On a recent trip to Europe, I had built in an 18 hour visit to Istanbul in order to pick up a Birthday present for my wife and to visit one of my most favorite eateries in the world, Durumzade. Of course I had to build in some plane spotting time as well…..

I had arrived in Istanbul from Hamburg (via Munich) at approximately 1am and my flight to Zurich would take place at 6p the same day.   The plan was to be at the airport by 1 or 2p so that I can explore the nooks and crannies of the airport and find the perfect spot for photos.

I had been to Istanbul previously but plane spotting was ‘not allowed’ to be on the itinerary.   This time, traveling solo,  it WAS the itinerary! 🙂

For you spotters and ‘avgeeks’ Istanbul offers a wide array of traffic that most of us in the USA or Europe do not see on a regular basis.   I love these kinds of airports because you just don’t know what you’ll find (like a Turkmenistan airliner for example).

The one critique that I have of ‘IST’ is the fact that they used green-tinted windows throughout the terminal which skews the colors in a photo.   The reason for the tinted window makes sense as it is designed to help Air Conditioning be more efficient.   Unfortunately the  designers and builders failed to take into account what that would mean to plane spotters and their photos! 🙂

Anyway, after spending some quality time in Turkish’s fantastic lounge, I wound up having about 3 hours to walk through the gate areas to find  a few good spots.    Among a few that I found, my favorite and the one I would recommend is the area around Gate 26.   The spot gives you a great look over the cargo ramp as well as having the ocean serve as a fantastic backdrop as you catch aircraft landing.   There are a few other spots that give you a good look, but none nearly as good as Gate 26.

Here are a few of my favorite shots during my time in IST.     As you can imagine IST is dominated by Turkish Airlines so I did not list every single photo that I took since many of them are TK aircraft.  After all, how many Turkish 777s and A330s do you need to see, right? 🙂

If you’d like to see my other Plan Spotting posts, you can find them on my Plane Spotting Index page.









Gate 26 at Istanbul offers a great vantage point.















Istanbul’s Cargo ramp as seen from Gate 26