I’m not an AvGeek, and that is not a slight against those that to identify as such. Although I have an interest in aviation, my interest and insight wouldn’t not necessarily rise to the point that I could talk confidently about the subject amongst those that that live and breath the subject. However, I do love taking photographs of airplanes, and at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) there’s a great opportunity to do that.
The best place to capture arrivals at Houston’s IAH airport, without need to notify security, is at a hard-standing off of Lee Road, on the east side of the airport. The beauty of this spot is that it sits just yards in front of Runway 27. Not only do you get into a good location to capture incoming aircraft, you get the full experience of the noise and feel of an aircraft just before it flares on final approach.
It’s an exhilarating experience, particularly if you catch the incoming “heavies” from Europe. “Heavy” is an extension of the call-sign used by wide-body aircraft to ensure that air traffic control provides enough wake-separation to any following aircraft. The best time to catch these wide-body aircraft is between 12 and 2.30 pm, when arrivals from the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Singapore, and even New Zealand put in an appearance.
For the casual observer, it is best to ensure that aircraft are landing from the east – check on flightware.com to be sure. A further cautionary note, though: some (most) of these arrivals may land on runways 26L and 26R, which means you’ll watch them from a distance. If you do get lucky with arrivals on this runway, I’ve found that a 60 mm prime lens has served me well.