LAS: Spotting from a Bus Stop. Day 3

July 12 was a special spotting day as I went to several spots around McCarran International Airport shooting both westward take-offs and landings from the east on the same runway.

McCarran International Airport, 12 July 2011
McCarran International Airport, 12 July 2011 — Photo: Andrey Kirillov

Firstly I stopped on South Las Vegas Boulevard across the road from the well-known Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign. There are gates to Las Vegas McCarran Field Executive Terminal with a few executive jets parked right at the fence. Helicopter excursions start from a heliport a little bit down the street.

Southwest Airlines Boeing B737-7H4 N433LV at McCarran International Airport, 12 July 2011
Southwest Airlines Boeing B737-7H4 N433LV at McCarran International Airport, 12 July 2011 — Photo: Andrey Kirillov

Southwest Airlines is the busiest carrier at McCarran, so whenever you decide to spot planes in Las Vegas you are sure to see a lot of Southwest ones. Their bright livery will leave you unmistaken as to who’s flying in or taking off. And with their unified Boeing-737 fleet there is no need to wonder what type of plane is that.

Southwest Airlines Boeing B737 at McCarran International Airport, 12 July 2011
Southwest Airlines Boeing B737 at McCarran International Airport, 12 July 2011 — Photo: Andrey Kirillov

Las Vegas is one of the best spotting places in the USA for several reasons. It is one of the country’s busiest with planes landing and taking off every few minutes. The fence is see-through and publicly accessible streets are on all sides of the airport, so you can go around the whole airport and vary the background for your shots a bit. McCarran welcomes a bunch of domestic and international carriers. All major US airlines have at least some presence there. It was really nice seeing three different United Airlines liveries and even one Continental, or two different Spirit Airlines liveries.

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-243 N383HA at McCarran International Airport, 12 July 2011
Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-243 N383HA at McCarran International Airport, 12 July 2011 — Photo: Andrey Kirillov

Let’s see what I observed at the initial stage of my spotting day.

Then I walked to the southern end of the airport and continued with some other business. Later that day I went back to the spot from the previous day — S. Eastern Avenue at E. Sunset Road.

Beside scheduled commercial flights McCarran is home to some special aircraft, like the mysterious Janet Airlines that flies its Boeings to the famous Area 51 (Groom Lake).

I was lucky to also spot two military planes — US Navy Boeing (ex-McDonnell Douglas) F/A-18F Super Hornet and US Air Force Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker «Spirit of Wayne County», The 916th Air Refueling Wing (916 ARW).

Finally, there were a few shots through the fence.

I would be happy to return to McCarran both as a passenger and as a photographer.

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