These images were taken on a Saturday afternoon in May 2017, when I had an hour or so to pass while waiting on a return flight to Glasgow. It was a fairly quiet spell movement-wise, and although I`d hoped to photograph a couple of the Aurigny Air Service props which I saw parked up when I arrived a few days previously, the only airliners present belonged to Flybe.
Southampton is one of Flybe`s busiest bases and the airport can become quite hectic in summer when thousands of cruise passengers descend on the city to board the numerous huge ships and liners that depart from the docks. This is one the Meinn Schiff fleet, the only cruise ship present when I flew in.
There is a long stretch of forest at the far side of the airport which makes a nice backdrop for any shots of the aircraft.
One of Flybe`s purple-liveried ATR 72-500s, G-ISLL, made a welcome change from the airline`s Dash 8s.
Although there are a couple of good locations for photographing traffic at Southampton, the airport`s security personnel have been known to move on anyone loitering there. The best spot is the raised area reached by walking along Mitchell Way, past the hangars, towards the long stay car park. This viewpoint looks out over the top of the fence but I didn`t check it out due to time constraints.
Instead, I stayed on the open air top floor of the short stay car park which is opposite the terminal building. There`s a fence and even though strips of green plastic mesh have been fixed along much of its length at eye-level, this is badly torn in places so reasonable wide-aperture shots are possible. No one bothered me while I was there, so it may be that photographers are tolerated if fairly discrete.
The only alternative if the weather`s inclement is Costa Coffee, situated upstairs in the departure lounge, although this is obviously only accessible for passengers once they`ve passed through security. There are tables and seating right beside the windows which offer great views of part of the runway and apron but parked aircraft, dirty windows and reflections can make photography a bit of a challenge. Also, if it was raining heavily, any shots would likely be distorted.
Southampton sees a wide variety of biz-jets and a fair number of military movements each year, both fixed-wing and helicopters. Fast jets occasionally overshoot. Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign G-CFGB is pictured above and a couple of lights, namely PA-28 Cherokees G-OZAM and G-OARU are shown below. There is also an interesting mix of GA traffic each year, with lots of visitors from mainland Europe.
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