Question about airplane spotting

I love to watch airplanes land and take off. only problem is that the only time I get a chance to see larger planes taking off is if I go to PIT to pick someone up or fly out myself. You can't get in without paying for parking, Once inside, you might as well forget it because you can't see anything anyway. Also, you can't get past security unless you have a boarding pass. I guess what I am asking is, if I were to buy a book to identify aircraft, is there any way that I could have a chance to actually go and spot these airplanes, or does current security rules prevent this type of activity? Is there any place where the average person can go and watch or photograph planes taking off and landing like an observation deck or something? If you are familiar with PIT, do you know of any places where you can go to watch the planes take off and land.

I know when I was in D.C. there was a restaurant that overlooked BWI (I think it was BWI) and I couldn't even keep my eyes on the meal I was eating. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Now if I could find a place like that around PIT, you can be guaranteed that I would be there at least once a month or more
I'm not familiar with PIT but at my airport there is a viewing area.
Mind you the biggest regular plane is 737. A few times a year that huge antonov thing comes in but I haven't got a glimpse yet....
Gotta come to Vegas. There's a spot where a road ends at a traffic light and the runways are right there with only a fence with some razor wire.Hell, when i was driving down the road, i didn't notice i was that close to the airport till i saw a heavy going through a traffic light(well it looked that way till i stopped at the light)
CMH is kinda cool cause one of taxiways goes right over the freeway. There are also two main roads that have a great view of all the runways.
My airport (CVG) has or had a viewing area adacent to the airport along rwy. 18L/36R. It was on a hill and provided a very,very good view of the entire airport.

And on a very odd and especially rare day when the airport is down to using only one rwy. 09/27 due to winds the planes fly right over you at seriously like less then 100ft. it's very kool. I love RWY. 27 approaches @ CVG.

Anyways after 9/11 they were talking about closing the viewing area due to the close proximity to landing and takingoff aircraft and airfield operations.

But I didn't really follow up on it cause I work @ CVG and have a security clearance and can drive around the airport and and watch the planes takeoff, touch the planes and get on board the planes and talk to the pilots and the cute flight attendents.

Anyways maybe someone knows some info bout the "viewing area" here in CVG and will know if it is still open or closed. Should it still be open be sure to get there early for the "pushes" cause it can seriously be standing room only.

And on more then then one occassion I have seen families pull up thats father,wive and 3.5 kids pull up in a stationwagon or SUV with folding chairs and blankets with food for a picnic to watch the planes takeoff and land. Man there freaks....
DCA has a really nive view spot. It's a big park at the approach end of runway 19. It's called Gravelly Point. When traffic is landing RWY 19, they fly right over your head really low. It's nice and loud. You almost feel like you could reach up and touch them as they fly over, it's that close!
MCO USED to have a great spot right on the approach end of Runway 18/L and 18/R. The planes flew right over your head and landed about 300 yards away. UNFORTUNATELY, some local yahoo decided that terrorists with shoulder fired rockets would be a threat b/c of that location. Nevermind the fact that it is next to a local toll road they want to expand. What I want to know is, why didn't they shut down the toll road (all the terrorists have to do is fake a flat tire), close down all the roads on the OTHERSIDE of the airport, and force everyone to move out of the apartments in the landing path? I can read tail numbers from my apartment balcony, and that is one of the reasons I moved into this apartment. The local plane spotters tried to save it, but when one of them was stupid enough to say "Yeah, the planes are so low you can almost hit one with a rock," the city stopped listening.

On the flip side, there is nice public part right next to Orlando Executive with designated plane watching parking spots. Oh, and someone mentioned Vegas. They have a strip on the side of the road right next to the runway where you can pull of an park. They even broadcast the tower frequency on an FM radio channel. At least they did in August 2002. I assume it's still there.
That is unfortunate Kellwolf. I did however find a website that directs you to great plane spotting locations at many different airports. Click here to view it. Check it out, it's pretty cool. Hopefully the location given for PIT isn't closed too.
CVG's viewing area is not only open but was recently expanded to handle more parking. The only change that I've noticed since 9/11 is they no longer broadcast Tower and Ground over the speakers along the fence.
I am against airplane spotting unless you have the owner's permission. I personally think that airplanes look much better with stripes than with spots, but that's just me.

Seriously, I've been to the CVG overlook as well and it's a really nice idea that I wish more airports would adopt. Usually, there are restaurants or shopping centers near the airport's approach and departure corridors, so, if nothing else, you can sit in the parking lot and watch the planes land or take off. I've seen people park on the side of roads that overlook runways as well.

As far as books, there are a lot of spotter guides on the market. Jane's aircraft identification guide is one of the best and most complete.
Well, I can finally contribute to this here thing! I've found the best place to spot aircraft at PIT (and I am by no means a spotter) is from any one of the parking lots at Robinson Towne Center. Granted, it depends what runway is in use, but if the wind is right you can watch the whole parade from there.

Hope that is useful... As someone pointed out there isn't a whole lot of variation in the traffic at PIT, but it is still fun.

Long time lurker... finally joined!

I agree Dave, they look much better with stripes than spots!

Here in Port. Ore our Class C airport, Portland Intl.,PDX, sits right off the mighty Colombia River. It has two east/west and two north/south rwy's. Normally wind favors the east/west but when the wind gets a crackin' and whippin' it seems to favor north/south. There are great spotting areas right under the east/west on an access road right at the rwy end, which makes for excellent viewing but when the winds a whippin and they are landind north/ south, the viewing area is off the river banks on a high berm right under the approach end. At that spot you get the most kickin' approaches. Everything coming in is fully crabbed and swaying all over, these poor pilots are doing everything to maintain control, and seeing everything from Dash-8's to 747's fully crabbed right over your head is a sight to see! My favorite was a C-130 that just came wobbling in, fully crabbed right to left wheel touchdown, and this guy held it fully crabbed on the left mains for a while, which was a sight to see