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Manchester Airport

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  • Manchester Airport

    This week, I was house sitting for my brother at his place on the Wirral. Getting bored very quickly, I saw some good weather at Manchester Airport so I thought I would give it a go.
    I enjoyed that so much, I put off my return home for an extra day and ended up spending 4 days there!
    The first day was a couple of hours, spent in the company of a spotter (number taking only) at a spot that looked good, on a hill overlooking the middle of 05R and the threshold of 05L. A waste of a day really, as all the activity was happening on 05L and it was a bit further away than I thought. Lots of haze spoiled that!
    The next day, I looked up some likely spots and set off around the airport. Unfortunately, I remembered half the directions from one source and half the directions from another source. Got lost, made a right pig's ear of it and was ended up walking, staggering or crawling all around the airport perimeter. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for those hills that have a gradient more like a wall! I eventually found one of the recommended spots overlooking the threshold of 05L among the approach lights. A rubbish spot really, unless you really want your photos to have loads of approach lights in them. At 16:00, they re-opened 05R for landings so off I went and found another spot on the north side of that runway. Really good for arrivals, with the sun going round slightly north of the runway as the afternoon wore on.
    When I got home, I found I had walked about 8 miles over some rough ground. That would have been a doddle 40 years ago when I was a soldier. Now I am lazy pensioner and the legs don't work the same way any more!
    Oh, and it might have been better if I had taken some food and drink!
    I was back the next day and found a couple of good spots on the south side of 05R. Luckily, there was work being done on the northern taxiways so this runway stayed open for arrivals the whole day. Smashing!
    Yesterday, I managed something like 11 hours. First 05R until that closed at 10:30, then at a spot above the Bollin River tunnel for 05L arrivals.
    At 16:00, it was back to the north side of 05R for another couple of hours.
    If only they would stop this regular closing of 05R, this would be one of the best spots for photographing in the UK. Better than Myrtle Ave at Heathrow. The best thing is you have an unrestricted view of the runways as the airport is more or less surrounded by hills and mounds that get you above the perimeter fence. plus, the police/security people don't bother you; they seem more interested in waving at you than anything else! Also, there is big mix of airlines and aircraft from Learjets to A380s.
    I was lucky, catching a pair of Emirates A380s that, according to the spotter I met there, never come to Manchester (A6-EDY & A6-EDZ), along with lots of the the Thomson B787s.
    I will be back!