Fresno Yosemite International - popularly abbreviated by FYI instead of the FAA code FAT - serves the Central San Joaquin Valley. It is the only airport in the Valley to be served by major US airlines. Furthermore, it has a reasonably large General Aviation side, with about 200 aircraft based at 'FYI' varying from single piston engined aircraft to multi engined business jets.
On the military side, 'FYI' hosts F-15s of the California Air National Guards' 144th Fighter Wing and is also the base for US Army National Guards West Coast AVCRAD (Aviation Classification Repair Activity Depot). Other activities at 'FYI' consist of aerial tankers housed at the U.S. Forest Service and California Department of Forestry Air Attack Bases, and Highway Patrol, County Sheriff and Fresno Police choppers. And be aware that standing close to the fence near the (semi-) governmental agencies will attract police.
You're looking for diverse action at an airfield? Then 'FYI' just might be your place to be!
AVCRAD is situated on the northern rim of the airfield. When driving clockwise around the airfield you will find fire fighters and choppers in the northeast corner, F-15 fighters in the southeast, the civil airport in the south, and the GA community in the southwestern corner.
The airport is located roughly in between the two cities of Fresno and Clovis. When on freeway S-168 take exits "East McKinley Avenue" or "East Shields Avenue", and turn East.
Situated in the corner of E Dakota Avenue and East Airways Boulevard, 1106th TASMG AVCRAD has a ramp that might have some interesting ArNG helicopters. From Spot 1 the ramp can be partially overseen, resulting in some rarer examples. You can park your car at the Animal Center across the street and walk towards the apron to spot/photograph the helicopters from the small tecnical building
Further down the same road is the new cargo apron, which may contain some interesting airliners. Unfortunately N Cargo Lane is no trespassing and the land area left and right is military grounds so off limit according the Airport Authorities.
2East Perimeter Road
Close to the law enforcement choppers, from in between the hangars some decent shots of inmates can be taken. Take care, as this is close to law enforcement officers as well, and they may not all react the same positive manner...
The East Perimeter Road is No Trespassing unfortunately.
Opposite to the 144th FW F-15s across the runway is the main gate of the California Fire Service and Air Attack Base (CDF/CAL FIRE). Some of the fire fighting aircraft are parked near this gate in summer. From here, photography is OK in the afternoons, although a hangar is partially blocking the view. Most California ANG F-15 serials can be read from here. It is best to park your car at the unused parking area north of East Aircorp Way and walk to the crash gates along the North Clovis Avenue. When the F-15s take back along the north taxiway, they will stop in front of the crash gates and this will give some good photo opportunities when using some steps.
4North Clovis Avenue
After passing the junction with East McKinley Avenue, and immediately after crossing a creek and a railroad crossing you will find a small sand area on the westside hand side. Park here and you will be in perfect position for all traffic landing on Runway 29R. Traffic for the -smaller- runway 29L will unfortunately pass overhead. Moving up and down North Clovis Avenue will solve this, and taking a more southerly position may enable you to take nice shots of all traffic. This probably is the place you'll be spending most of the time, as the 29s are the preferred runways.
There is No Stopping sign along the road, also a No Trespassing sign towards this area, so maybe it is best to park your car into East Lamona Road and walk up to the crossing.
Just behind the main gate of the California Air National Guard, you can find a bunch of preserved aircraft. Photography is not possible because they are on the base itself, but reading off the serials should not be a problem. You can drive along, park at the Cell Phone Waiting Area to have a peek across the gate or follow the dirt track south of East McKinley Avenue.
Airside a couple of decent pics can be made, and you'll have a good view of the runways. Of course, here are the amenities and facilities you may want to use when either you drank or ate too much, or too little... Across the terminal is the Parking Garage which is the preferred spotting place according the Airport Authorities, however it is rather far away from the taxiways and runways and costs 12 dollar per day, or 6 dollar per half day.
7East Shields Avenue
In the bend in the road of North Winery Road and East Shields Avenue you will be able to oversee almost all of the GA ramps. Although while passing the ramp on your way from point 5 or 6 you've seen most of it already. Further this point will leave you with some nice opportunities to shoot aircraft vacating the runways or in take off. Parking is possible at Signature TECHNICAir although this is for customers only.
Spot 3, North Clovis Avenue, 5 April 2005, Ken Withers
|124.350 / 348.600
|118.200 / 251.100
|121.700 / 348.600
|121.350 / 273.600
|119.600 / 351.950
|132.350 / 323.250
|118.500 / 268.700
|ARR/DEP Visalia Area
|194th FS/114th FW CA ANG
|California Dept of Forestry & Fire Protection
|Rockwell Commander 690A
|144FW CA ANG
|El Centro NAF
|Fresno Yosemite Intl
|Hemet - Ryan Field
|Imperial Beach NOLF
|Lemoore NAS - Reeves Field
|Moffett Federal Airfield
|North Island NAS
|Palmdale Regional - Air Force Plant 42
|Point Mugu NAS
|Sacramento - Mather
|San Francisco - Intl
|Santa Monica - Municipal