Austin – Bergstrom Int’l Airport (AUS)

Austin Airport Map

Click to go to Google Maps satellite view

Live Flight TrackingLive Air traffic Control Audio

This airport is located in Austin, Texas and is very spotter-friendly. There is a specifically designated area on the east side of the field called the Family Viewing Area which, as the name implies, is a great place for people to bring the family to watch planes. There is a parking lot and concrete picnic tables, and a sign posted near the fence showing lots of information that a spotter or enthusiast might want: drawings of the types of aircraft seen here, a runway layout, and air traffic control tower frequencies for those with scanners.

They even had the photographers in mind when designing this park. Since the airport grounds have a typical 10 foot high fence, they constructed an elevated area just a couple feet higher than the parking lot and picnic area with a concrete block border that adds maybe another foot which you can step on. The result is that a 6 foot tall person standing up will be able to photograph the runway unobstructed. This park faces runway 17L/35R from the east side, so you would have to photograph early in the morning any time of the year to get the best results. If they are using a south bound traffic pattern, you’ll be able to get a good view of planes that begin the takeoff roll or touch down. similarly, if they’re using a north bound pattern, you’ll get a good view of planes as they climb out. The one drawback to a north pattern for landing traffic is that the taxiway on the far side is a bit lower than the runway and they’ll turn off before reaching the viewing area so the plane’s wheels won’t be visible – and they’ll be making a left turn from the taxiway into the ramp area so it can be difficult to get good photos from this angle. Also, this airport has two active parallel runways so typically they will be using one for takeoff and one for landing. The best views for photographing would be a south pattern since you’ll be right near the touchdown zone.

The most common airlines here are Southwest and American, but most of the airlines in America fly here including Delta, United, Jetblue, and Frontier. The strength of the Texas economy has led to more international traffic; British Airways began non-stop service from London with the Boeing 787 in 2014. German carrier Condor and Mexican low cost carrier Volaris also plan to begin service soon. Since this is the state capitol, you’ll also see plenty of business jet aircraft. As with most major airports in Texas, they have created a very nice place to come out and watch planes. Since Austin is only a 3-4 hour drive from Houston you can come out here and take in the sights here at the airport and all around town.

Click for photos from the Viewing Area

Click for photos from the Viewing Area

Like it? Share it!