Spotting Tip: Come to UN Week in New York


If there is one thing better than planespotting at JFK on a normal day, it's being there during the annual UN Week which takes place each September. In addition to the normally busy stream of globally diverse arrivals, this weekend adds a steady stream of VIP traffic as the world's leaders descend on New York. Aside from the Boeing Business Jets and Airbus Corporate Jets used by many of the world's nations, be prepared for aircraft that are far more rare around here. Recent years have brought Russian built TU-154s and IL-96s as well as Boeing 747SPs and even a 707. Of course Air Force 1 is a guaranteed visitor this year and with it comes at least 1 C-17 carrying support equipment.

So where should you be and when to catch all of the VIP action? The vast majority of the visitors will be arriving Saturday and Sunday September 21st and 22nd, while Air Force 1 should arrive either Monday the 23rd or Tuesday the 24th.  Finally Friday the 27th should bring a good amount of traffic as the dignitaries head home. The aircraft can arrive at all hours of the day or night which have foiled some shots in the past, so plan on some long days if you want to catch as much as you can.  As for which airport you should spot at, JFK gets most of the traffic as the major international airport, however LaGuardia has been known to get a few arrivals of its own.  Newark may get one or two arrivals though it is not a very spotter-friendly airport. Finally, if you're looking for something a bit off the beaten path, take a 2 hour drive up to Stewart International in upstate Newburgh where many of the aircraft are parked for the week. 

As for me, I plan on being there all day on the 21st and 22nd, and may stop by for a bit other times during the week.  I hope to see some of you there.