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One of the things I love about flying is the aerial view, especially so when you are at low altitude, i.e. around take-off and landing.

For my "home-" airport I know exactly which side of the plane I need to sit depending on the winds to have a beautiful view on a UNESCO world heritage site. For other airports I have been lucky sometimes and sometimes not.

Question: Is there an online-resource that tells me for any airport when there are good views and where on the plane one should be sitting for those, ideally taking into account different wind conditions that may prevail and the possible flight paths?

I am aware that I could look to Flightradar and monitor flight paths there but that does not tell me anything about the view when I don't know my destination well and does not really give good statistics about the wind unless I spend more time there than I should.
Further I could look for reviews on flying blogs/forums or videos of approaches but that does not give me statistics either and still takes a while.

So is there anything better than this, i.e. a website that would tell me: at airport XXX there is one runway, 60% of takeoffs go north and 40% south, if north sit on the left to have a great view on [insert attraction here] 2 mins after take-off, if south you will not see much.

  • A great idea for an app. – MastaBaba Jun 21 '16 at 0:31
  • One could ask a similar question for views from cruise. For instance, I fly DEN-SFO fairly regularly, and by sitting on the right side, I usually get views of the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy plant as well as Mono Lake. – Nate Eldredge Jun 21 '16 at 1:30
  • Wind direction changes, then instead of departing west/north, you depart east/south.. whole plan is messed up. For this information to be useful, the wind direction must be known as well... – Nean Der Thal Jun 21 '16 at 2:27
  • @NateEldredge thanks for the suggestion, please go ahead next time and edit right away:) I agree about cruise, e.g. I know that BCN-MUC on the left has nice views on Cote d'Azur, but that would be another question I guess. – mts Jun 21 '16 at 8:36
  • @HeidelBerGensis true but should ideally be taken into account, have edited the example to make things more clear. Was flying out of OPO the other day and had myself perfectly seated for a scenic view on the city at sunrise only to have us take off into the other direction :( – mts Jun 21 '16 at 8:38
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There are various articles and threads about certain airports which have good advice regarding the likelihood of getting a good view from certain sides of an aircraft given origin, destination and prevailing winds, e.g.

Also, some aircraft air equipped with tail cams and belly cams and you can get a good view on the IFE, e.g.

Arriving Boston from airlinereporter.com on QR A350:

Boston

Underbelly camera from FT trip report on CX B777:

CX

Obviously you'd need to research your airline and aircraft to see if this is a feature on your flight.

In general, whether or not you're likely to have a view from a certain side of the aircraft depends on the general direction of the flight, the prevailing winds at the airport (for wind direction probability), actual weather on the day if you can change seats shortly before your flight, runway configuration, and air traffic control. If I were going to research this for a particular flight, I would look at:

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I'm unaware of any site that does all of this and provides advice, but I would certainly bookmark it if I found it!

Alternatively, you could buy a flight simulator program and do your own fly bys!

Random youtube video:

youtube

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