This USAF base in the North of Italy is home to the 31st Fighter Wing operating two squadrons of F-16s, next to some US Army units. As with a number of USAF bases Aviano is also host to quite a number of visiting aircraft (either US or European aircraft), especially on the friday afternoon as pilots like to spend the nightstop on their navigation exercise in the city of Venice. It is also a favoured refuelling stop for many NATO forces on their was across Europe. The local F-16s tend to start early with the first take-offs as soon as 0800LT, while lasting till 1400LT. Nightflying will then start at 1800LT till 2000LT.
The base is good for reading and photography. But, since it is in Italy, there is no guarantee that you will last very long if you start showing off your long telelens to passers by. Keeping a low profile position a bit away from the base will be necessary. Reading/looking is not a real problem. Then again, with a (snow covered) mountain range in the back, the base is a real treat for photographers!
Apart from the spots mentioned on the map you should visit the mountain area North of the base to get a good view of the base. Either driving from Castello d'Aviano towards Aviano or from the mountain road of Piancavallo the view is superb. From the first spot you can also read the serials if the sun is not too awake yet and if you bring a high-end scope (40 to 60 x).
The airfield has a west-east orientated runway. The north side is used by 510th FS while also the USAr units have their hangars at the east side of the field. The south side is used by 555th FS while the aprons are used by all large aircraft.
The base is located about 15 kilometers North of Porcia and Pordenone. To get to the base the best option is to take the A28 highway and exit at either Fontanafredda, Porcia or Pordenone. From there follow the directions to Aviano (or roadnumber SP7). Following this route you will automatically pass the base (which is on your left before you reach the town of Aviano).
1Spot 1 - 05 approach
The first spot is the approach of runway 05 along road SP31. From here you have a good view of the aircraft approaching the base (either reading or photography) and taking off (reading only). Position yourself behind the tree line to keep a low profile, however photography will be resticted due to the same tree line. In summer the field could be used for mais, which is quite high. In winter there will be no crop so you will be quite exposed. For photography it is advised to move to spot 2. To get to spot 1 head for the SP31 in Roveredo in Piano (towards Budoia). Park your car at the restaurant you will pass at your left and walk towards this spot.
2Spot 2 - 05 approach
The photographic and advised alternative to spot 1. This spot, more hidden from the public road, can be reached by walking from the SP31 to the West along the water drainage ditch. Cross this ditch when you are next to the apple tree field to have the best position. You will need 350 mm digital for the local F-16s. You can park your car at the small restaurant at your left or continue this road to the left of the SP13 to park at the first dirt road to the right. From here walk to the same apple tree field.
3Spot 3 - 05 approach PM
This is the late afternoon spot for runway 05. From 4PM the sun has headed for the West that much that you can reposition to this spot along the SP31 to avoid facing the sun.
4Spot 4 - 23 approach
This spot is a good one if runway 23 is in use or for some nice banking fighters in departure from 08. From here you can photograph and read the aircraft coming in (and read the ones taking off). Standing on the road is not advisable as you are exposed to any police or all other traffic on this busy road. Driving to Aviano along the SP7/Via Pioneri dell'Aria and next to the airfield there is a small house at your right, after you have passed the traffic lights. There is a small road between this house and a small forest. Drive into this road and park your car behind the stone wall. Follow the tree line away from the road which will a bend to the left. At the end there is a high fence but if you stand on the grass field you will have a proper view onto the traffic.
5Spot 5 - 23 approach PM
As with runway 05 you can also reposition yourself along the SP7 when the sun is facing you. After 4PM this position North of spot 4 is an alternative. Again, a position just a bit further away is advised.
The beautiful scenery is best seen when being at spot 1 or 2. Photo Giampaolo Tonello
After 4PM you can position yourself at spot 3 where landing shots are possible. Photo Giampaolo Tonello
|376.650 / 122.100||Ground|
|284.650 / 142.050||Tower|
|275.325 / 362.300||Approach|
|290.875 / 375.450||ATIS|
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