Spotting-Guide:

Leipzig, Germany (LEJ/EDDP)

General

 

Introduction:
At first glance another usual german regional airport, but I has a lot more to offer. Nice Photo spots and good traffic quality but bad traffic quantity. Leipzig is the main hub of DHL Cargo Airlines.
Police is in general no problem but make sure you stay away from the fence at least 3m in the time you make no photos.

Frequencies
:
Monitoring ATC communications is not permitted in Germany.

Runway-Usage:
During nighttime all flights are operated via the southern RWY26L / 08R. During daytime the following patterns take place:
All Cargo Flights (inbound and outbound) use RWY 26L / 08R
All other flights (scheduled flights aswell as US troop charter flights) use RWY 26R / 08L for departure and arrival. Taxiing for take-off goes from the apron via the eastern taxiway bridge over the highway when RWY26R is in use and from the runway via the western bridge to the apron after landing. When RWY08L is in use it is the other way around.
This is the case in about 75% of the days but I noticed some unplannable ways of RWY and Taxiway usage for several reasons like notams, delay etc. So be flexible.

Traffic:
Traffic consists of of only few schedueld flights per day plus some additional holiday charters. See the schedule here:
http://www.leipzig-halle-airport.de

But Leipzig is used by the US Army as a hub for troop flights between the USA and the middle east. Airlines operating those flights are: World Airways, North American Airlines, Ryan International and Omni Air International. Of course for those flights are no schedules published so it's a game if you catch one of those flights or not. On average between 3 and 5 of those flights per day operate in LEJ during daylight mainly before noon, in the middle of the night a few more. A useful link for  the flights coming from the US ist this one (Note that this one does not include the flights coming from the middle east to LEJ, so this is only about 50% of the US Traffic!):
http://flightaware.com/live/airport/EDDP

Besides the US flights LEJ is also a Cargo hub. 90% of the flights operate in the middle of the night, but on some days a few of them arrive during daylight. See this forum for the schedule of the cargo flights. On a regualar basis the Antonov 124 visits LEJ, sometimes visible also on flightaware.com (see link above).
http://www.airportbilder.com
 

 

Photo - Locations

 

A interactive map with the following spotting points on it can be found here, using maps.google.com. Important Note: the map on maps.google.com still has the old southern RWY in the database. The spotting locations are at the correct place though, but you have to imagine the southern RWY about 1,5 times longer than the one on the map and exactly parralel to the northern RWY!

Spot 1 - Taxiway N

  • General
    This spot is located south of the Taxiway N running parallel south of RWY26R. Acces is just at the end of the "Polygraphstraße". You can pick your favorite location by walking along the perimeter fence.

  • How to get there
    Check the spotting map.
    You can reacht this spot by walking from the terminal (approx. 30min) just following the fence eastwards. You can also go there by car by and drive down the Polygraphstraße (see map). But since this is a way for the fire fighters you should stay near your car that you make sure not to block the street.

  • What equipment do you need:
    Ladder useful but photos through the fence are also possible for taxiing planes.
    Lens approx. 50mm for taxiing planes, 300mm for landing planes.

  • When to use this spot
    Good light conditions almost the whole day because the spot faces northwards

  • What kind of pictures can you take
    Shot's of planes taxiing to RWY26R for take-off and landings on RWY26R.

Example photos:

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Spot 2 - Approach 26R

  • General
    This spot is just more to the east of spot 1 on a field. You can vary your exact position according to your wishes or equipment.

  • How to get there
    Check the spotting map.

    It is impossible to park your car near this spot since Landsberger Straße is very busy. So park your car in the housing area of Radefelde or Freiroda and go there by foot using a nice path at the side of the Landsberger Straße (15-20min). If you come from Spot 1 continue along the airport fence eastwards. It takes another 20 minutes from Spot 1 to Spot 2 by foot.

  • What equipment do you need:
    No ladder is required. Focal length between 100 and 250mm.

  • When to use this spot
    Light is best during the middle of the day as this spot faces norhtwards.

  • What kind of pictures can you take
    You can take pictures of aircraft approaching RWY26R.

Example photo:

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Spot 3 - Approach RWY08R

  • General
    A spot just next to the approach sector of RWY08R on a field.

  • How to get there
    Check the spotting map.
    Important Note:
    the map on maps.google.com still has the old southern RWY in the database. The spotting locations are at the correct place though, but you have to imagine the southern RWY about 1,5 times longer than the one on the map and exactly parralel to the northern RWY!
    Best is to park your car near the small train station "Schkeuditz West" (or go there by train of course). From there just walk to the north via a small footpath. Cross the "Flughafenallee" and jump over the small river (really no problem, approx 50cm wide ;-) ) and you are on a large field. Don't walk over the plants but follow the airport fence a few meters more to the north and pick your spot according to your focal lenght.

  • What equipment do you need:
    No ladder required. Focal length about 100-200mm

  • When to use this spot
    Light is best during the middle of the day as this spot faces norhtwards.

  • What kind of pictures can you take
    A nice spot to photograph arrivals into RWY08R.

Example photo:

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Spot 4 - Approach RWY08L

  • General
    A spot just next to the approach sector of RWY08L very close to a busy highway. But you are standing safe on a wide grass area.

  • How to get there
    Check the spotting map.
    This one is only accesable by foot. From the terminal building make sure to cross the highway to be on the north side of it! Leave the building on the first floor and walk northwards and down a car ramp. You are now near the very western end of the "Towerstraße". From there walk along the airport fence westwards. You are all the time between the highway and the airport area. You will walk below the two bridges and you have reached the spot as soon as you are next to a highway exit. It takes about 25min to walk there from the terminal.

  • What equipment do you need:
    No ladder required. Focal length approx. 100mm

  • When to use this spot
    Light is best during the middle of the day as this spot faces norhtwards.

  • What kind of pictures can you take
    You can take pictures of aircraft approaching RWY08L.

Example photo:

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Spot 5 - Touchdown 08R

  • General
    A spot just abeam the touchdown point of RWY08R.

  • How to get there
    Check the spotting map.
    Important Note:
    the map on maps.google.com still has the old southern RWY in the database. The spotting locations are at the correct place though, but you have to imagine the southern RWY about 1,5 times longer than the one on the map and exactly parralel to the northern RWY!
    The spot is located on the areal of the AeroLogic Company (Industriestr. 56 04435 Schkeuditz). Even though it is permitted to acces this area don't hang around there to long. The spot is located on the parking area just near the northwest corner of this building.

  • What equipment do you need:
    There is a huge fence that is too high for a ladder. So you don't have another chance than shooting through the fence which is not perfect but with a bit of training it works out quiet good.

  • When to use this spot
    Light is best during the middle of the day as this spot faces norhtwards.

  • What kind of pictures can you take
    You can take photos of planes touching down on RWY08R or with a little luck of planes departing from RWY26L whenever they perform a late rotation.
     

Example photo:

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Spot 6 - Approach 26L

  • General
    A spot south of the approach sector of RWY26L on a field. Please do not step on the plants but use the small footpath that runs along the fence to pick your photo position.

  • How to get there
    Check the spotting map.
    Important Note:
    the map on maps.google.com still has the old southern RWY in the database. The spotting locations are at the correct place though, but you have to imagine the southern RWY about 1,5 times longer than the one on the map and exactly parralel to the northern RWY!

    When coming from the south on the Radefelder Allee you will pass underneath the approach for RWY26L. When you reach a roundabout, take the third exit there. Since this is also a way for the fire brigade make sure not to block the way and park your car at the side of the road. You can also walk there by foot from the terminal by using the Flughafenallee and a footpath next to the Radefelder Allee (approx 45min).

  • What equipment do you need:
    No ladder is required. Focal lenght varies with the exact position you take between 70 and 300mm.

  • When to use this spot
    Light is best during the middle of the day as this spot faces norhtwards.

  • What kind of pictures can you take
    You can take pictures of aircraft approaching RWY26L.

Example photo:

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Spot 7 - Taxiway E8

  • General
    This spot is located near the point where the street to Freiroda crosses over the highway. So you are standing on an uphill position allowing you to be higher than the airport fence.

  • How to get there
    Check the spotting map.

    Since it is impossible to park your car there, best idea is to go there by foot by using either the footpath running south of the Radefelder Allee when you come from the east or by walking on the Flughafenallee when you come from the terminal. Walking from the terminal takes about 20 minutes.

  • What equipment do you need:
    No ladder required. Focal length approx. 200mm.

  • When to use this spot
    This spot faces westwards so it is best in the early morning hours.

  • What kind of pictures can you take
    You can take pictures of aircraft taxiing to RWY26R for departure using Taxiway E8 (eastern taxiway bridge over the highway). It is also possible to shoot planes taxiing to the apron after landing on RWY08L, but only few of them use this taxiway.

Example photo:

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Spot 8 - DHL Apron

  • General
    This spot is at the fence of the DHL apron. Please don't hang around there very long, just go there take a snap and move on.

  • How to get there
    Check the spotting map.

    When driving on the B6 though the town of Schkeuditz simply follow the signs do the DHL facilities. You can't miss it! Short time parking is possible there at the side of the street. If you don't have a car best is to take the train to Schkeuditz and just cross the B6 and head towards the DHL facilities to the northeast of you. Walking time is 5-10min.

  • What equipment do you need:
    No ladder is required since the fence is too high. You have to shoot through it. Focal length varies between 30 and 150mm depending which plane you want to photograph.

  • When to use this spot
    Light is best during the middle of the day as this spot faces norhtwards.

  • What kind of pictures can you take
    You can take pictures of planes parking on the DHL ramp.

Example photo:

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Spot  9 - Observation Deck

  • General
    This spot is located on top of the old ATC tower, just east of the terminal building. The fare to acces the observation deck is 2€.

  • How to get there
    Check the spotting map.
    Follow the signs in the terminal or just go out on the ground floor of the terminal and move eastwards.

  • What equipment do you need:
    No ladder is required because the wall is about 1,5m tall. Focal length required is about 100mm.

  • When to use this spot
    This spot is facing southwards so you don't have any good light conditions at all. I recommand this spot only for viewing and not for photography. Nightshots from here are possible but you have to deal with a lot of obstructions that block your way.

  • What kind of pictures can you take
    You can take pictures of aircraft taxiing to or from the main apron. During nighttime it is possible to shoot the planes after they were pushed back.
     

Example photo:

 

 

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