Traveling around but want to stay connected? Try Saily!

Summer is the season that always brings back memories of my first planespotting adventure at Heathrow Airport. It was that day that sparked my love for aviation. Today, I’m excited to share my passion with you and guide you through the essentials of planespotting at Heathrow. We’ve got you covered, from the must-have equipment to the best spots. 

President Joe Biden landing in Heathrow on runway 27L.

Best time to go:

For those unfamiliar with Heathrow’s runways, they operate on two runways, 27R and 27L or 09R and 09L. The optimal time for planespotting is when they are using 27L. During this period, you’ll find ample free parking just off Myrtle Avenue if you’re driving or Hatton Cross underground station if you’re using public transport. You might even catch a glimpse of the horses that feature in BigJetTV’s planespotting YouTube show.

Planespotting, Cathay Pacific B777
Planespotting, Cathay Pacific B777

Food & Drinks:

When it comes to sustenance, you’re in luck. There’s a convenient petrol station nearby, offering a variety of food and drink options. You can also use the facilities there, ensuring a comfortable planespotting experience.

Here’s what you’ll need: 

Below are links to everything you need to have a great day out.

  •  Chair – try bringing a folding chair.
  • Scanner – Uniden UBC-125XLT Handheld Scanner
  • Camera—I’m not big on photography, but you won’t need a lens that zooms in too much. If you’re an amateur plane spotter, then your smartphone would suffice.
  • Airband Frequency Guide – This book provides all the frequency codes you need to listen to the pilots and the control tower.

Other equipment to have if you’re doing plane spotting from a distance or for aircraft at cruising altitude would be.

  • Binoculars: Celestron Skymaster (always check which zoom you will need)
  • Tripod: A tripod is always necessary for stable vision and following aircraft at high and fast altitudes.
  • Mounting Adaptor: is also required to connect the binoculars to the tripod. (although some binoculars do come with it.)
  • Antana: best used in a car for a better signal.
Planespotting Turkish Airlines B777 Landing at Heathrow
Planespotting Turkish Airlines B777 Landing at Heathrow.

The runways.

The easiest and quickest way to find out which runway operates that day is to look at FlightRadar24.

Those with more advanced knowledge can download the Aeroweather app and see which direction the wind is blowing on that day.

But remember that every day at 3pm, no matter which runway is in use, it will always switch to the alternative runway. 


If you’ve ever wanted to spend a great day out in London planespotting but were unfamiliar with the process, you now have a good starting point to become a pro.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like