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Spotting at the South End of the Field
April 2, 2011
3:45 am
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nconrad

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Can we rehash what is and is not acceptable since Zin is blocked off now? I see folks uploading pictures from the south end, but I'm a bit confused where everybody is spotting from. There's that hill at the corner of Aerospace and Ruple (just down from Zin), right next to that little shack with the recycling dumpster. Is this an acceptable/permissible place to park and climb up on that hill? It's right against that fence in the backyard of that house there. Also the hill by the old Grayton Road. I drove down there and parked behind the hill and climbed up, but only stayed for a couple minutes because I just wasn't sure if I was allowed to be there.

April 2, 2011
1:25 pm
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Chuck Slusarczyk Jr.

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Ah yes...the SOUTH end of the field...I wish I could get some real answers from somebody.

Last I had heard, the former Zin building was taken over by NASA. Over the winter, I sent a letter to NASA explaining who we are and what we want to do (take pictures!)and how we really miss having a place on the south end to do so. I finally got a letter back from their public relations department, and while they were sympathetic, they told me they DO NOT, in fact, own that property.

So, that put me back at square one. I then sent two similar letters to the airport operations department to ask as to who owns the property and to respectfully ask permission to photograph there, but I have yet to hear back from them. Since it's been a while, I think it will be safe to ask again and will do so ASAP.

I've used that hill next to the little shack in the past, and it's a good spot, but if you do, make sure you call the number on your card and let them know in advance that you will be "on the south end of the field taking pictures, and you just want to give them a head's up so no one becomes alarmed", or something to that effect. They will usually ask you a couple questions, but be honest and just tell them you are with OPShots and you just want to take pics. (Most of them are familiar with us, but there may still be a couple who will ask more questions than you might expect.) Usually, they just tell you to stay away from the fence, but others will tell you to have a good time!

I'll give them a call today in a little bit to see if I can get any definitive answers on the lot again. Maybe I'll have better luck if I call directly about it.

The weather's getting warmer, and it would sure be nice to have our old spotting place back. I know we all miss the Zin lot, and it seems a shame that we can't use the area for our peaceful pastime. I'll let you know if I find anything out.

April 2, 2011
4:56 pm
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Chuck Slusarczyk Jr.

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Just a quick update...I just called the city and told them that I might be "off the south end..." to take pictures, and he was completely cool with it. (Just stay off the field.) I also asked him if he knew who owned the Zin lot and he didn't know, but suggested I call back on Monday, so I will do that.

We'll get to the bottom of this yet!

April 2, 2011
5:28 pm
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djreed

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Most of those pics you're seeing are probably mine. Last weekend I took advantage of the 6L departures and used the hill by Ruple to catch the aircraft turning their profile towards the sun. Also good for 6L landings. The hill is 600-700 ft long, I was well down the road from the houses. CPD drove by a few times, didn't even look at me. Parked in the lot at 3000 Aerospace Pkwy while the business was closed, then made the 4 minute walk to the hill. I've noticed this lot is very full on the weekdays, so unless I know something special is coming in, have been trying very hard to not make a nuisance of myself there. From this lot you can use the cement base of a light pole for just enough elevation to get a shot over the fence. There is also a small hill at the back of this lot if you need some distance from the airport perimeter to fit a widebody in your lens. A minor problem here is working the aircraft in the frame, between the pain in the ass light poles. A reminder not to park and hang around the utility bldg at Aerospace & Ruple. The Brook Park PD will show up asking you to leave.

Chuck, appreciate your efforts in dealing with this matter. Nice to know NASA doesn't own the property. Dealing with a federal agency can be a 24 karat pain.

On a side note, my spotting/photography from the parking garage the past few months has not met any resistance yet. Three times so far a security guard on his rounds came by with an exchange of greetings and no other problems. At $3 an hour I'm not up there long, plus once the sunrise gets past a certain time, the shots will become backlit.

April 2, 2011
9:23 pm
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nconrad

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Thanks for the info on these, guys. What about the hill by the old Grayton road?

April 2, 2011
11:31 pm
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Chuck Slusarczyk Jr.

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I haven't tried it, but I suppose that if you give them a head's up, you should get the same response. I think I'll try it soon...it should be good for 06R arrivals in the AM.

April 3, 2011
3:33 am
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nconrad

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It's great for 6R departures too. I've uploaded a shot I took from there Wednesday.

April 3, 2011
7:36 am
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nconrad

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OK, I've done some digging. The property is available for lease through Chelm Properties, Inc. Information on the building/property and contact information can be found here:

You need to be a member to view our links.

I believe the owner is Techpark LTD partnership. I'm having trouble finding information on the property specific to the Zin building, but I think the entire Aerospace Technology Park area is owned by Techpark LTD and is listed as 3000 Aerospace Parkway. Teckpark LTD has been in ownership of all these properties since 1992 and leases the facilities. Zin was merely the lessee of the property. Permission from Zin was difficult because it seems they work on classified projects for NASA and DoD. I can't seem to find information on Techpark LTD, but I would imagine Chelm Properties (see also Greenberg Real Estate Advisors) could probably put you in contact with them.

April 3, 2011
2:20 pm
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Chuck Slusarczyk Jr.

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Thanks Nate, good sleuthin'! I knew about the work Zin did (and does, just elsewhere) but at least they were tolerant on weekends and evenings. I'll never forget when AF One came in one year, and half the building was out in the lot with us and the Secret Service taking pictures!

I'll continue with the searching, and send off some more letters or make some calls.

April 18, 2011
8:30 pm
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ohiodave54

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speaking of the south end, any news about old grayton road closed off between the i-x center and mazillas? gates got closed just before winter.

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