Space Shuttle Enterprise Landing at JFK Airport

On Friday I decided to go out and try to capture a few shots of the space shuttle Enterprise as it arrives at JFK Airport. This ended up being an adventure and a lesson all rolled up in one and one heck of a good exercise. For the past week I have been tracking the plans and try to come up with a strategy for getting good pics. I was figuring that they would have to use the longest runway and land into the wind so it was kind of easy to figure out where to go. On Thursday I joined an aviation forum after seeing an article online about the best places to view the shuttle landing.

I really have to thank the guys on the forum for some tips. After chatting with a few guys I found out that the popular place to go was by the Inwood golf course. To me this didn’t make sense as the plane would be going down the runaway and all you would see is the tail. I wanted it from the front so I decided to go to the place near the train bridge on the north side of the runway. To me it just made more sense. I walked about 3 miles to the spot where I thought would be the best for taking pictures.

There were four of us on the beach and it was very windy and a little cold but I knew we were in the right spot. I actually met some guys from the forum. How often does that happen? Join a forum and the next day you meet someone from that forum. I was glad because one of the guys suggested a camera setting which I used to get these shots. I also learned a lot about taking pictures of airplanes from them.
Space Shuttle buzzing JFK Tower

After the plane flew by the JFK airport control tower it continued on almost directly over our heads and made a left bank turn over the train bridge. It was an amazing sight and although I was snapping pictures I took a break and just marveled at what I was seeing. I felt like I could reach out and touch the shuttle it was so close.

Space Shuttle Enterprise and 747

After the shuttle landed the pilot opened up a hatch and started to wave an American flag. I had no idea until I was looking at the shuttle pictures on the computer.

Space Shuttle Lands at JFK

The shuttle then turned around and head towards the space they had set up for dignitaries and near its special hangar where it will be until they put it on a ferry and take it to it’s new home on the U.S.S Intrepid.

Space Shuttle Enterprise


    • Vinny O'Hare says

      The shuttle was actually very close to me after its initial fly by. I would say 300 yards away maybe a little more.

  1. says

    What is even more amazing is that you happened to get the right end of the runway. They may have been planning to use the long runway, but even the pilots don’t know what end they are landing on until they get close the airport. It changes depending on the wind. Did they talk about that on the forum?

    I’m back on that aviation forum. Everybody took great pictures.

    • Vinny O'Hare says

      We pretty much knew what directions it was landing because the wind was head on at about 20 mph. I was expecting the landing to use more runway than it did actually.

  2. Richard R. Ranta says

    Well, Cousin Vinny, your mom told me that I needed to see what you had shot and like all good mothers, she was oh so right! Beautiful pictures and enjoyed the informative commentary. I am so sorry to see that this symbol of American space committment will not be replaced by a better one and that we have hitch-hike into space with the Russian rockets.

    One symbol of America did come back this week in Memphis. (No not Elvis, although his wife was involved). The ex-Mrs. Presley broke a wine bottle and dedicated the new American Queen Steamboat headquartered in Memphis and associated with Graceland. It will be cruising the Mississippi and the Ohip Rivers. Headed north on “ol Muddy” as I write this. Come sail with us, you all. R3

  3. says

    Wow, truly great shots. I hope the US follow-up to the Shuttle is as amazing as this closing chapter.