Aircraft Spotting Pages - Atlantic City International Airport, New Jersey
 

Traffic at Atlantic City International Airport

Atlantic City International Airport (ACY), sometimes referred to as Pomona by the locals and others that live in New Jersey, is a major international airport in New Jersey that, surprisingly, sees a lot more traffic than one would think.  ACY is a joint civil and military airport, with the United States Air Force and United States Coast Guard having facilities at the airport; the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard operates approximately twenty F-16C Fighting Falcons at their base at ACY and Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City operates approximately ten MH-65D Dolphin helicopters at their base at ACY.

In addition to the military aircraft based at ACY, regularly scheduled passenger flights from Spirit Airlines and Xtra Airways operate out of the passenger terminal on the civil side of the airport.  There is also one fixed based operator at ACY that handles the majority of business jet and general aviation traffic that operates into and out of ACY and the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center is also located on airport property with their Boeing, Bombardier, and Convair aircraft.

Atlantic City International Airport also sees its fair share of transient military aircraft, mostly to work the radar and tower patterns at the airport.  Please note there is absolutely no rhyme or pattern to any and all military aircraft operations as this information is kept strictly confidential due to operational security requirements.  No individual is to contact anyone at the base regarding this as it is grave danger to operational readiness and aircraft and aircrew training requirements.

The airport has two runways, with Runway 4/22 being about 6,100 feet long and Runway 13/31 being 10,000 feet long.  Most jet traffic, including the F-16s, will utilize the longer runway while most propeller aircraft will use the shorter runway.  If the winds dictate either Runway 13 or 31 is clearly the ideal runway, all aircraft traffic will use that runway.

Spotting Locations

Please note that example photos from each location are listed below each of the respective descriptions, when available.
In addition, due to the highly sensitive nature of the traffic that operates in and out of the Atlantic City International Airport, it is highly recommended that you do not even think about trying to photograph aircraft flying in and out of ACY.  While there are spotting locations listed on this page, these are for reference only and not to be utilized at any time for any reason.  Greater detail about these locations are found in the security section as to why spotting is largely prohibited at the Atlantic City International Airport.

Spot A is located on the parking garage adjacent to the passenger terminal.  Follow all signs towards the terminal and these will also direct you to the parking garage.  Park on the top level but away from the perimeter of the garage.  The top level gives excellent views of all airport operations from both runways, good views of most of the ramps, and will also provide an excellent view of all operations on Runway 13/31.  A minimum of 300mm is needed for any operations off of Runway 13/31, especially for smaller general aviation and fighters.  Parking rates are up to $13 daily.

Light here is excellent most of the day.

 

Spot B is located off of Atlantic 563 on a gravel road that leads to an airport building just off the approach end of Runway 4.  This is a bit difficult to find but once you find a white building across from the airport perimeter fence with a gravel road leading to it from Atlantic 563, you have found the location.

Light here is excellent mid-afternoon until sunset.

Spot C is located along Wrangleboro Road (County Road 575) and offers excellent views of Runway 13 arrivals; Runway 31 departures are distant, especially for all aircraft smaller than a passenger airliner.  There are locations on both sides of the road; a smaller dirt and sandy pull-off on the southbound side as it goes from two lanes to one lane and a location on the northbound side just as northbound traffic goes from one lane to two lanes.  The northbound spot is located along an airport perimeter fence and has sufficient room on the grass and a full shoulder as the road becomes two lanes in that direction.  Any and all size lens is usable here; just keep in mind larger aircraft will be very close to you when they land on Runway 13.

Light here is excellent most of the day.

 

Recommendations for all of the locations are located below in the Security section.

Security

Please pay close attention here.  As stated above, photography and plane spotting at the Atlantic City International Airport is prohibited.  As you drive down any of the roads that surround the airport and are next to the runways, there are plenty of no parking and no standing signs as well as no trespassing signs and that you would be subject to arrest.  These signs are especially prevalent along Atlantic 563, which passes by Runway 4, and Wrangleboro Road, which passes by Runway 13.  Atlantic 563 has a dedicated bike lane on either side of the road and is used regularly by bicyclists and any location one could potentially pull off of (this also includes Spot B listed above) is in direct view of the control tower and they will call in to every law enforcement agency possible to ask you to leave.

The Egg Harbor Township Police Department routinely patrols both roads listed as well as the New Jersey State Police, as both agencies have offices less than five minutes away from (or even on) the Atlantic City International Airport.  United States Air Force security forces and Air Force Police also will patrol inside and outside the airport perimeter, as the Atlantic City International Airport is a joint-use military and civilian airport.  Zinger Aviation Media was provided several stories of individuals over the last ten years who have photographed the 177th Fighter Wing's F-16s from the parking garage and were met with just above every law enforcement agency in the United States to question and interrogate their reason and intent for being where they were.

Many have asked why the prohibition of photography anywhere near ACY.  No straight answers have been provided but plausible reasons for this include the sensitive nature of the 177th Fighter Wing and their mission, the usage of ACY as an airport for practice takeoffs and landings by many other USAF, USN, USMC, and USCG units from all over the country, as well as the sensitive nature of some of the high profile individuals and VIPs that frequent Atlantic City's casinos or star in shows or concerts in Atlantic City throughout the year.

Zinger Aviation Media does not recommend any spotting or photography of aircraft at the Atlantic City International Airport.  While locations listed above are listed like they would be for any other spotting page they are there for reference only.  If you feel you absolutely must go to ACY to photograph airplanes please re-read this entire section and know that you are putting yourself and anyone else in your party at a tremendous risk of getting detained.

Facilities

There are multiple restaurants and retail establishments located within fifteen minutes of the Atlantic City International Airport.