Free enjoyment at RSW
For those looking for something fun to do in southwest Florida, try your hand at plan spotting!
Download LiveATC in the Apple store or Google Play store. When the app first loads, select USA, Florida, scroll down and select KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport. You'll be able to listen as flights approach, land, taxi, push back, lineup, takeoff, and leave the airspace.
Where should you park? I'm glad you asked! Some airports, such as RSW, are a stickler for where observers park and watch the planes. Obviously, security reasons prevail over plane spotting.
At RSW, the observation parking area is on the northwest side of the main runway just across the road, Air Cargo Lane to be exact, from the FedEx and UPS terminal.
If you drive in from the new entrance, you'll turn left at Air Cargo Lane which is just past the Mobil gas station.
Follow Air Cargo Lane around the west end of the runaway and the observation parking area will be on your left as you approach the old passenger terminal area. You can't miss it...in fact, if you do, you'll either end up in an unsecured area of the airport or lost in the old parking lot.
There are no facilities at the observation area, so plan ahead. The area is not covered so be prepared for that Florida heat. There are a few picnic tables and trash cans so you can bring the family and enjoy a nice afternoon lunch or evening dinner.
Check before you go! What does that even mean? Well, if you want loud roaring engines, you'll want to go when planes are taking off toward the northeast. But, as the planes make their way down the runway, it's hard to see them in action. But, this angle makes for a great viewpoint if you want to watch them approach. However, if you're into photography and true plane spotting, you'll want to go when planes are taking off to the southwest as they leave the runway just in front of you.
I recommend downloading the app Flightradar24. The app offers several subscription options, but for true enthusiasts and those curious, the $3.99 per month price is a great option. For that price you can track flights in real-time, track their history, speed, altitude, origination city, destination, and so much more.