North Carolina claims to be “First In Flight” and is home to a significant milestone in the history of aviation more than 110 years ago. There is only one official viewing area at the Charlotte airport called Overlook Park (locals call it “The Overlook”). It is called Overlook because its on a rise which looks slightly down upon the center runway right near the holding point for traffic departing to the south on 18C. The Overlook is located on Old Dowd Rd. and has a large area for parking and gets quite crowded.
You will get a close view of planes waiting to take off to the south as well as planes approaching for landing on this runway. If traffic is operating to the north (36C) you will still get a decent view of planes after takeoff and those that are exiting the runway after landing. Since you are facing east when looking at the planes, sunlight is good for photography in the afternoons any time of the year. Another attraction on the grounds of the Charlotte airport is the Carolinas Aviation Museum which has a number of aircraft, including a Piedmont DC-3 and the “Miracle on the Hudson” US Airways Airbus.
The Charlotte airport is a hub for American Airlines and its regional affiliates and the variety of aircraft isn’t too great. The most common planes here are Airbus A320s and regional jets. The only foreign flights are served by American and Lufthansa to various major cities in Europe as well as Air Canada Express flights to Toronto and Volaris to Mexico. Domestically, Charlotte is also served by Delta, United, and Southwest along with their regional affiliates.