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With a plane spotter at Helsinki Airport 3/3

28.7.2014 at 13:00
Aleksi Tihula and Elias Hadjari give their tips on spotting planes during the summer season. Three different places around Helsinki Airport are included. 

Read story 1/3: Scenic terrace close to Helsinki Airport
Read story 2/3: Lemminkäisen kallio and Katriinantie

How do I get information about planes arriving at Helsinki Airport?

At what times can I spot planes departing abroad?

Spot around noon and after 5 pm to see planes leaving abroad. For example, Finnair's big planes to Asia depart after 5.15 pm.

What spotting place is the best during the summer season?

It depends of your goals.

If you want to watch planes, you will most probably like any of the three places mentioned below. With binoculars you get to see planes well. If you want to see planes well with the naked eye, you should check which runways are used and choose the place accordingly. From the FlightRadar24 application helps in this.

If you want to take photos of planes, read the tips below and take a look at Finnish Aviation Photography's document on spotting places and necessary camera equipment. A systems camera equipped with a good objective guarantees close-ups.

Helsinki Airport’s scenic terrace

  • A great spotting place when planes depart from runway 1.
  • Great times to take photos are between 7 and 9 am and between noon and 3 pm on sunny days; otherwise there is reverse light.
  • If you want to take close-ups of wide-bodied planes, you should have a 150-200 mm objective in your systems camera.
  • If you want to take close-ups of narrow-bodied planes, 200-300 mm objective is fine.


  • A great spotting place for watching planes close by on the runway. You see either departures or landings depending on the winds. 
  • You can see Finnair's big planes take off after 5.15 pm if runway 3 is used for departures.
  • If you want to take close-ups of landing planes, you need a 50-200 mm objective. An under 100 mm objective is enough for landing wide-body planes.
  • If a quickly departing narrow-bodied plane runs long on runway, you need a 100 mm objective. Typically you need an 200-400 mm objective, for example, when you take photos on top of the hill opposite to the DHL building.
  • Take-offs of wide-body planes can be photographed with less millimetres.

Lemminkäisen kallio

  • Great spotting place for watching planes close by - especially when they land on runway 1.
  • Planes fly over.
  • If you want to take close-ups of landing planes, any camera, even a mobile phone camera, is fine. If you have a systems camera, the optimal objective is around 20-100 mm.
  • If you want to take so-called touch-down photos i.e. planes on the runway, you need more millimetres, at least 400 mm.

Helsinki Airport Scenic terrace
Spotting and filming around Helsinki Airport
Finnish Aviation Photography’s spotting tips and instructions for photographing

FlightRadar24 application

Can I reach spotting places with public transport?

  • Yes you can!
  • Scenic terrace at Helsinki Airport: Take, for example, bus number 615 from downtown Helsinki.
  • Katriinantie: Take, for example, a train/bus to Tikkurila and bus number 46 from Tikkurila.
  • Lemminkäisen kallio: Take, for example, bus number 633 from downtown Helsinki.

Public transport timetables

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Text: Katja Alaja @KatjaAlaja
Photo: Jyrki Komulainen