Nellis AFB Spotting Guide 2019

Nellis AFB spot one of the best Military Aviation Spotting in the United States. Usually 4 times a year you get Red Flag Exercises that hostup to 200 fighters/bombers and other supporting aircraft from all services and foreign Air Forces.

This Massive Airbase spot 2 runway parallel to each other at 03L 03R and 21 L and 21 R

The following Frequencies are use for your radio.

ATIS: 270.1
NELLIS GROUND: 121.8 275.8
NELLIS TOWER: 132.55 327.0
NELLIS APPROACH: 118.125 291.725
CLASS B: 124.95 NORTH 273.55 NORTH
EMERG: 121.5 243.0
OPS: 340.2 AF OPS
PMSV METRO: 323.9 344.6
PTD: 139.3 372.2
SFA: 321.1 326.2 385.5 397.2

This Guide will give specifics of timing and location for viewing pleasure oriented by the Active Runway use and I will also include some photos to show what you can capture.

Speedway Spotting area

Runway 03L 03R Take off

If this orientation is taken for launch. Head to between Speedway gate 7 and 8 for the “flex take off” call for in the tower Frequency. School house and Aggressors units usually take the Flex on 03L and you will get them bank right infront of you. Dependent on the aircraft type they some do bank way ahead so plan on that. ( A-10, F-18 and Typhoon do flex a little earlier than F16 and F-15E) All shots Flex take off 03L launch can be achieve with 400mm lens while straight out will need about 600mm.

Lighting is not optimum in the morning since you have the sun in front of you. Light gets better after 2pm to 6pm.

If it is a straight out for 03L or 03R it would be way high and Speedway Gate 2 will be a better side shots. 03R take off will usually be straight out with no flex and they are way too far for fighter size aircraft. For most 03R launches I would say it will be hard to shoot even with 600mm lens.

Runway 21L and 21R Recovery

Typical Red Flag recovery comes in after 1500 hrs which the light gets really good at the speedway. Look for the formation of returning fighters and if you see the echalon formation of the 1st aircraft pointing to the right usually means a right break and be at Gate 2 speedway for them banking Base to Final run for runway 21R. Some fighters will bank earlier like the Typhoon, Growlers and Hornets. Gate 1 will be where I will be for the tighter fighters while 2 to 3 will be the regular fighters like the F16, F15 aircrafts. gate 5 to 8 will be for the heavies like the B52 or KC135 when they do a bank for Base to Final leg.

21L can get tricky because they are much further and a 600mm is a absolute minimum . U can still achieve good shots if you do it right.

Runway and hotramp shots is way too far to have good shots for the base activities.

Cheyenne Spotting area

Runway 21R Takeoff

There are times when 21R is use for take off, usually in high wind and they wil Flex for most of their flights in this manner. I will be at Cheyenne 1 and 2 for the flex shots but do watch out for those power lines. In the flex take off probably a 200mm is sufficient for the shots.

For 21L it will be very challenging in the Red flag launch which you will be backlid in the afternoon sun. I would say it will be hard to shoot if they choose the inner runway. 200mm is sufficient for the shot.

Runway 03L Recovery

If they recover on this runway 03L, be at cheyenne 02 spot for the bank from Base to Final. 200mm is sufficient for the shots

Runway 03R recovery

This is the only recovery you can get good shots if they use 03R for receovery. Be at location between Cheyenne 04 and 03 you can get the mountainous background and in good light. for recovery the lighting is killer in this area unless you are here in the morning and you will have to be Spot4 . At spot 3 you will get 03 recovery backlid in the morning. 400mm is better for this area but 200mm is sufficient.

Photography from Inside the Base

Shooting from the inside always gets you the best shots but again gaining access needs to be coordinated with USAF in Nellis AFB. Here are some of the unique stuff U can catch inside the Base