think it's more of a rush when the giant planes float right over your head when you're on the south side of the park. But I like the pictures and video of the airplanes better from the north side or across the street. The only downside of watching planes from the north side of the park is that the flight path is to your south, which puts the planes between you and sun. This means that the planes will be backlit - in other words, the background of the picture (the sky) will tend to be brighter than the subject of your picture (the airplane). So the airplane will look dark.
I was able to correct that to some degree for some of my pictures and videos by either bumping up the exposure a stop or two in the camera or by adjusting the gamma level in post processing (Photoshop).
If getting good pictures or video is important to you then you might want to consider the time of day when planning your visit to LAX Airplane Landing Viewpoint Park. That's because the sun is in different parts of the sky during different times of the day. In the afternoon, planes will look brighter (less backlit) when they are approaching the park. In the morning, they will look brighter after they have passed overhead.
If you want to visit the park, you can find it by searching Google Maps for "LAX Plane Spotting Park" or "LAX Airplane Landing View Point". You can drive to the park, but I've read that people also use Google Maps navigation to walk to the park from the airport. You might want to do that if you arrive at the airport super early, your outbound flight is delayed or you have a long layover at LAX.
According to Google Maps, it will take you about 20 minutes to walk from Terminal 1 to the park. That's not a long walk, but you might want to check out the Google Maps street views of the route before making the trek. The sidewalk might be a little too close to the high traffic roads for some folks. Perhaps a 10 minute ride via Uber or Lyft might be the better way to go.
This park is a great place to watch the planes go by. It's all grass with no place to sit, so you might want to bring a folding chair or a blanket if you're going to be there for a while. The park is actually quite small, but it hasn't been very crowded when I've been there. Although the park is small, there's enough space for kids to run around when there's a break in the plane action. In fact, this seems to be a popular spot for parents to bring their kids so the little ones can see big jets fly over their little heads.
One of the nice things about this plane spotter location is that there's an In-N-Out fast food restaurant right across the street on West 92nd Street. That's a low traffic road so it's very convenient to walk over and grab a meal (and use the restroom while you're there). Even if a burger joint isn't your preferred choice for a restaurant, it's just nice to have any kind of food so close by while plane spotting! But wait, there's more! There's also a pizza restaurant, a bar & grill and a 7-11 across the street on South Sepulveda Boulevard.
Another nice thing about LAX Plane Spotting Park is the free on street parking between 8AM and 10PM that's directly alongside the park (on W 92nd Street). That's especially nice in California where it seems like you have to pay for parking just about everywhere. Just keep in mind that the parking spaces can fill up at times. Oh, and you'll also have to... parallel park! :)
I'm not sure where you can park if the on street parking is full. There are a few shopping centers within walking distance on Westchester Parkway, but there are signs there indicating you can only park in the lot if you are shopping at the stores. The only other option that I see is to park at "The Parking Spot" (offsite airport parking) which is right next to the In-N-Out. But you'll have to pay for parking and at the time I'm writing this article, the daily rates are between $27.00 and $29.50 USD.
If you visit the park, you'll see a wide variety of aircraft flown by airlines from all over the world. I've seen just about everything from the small Bombardier CRJ-200 to the giant Airbus A380. Of the wide body airplanes, the Boeing 777 is a common sight at the park.
Unfortunately, I've not seen any Boeing 747s fly over the park. The flight tracking application FlightRadar24 shows the vast majority of them landing on the runway on the south side of the airport. To see 747s, you might consider visiting Clutter's Park on Imperial Avenue, which is on the south side of LAX. You can learn more about that plane spotting location in my Clutter's Park Plane Spotting article.
Being so close to LAX, you can also see some runway operations as planes taxi to runway 24 Left for take-off. But to get a good view, you'll need a fair amount of magnification like binoculars or a longer focal length lens on your camera. I had to zoom in to over 200mm in order to get some good pictures and videos.
And you'll need some serious magnification if you want to see the planes taking off from runway 24 Left. The picture below was taken at a focal length of 3000mm with my Nikon COOLPIX P1000 super zoom camera!
But no matter where you stand at the park or what kind of camera you have, I encourage you to visit LAX Plane Spotting Park to experience what it's like to see and hear big jets flying so low over your head. It is truly amazing when a big one like an Airbus A380 floats over the top of you!
Watch the Video
I also recorded some video of big jets flying overhead at LAX Plane Spotting Park. Everything from the small Bombardier CRJ-700 to the insanely gargantuan Airbus A380. You can watch it all on YouTube by clicking on the picture below. If you enjoy the video then it would be great if you could "like" the video on YouTube or maybe even leave a comment to let me know that you stopped by!
Thanks for reading this article and watching the video! If you enjoyed it then you might want to check out some of my other articles and videos below. Or you can browse through all of my articles.
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