Airport viewing areas

More cool planespotting options

BWI Airport once had an outdoor observation deck

My USA TODAY “At the Airport” column about airport observation decks didn’t have room to mention the viewing areas some airports provide near their terminals.

Here are just a few that were nominated for the story. Let me know about others you’d like to have added to the list.

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) doesn’t have an outdoor observation area connected to its facilities. But CVG does have an observation area nearby with picnic tables, benches, information boards and a play area.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) has an observation park near the air traffic control tower. Amenities include an elevated observation platform, audio of communication between pilots and the tower, a picnic area, educational placards and a play area.

Courtesy of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority
DFW Founders plaza
DFW Founder’s Plaza

And Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has an observating viewing area known as Founder’s Plaza.

In addition to offering great view of aircraft taking off and landing, the plaza has picnic tables, telescopes, historic information, a commemorative monument and a radio that broadcasts air traffic control communications from the FAA tower.

Which observation viewing areas near airports would you like to add to this list? Bonus for a photo!

Listen to your airport

While working on a column about airport viewing areas I came across at least one airport that provides a link on its Web site to audio of the communication going on between pilots and the air traffic control tower.


The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) includes a pre-recorded sample of the chit-chat and promises that you’ll get to hear the live feed when you visit Founder’s Plaza, the airport’s well-appointed viewing area.

Want to hear what’s going on at, say, your airport?  There’s a good chance that the air traffic control communications are feeding in real-time on It’s got a live feed from DFW airport and keeps adding more airports all the time.