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Viewing guide/info?

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Dunk
AeroResource Correspondent
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Location: Worcestershire

Viewing guide/info?

Post by Dunk » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:20 pm

Hello,

Anyone know of a useful viewing guide for Lajes in english?

Also places to stay etc would be handy.

Cheers

Dunk

globemaster124uk
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Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 6:16 pm

Re: Viewing guide/info?

Post by globemaster124uk » Thu Sep 09, 2010 5:28 pm

Hi Dunk,

I was out there last a year ago on holiday so may be able to help you, spotting at lajes couldnt be any easier if your into civil or US. One side of the base is military the other is the civilian terminal and a fence that runs the length of the runway. The latest google earth has a fairly good map of lajes - the dirt road to which i refer is the one pretty much next to the runway when you zoom in.

From what i remember if you go to the car park immediately to the left of the departure terminal you can read any of the civil bits and pieces off and look accross at the portuguese hangars and ramp space, there was also some transient traffic such as a egyptian herk parked here as well as the bigger civil planes e.g. 767. Being fairly open reading things off isnt much of a problem as lots of the locals come here to see their families walk out of the terminals onto the planes etc, you can also see the right hand end of the us ramp but its quite far to read smaller stuff off, but dont worry all is not lost.

If you come out of the car park turn right and follow the road for half a mile and take the first right turn follow the road through the houses right to the end through the fields of goats etc and you will come out opposite the american ramps with a totally clear view. This is also round about where stuff taking off leaves the ground so you can get some cracking shots. The fence is reasonably high but there is a small hill and walls you can scramble up onto to get over this problem. This is where the local spotters congregate particulalry at the weekends if something is due.

You will be able to read everything off the us ramps from here with binoculars easily. Heat haze didnt seem to be a problem when we were there as there is just the runway (about 2-3metres in front of you) and then the ramp further back, there are no hangars or 'furniture' to worry about either. When I was there there were daily herk flights, a nato e-3, a gunship gas and going as well as a dozen amx's on their way back from nellis. You will be able to tell if anything is due as over to the left towards the tower is all the fire extinguishers and generators and these will be pulled out about half an hour before anything is due and placed where the planes are due to park giving you a nice indicator.

I didn't have any trouble with security despite being in obvious view the whole time, however i parked on the opposite side of the dirt track to the fence and from what i gather if security does arrive its normally a portuguese officer with an american one and they are friendly and normally just want to check you out. Lajes is a great place to spot and i wish more bases were that easy, however you may go hours without anything military moving and it is hit and miss with the deployments passing through.

As for accomodation we stayed in a hotel that i cant remember the name of in Angro do Heroismo, it wasnt amazing though, the town itself is great and really comes alive after 8pm esp on the weekends with everyone being out and about and a real friendly atmosphere. The food is the one thing that lets terceira down, there is only so much steak and fish and sprouts a person can eat, the local cheese is great though and well worth trying.

If there is anything else I can help with let me know.

David

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RichC
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Re: Viewing guide/info?

Post by RichC » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:27 pm

Amazing place for transient traffic. A friend of mine said the fence that runs along the runway is not that high either so good photography can be had from take-off and landings and taxi shots.
Where else in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean can you view Prowlers, Ac130s, F16s, F15s, CV/MV22 Ospreys, KC135s, KC10s, F22s, U28s, and the like, probably the only base in the world with such a varied amount of aircraft passing through. Although obviously places like Akrotiri and Souda Bay plus Rota and Sigonella are contenders.
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Dunk
AeroResource Correspondent
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Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:45 pm
Location: Worcestershire

Re: Viewing guide/info?

Post by Dunk » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:54 pm

Thanks David, really helpful, I should be visiting there sometime next year with any luck, looking forward to it.

Dunk

EGVP
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Re: Viewing guide/info?

Post by EGVP » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:56 pm

Dunk wrote:Thanks David, really helpful, I should be visiting there sometime next year with any luck, looking forward to it.

Dunk
If you need someone to carry your cra....sorry, Nikon, equipment, I'll gladly tag along! ;)

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