Roberts International Airport, Grand Cayman, British West Indies
visited: March 2005 - Next planned visit March 2006
may not be an abundance of aircraft at Grand Cayman, but it's thoroughly
enjoyable to spot and take pictures at. I backed the rental car
right up to the airport fence, stood on the trunk and took some
great touchdown zone shots over the fence. All the while the police
and airport authorities rode by and never said a word. Certainly
different than what we've learned to be accustomed to in the States.
2004 Update: A concerned citizen or visitor did report my
peering over the fence for photos this year and we were visited
by the local constable. After a few minutes questioning we were
left to continue and enjoy our sport. Unless someone reports you
they don't bother you.
to the prevailing winds arrivals almost always approach from the
west and land on runway 8 and depart runway 8 heading out over the
North Sound. Rarely do they use runway 26, but it does happen. Occasionally
even when runway 8 is active you might find a smaller aircraft make
an approach and land on runway 26. This happened several times during
my last trip, especially with Island Air flights. Most of the activity
at GCM occurs between the hours of Noon and 3:00 p.m. Most flights
arrive and depart within those three hours with a few exceptions
that depart around 4:00 p.m. British Airways operates a 767 into
GCM and it arrives about 5:30 p.m. on Tues., Wed., Friday and Saturday.
Saturday is the busiest day with several extra flights that only
operate on Saturday. 2004 Update: We were surprised to find
some changes in the schedules this year. USAir has added additional
flights, Delta replaced their 757 with 737 operations, United now
operates one 757 flight weekly, ATA cut back to a single flight,
and Air Jamaica replaced their twin-props with A321 and A320 daily
flights. We also saw one Cuban flight, an AeroCaribbean Yak, on
Friday late afternoon.
interesting thing about Grand Cayman is that if you stick it out
during the lulls or on the dull days when traffic isn't heaviest
you might be surprised by what you see. We had several surprises
in 2003 and 2004 was no different. One day we were able to photograph
four aircraft from the British Antarctic Survey team. These are
interesting as they are painted bright red with dark blue on the
top of the wings (easily spotted against the white snow of the Antarctic).
Another day we were surprised by the arrival of two "Warrior"
call sign flights. Both included 4 US Army helicopters, a large
twin-blade with three smaller choppers. Very interesting to watch
them approach in formation and then land. And, all the while, a
myriad of private jets will be coming and going for your pleasure.
to the east/west position of the runway and the fact that GCM is
closer to the Equator you don't get the wide swings in the angle
of the Sun you may be accustomed to. No matter what time you're
there the Sun will always seem to be overhead and just a little
to one side of the runway or the other. Of course that applies to
March when I was last there.
Under each sample photo you will see the lens zoom setting recorded
like "400/600 mm". The first number represents the setting
that the lens as physically on when the picture was taken. The second
number takes into account the 1.5 multiplier factor of the Nikon
a note: Sorry about the amateur map, but I don't want a copyright
infringement suit because I used a better one.