We hope everyone is having a fun start to the Summer! With July heat, that can only mean that our annual #SpotLAX2019 event is right around the corner! This year, the event will be held Friday September 6 through Sunday September 8. Once again, this weekend also coincides with Cranky Flier’s annual Cranky Dorkfest on Saturday morning at 11am. Best of all, most events are FREE!
What else is going on that weekend? Lots of planespotting, great food, and hanging out with other aviation enthusiasts from across the country. LAX sees a great assortment of airlines from around the world, along with some very special planes that call it home. Bring your camera and plenty of batteries because we guarantee you will have plenty to photograph.
We have a limited room block available for Friday and Saturday nights at the H Hotel Los Angeles at LAX. Join us here to take advantage of their spectacular rooftop deck, perfect for catching that early morning or late night arrival. Rooms in the block must be booked by August 12th. The rates in the room block are good for Friday and Saturday nights (September 6th and 7th), however the hotel will extend them to the days before and after by special request. If you’re interested in extending your stay before or after the event, email us and we will put you in touch with the hotel.
Below are just a few of the great events we have planned. We’re also working on finalizing the details for a few others, so be sure to check back here.
Friday September 6th:
Arrival and Evening planespotting
For early arrivals, the Flight Path Learning Center and Museum at LAX is open from 10am-3pm.
After dark, join us for a night photography workshop. We’ll start at In-N-Out and then move to Imperial Hill. More details to follow soon.
NEW: 8pm: Night Photography Workshop. Join us at In-N-Out at 8pm for nighttime photos and get tips from other photographers.For the first hour we’ll focus on nighttime photos of moving aircraft. At around 9pm, we’ll move to Imperial Hill for a different nighttime perspective. There the focus is more on stationary aircraft. Sturdy tripods and remote shutter releases (wired or wireless) for your camera are strongly recommended. Bring fast glass if you have it.
Saturday September 7th:
11am: Cranky Dorkfest at In N’ Out Burger. Join over 100 aviation enthusiasts to, as host Brett Snyder puts it, eat burgers, watch airplanes, and talk shop. There will also be a raffle.
6:30pm: Dinner and AvGeek Trivia at The Proud Bird Food Bazaar. Moving our dinner event here was the single biggest request we received last year. Unlike previous years where dinner has been a fixed price per person paid at the door, This year we have moved to an a la carte plan where you can order and pay for anything you’d like from their robust selection of food options. We only ask that you do plan to order food, as the restaurant has generously worked with our group on the space. After a long day of planespotting at LAX, come out and join us for food and fun. Please RSVP for dinner at this link so we can get the restaurant a count of how many people will be attending. We will also be bringing back our popular #AvGeek raffle. If you’d like to contribute a prize to the raffle, please let us know. Special thanks to our friends at JetTip.net and Tom Rainey for already donating some great swag!
In addition, after dinner we will have the inaugural AvGeek trivia contest hosted by Isaac Alexander of Jet City Star. There will be prizes so get ready to test your AvGeek knowledge!
Sunday Sep. 8:
8am: Doughnuts on the Deck—If you’re staying at the H Hotel, come join us for breakfast and planespotting. Bring your camera and we will supply the coffee and doughnuts!
Other Things to See
If you want to get away from LAX for a bit, there are tons of aviation themed activities within driving distance of LAX. Here are a few suggestions:
- Flight Path Learning Center and Museum at LAX is open Friday and Saturday from 10am-3pm. The museum is located on Imperial Highway along the south side of the airport. In addition to exhibits, you may be able to do some ramp-level planespotting.
- The California Science Center is open daily from 10am-5pm and houses the Space Shuttle Endeavor as well as an aviation gallery.
- A VC-137C Air Force One at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley.
- The Museum of Flying at Santa Monica Airport open from 10am-5pm Wednesday-Sunday. (While you’re there, catch a little planepotting while SMO is still open)
If you want to venture further from LA, there are some awesome destinations in the desert surrounding LA:
- The March Field Air Museum is located about 90 minutes west of LAX and offers an extensive collection of military aircraft on display. They also have bleachers for planespotting set up under the wing of a Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter!
- The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale has a collection of military and civilian aircraft near the famed Air Force Plant 42 and Lockheed Skunkworks. Located about 70 miles north of LAX, drive time ranges from 75-135 minutes depending on traffic. It is open every day except Monday. Friday through Sunday, the adjacent Blackbird Airpark is also open. It is the only place where you can see a Lockheed A-12 Oxcart and SR-71 Blackbird side by side.
This event is open to planespotters and aviation enthusiasts of all experience levels. If you’re just getting into the hobby, or want to improve your skills, this is a great time to learn techniques from more experienced spotters. Bring whatever equipment you have, from a smartphone to a professional camera. With that being said, here are some recommendations on what will give you the best experience:
- A DSLR or mirrorless camera body with a telephoto zoom lens that goes to at least 200mm (35mm film equivalent) along with a standard zoom lens. Or,
- A “point and shoot” or “superzoom” camera with at least an 8x optical zoom. There are plenty of options in this category from Canon, Nikon, Sony, and many other manufacturers, including some for under $200.
- LAX is very photogenic after dark. To take advantage, you’ll want a sturdy tripod to mount your camera on at night. If your camera is capable of remote shutter release, you’ll want a wired or wireless remote as well.
Before arriving in LA, we recommend you familiarize yourself with our LAX Planespotting Guide. At certain times during the weekend, we may have pre-planned meetup spots. For those, check back here the week of the event. At other times, smaller groups will form and you’ll be able to choose which location you’d like to utilize. However, since specific aircraft movements can dictate which spots we use, these spots may be subject to change. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our latest location and event updates. Please use the hashtag #SpotLAX2019 if you’re posting from the event so attendees can find one another on social media.
We will continue to update this post in the coming weeks with any additional information. Remember to use the hashtag #SpotLAX2019 and we will see you in September!