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Planespotters get up close and personal with TPA airfield

The growing group of plane enthusiasts are among TPA’s biggest fans

On a recent Saturday morning, a Delta A321 roared down Tampa International Airport’s Main Runway. Gathering speed, the captain gently lifted the aircraft’s nose to the sky. The front wheel gently lifted into the air. At that exact moment, 20 pointer fingers from nearby photographers punched their shutter-release in hopes of capturing the elusive perfect takeoff image.


On December 8, 20 aviation enthusiasts joined the Communications team, Operations managers and Airport CEO Joe Lopano for an exclusive airfield tour full of landings, takeoffs and closeups of some of their favorite aircraft. The tour lasted nearly three hours and finished with a reception in the Main Terminal event space where participants shared sandwiches, drinks and plenty of plane photos.

The tour is one of the prime incentives for being an active part of the Airport’s Facebook group – The Plane Spot – a group that is now home to more than 900 members. The group is a subset of the general Tampa International Airport Facebook page and allows members to share photos and ideas. It also serves as an archive of plane pictures often shared to TPA’s other social media platforms, encouraging community engagement.

In the days following the tour, TPA’s social media team sorted through the dozens of photos from the event while responding to the many thanks from the spotters. For some it was an exclusive once-in-a-lifetime experience. For others, like one of TPA’s newest planespotters, Paul Ahnberg, it was an “excellent adventure."