Santa Monica Airport (SMO)

Santa Monica Airport (SMO)

Click Map for Google Maps satellite view of the Santa Monica Airport

Live Flight Tracking

LAX is not the only place in southern California to get your fix of watching planes. Just a few miles north sits the small Santa Monica Airport which serves general and business aviation. This is one of two airports in the greater Los Angeles area that cater to the region’s large business aviation clientele – the other one being Van Nuys Airport (VNY). This airport has just one runway and is typically very busy. The administration building, located on the south side of the field, has an outdoor viewing balcony that offers a closeup view on taxiing aircraft and a completely unobstructed view of the runway. The distance between you and the aircraft is well within the range of any moderate zoom lens and light for photography is best from fall to spring because of facing northwest from this spot. There are tables to sit at and its a great place to being a bag lunch (or buy food from the airport’s restaurant before 2:00pm) and watch planes. Just park in the parking lot and walk around to the back of the building. Very easy access and a closeup view make this a must-see for any aviation enthusiast while on a visit to southern California.

Here is a photo showing the view from the balcony:

Viewing Balcony

Also worth noting is across the street from the administration building is the Museum of Flying which has many artifacts and exhibits related to the Douglas Aircraft Company. Admission is $10. The museum was started by Donald Douglas Jr. The aircraft company that bears his father’s name was originally founded in Santa Monica in 1921.

Click for photos from the Viewing Balcony

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