PlaneSpotting Alaska, hmm sounds like it should be a reality TV show…..but I digress……
On my first day in Anchorage, I spent most of the daylight hours (9:45a sunrise!) “spotting” cargo airliners at ANC. Anchorage serves as a bridge for air cargo that is transported between Asia and the Americas making it one of the world’s busiest Cargo airports. Additionally, Anchorage serves as a major hub for cargo that is distributed regionally which gives a spotter the rare opportunity to see aircraft and airlines that are unique to this area.
The day started out cloudy but conditions deteriorated a bit by mid-afternoon when the snow started to fly leaving 2 or inches of fresh powder on the ground. This created a minor challenge for taking pictures, but I think I captured some decent images despite the weather.
Not long after settling into my spot, I was welcomed by a Moose who I think was as surprised to see me as I was to see her. Before I had a chance to grab a few shots (I had to make sure she was not going to charge), she bolted off into the brush behind me. Knowing that Moose can be confrontational, I high tailed it out of there and went off to find spots that were somewhat more anti-Moose. No need to become a casualty.
I spent several hours at various spots parallel to runway 33 which is the primary runway for cargo departures and on a clear day the runway has beautiful mountains that act as a backdrop to departing aircraft (that was not the case today!). During my spotting, Airport Police regularly stopped by to see how I was doing and offered advice on vantage points. ANC has a 2 layer security perimeter where one set of fences allows for the public to enter “restricted” areas, giving people a great from row to runway 33 and 15. I got the sense that they enjoy visitors and understand us “Avgeeks”. After telling one of them about my Moose encounter, he gave me his cell phone number in case the Moose came back and made a nuisance of herself — apparently I am not the first one to run into a Moose in this area.
Tomorrow I head back to the same spots but with the forecast of better weather I hope to capture images that will show just how beautiful the landscape is up here.
For now, here are a few of the better images from today. The range of Cargo Airlines is wide– everything from FedEx, Korean, Asiana to Everts Air Cargo and their classic DC-6 were on display today. There were a handful of cancelations and “no shows” today so I suspect tomorrow I’ll see additional carriers.
You can see more of my PlaneSpotting posts from airports around the world by clicking here.