Nick Benson, JetTip.net

N887EA, a Ravn Dash 8-100, in special colors for the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves.

Mrs. JetTip and I recently made a trip to Alaska, and we carved out a morning for plane spotting at Anchorage's primary commercial airport, Ted Stevens International.

ANC is probably best known to aviation enthusiasts as being a hub for international cargo - the vast majority of air freight between Asia and North America stops there for sorting and/or re-fueling. As a result, there are more 747 arrivals/departures here than any other airport in North America (and very probably the world... I don't have global stats though, sadly).

Of course, there are lots of things beyond the heavy freighters you'll see every day at major airports in the Lower 48; I'd been hoping to catch a Dreamlifter, a Lynden C-130, or an Everts DC-6 (I managed to go 1 for 3 on that trio), but was pleasantly surprised by several airlines and aircraft that weren't on my radar.

At the time we were there, runway 15/33 was out of service, which meant all of the traffic would get funneled through a single area - it was perfect for me - nothing was going to escape unphotographed by arriving/departing on the other end of the field! Following guidance from SpotterGuide.net, we found a great spot at the north end of South Airpark Place.

We were there on September 12, 2019 from 8:45 AM to 11:15 AM, and it made for a very solid 2.5 hours of spotting; here are some highlights, in the order they were photographed. Enjoy!

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

N682PA, a PenAir Saab 2000, gets photobombed by a Cathay Pacific Cargo 747-8F.

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

N318AS, Alaska's "Spirit of Disneyland II," is a Boeing 737-900.

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

US Navy C-40 (737-700C) 696, operated by VR-56. Note Icelandair's Hekla Aurora 757-200, TF-FIU, on the left.

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

N356KD, a Western Global 747-400F.

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

N906RA, a Saab 340A(F) operated by Ryan Air.

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

N545LM, Super King Air operated by LifeMed Alaska.

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

P4-LAS, an L-100 (civilian C-130) operated by Lynden Air Cargo... humid Hercules departures are always a treat!

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

N805FX, an ATR-72F for FedEx Feeder.

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

N362NC, a Northern Air Cargo 737-300F.

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

N405LC, another Lynden Air Cargo L-100 Hercules!

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

N117AX, Beech 1900C operated by Alaska Central Express - talk about sharp! Was also happy to catch one of Alaska's relatively new 737-700Fs (N625AS).

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

ANC is a crew base for UPS 747 pilots. Trivia: N578UP is one of two former passenger 747s in their fleet - note the longer, passenger-sized hump.

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

A trio you'll only find at Anchorage! N454PA, a 747-400F for Polar/DHL, along with N113AX ACE Beech 1900C, and N752FX, a FedEx Feeder Super Cargomaster.

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

A Kalitta Charters II 737-400F, N405CK arriving as a Ravn Dash 8-100 departs, with assorted cargo heavies in the background.

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

I'd spent the morning mildly frustrated by the dozen or so F-22s and handful of C-17s that had been flying out of Elemdorf Air Force Base, which at 8 miles away, was close enough to see what was happening, but too far to photograph. Not sure what was going on exactly, but a pair of the Raptors flew an approach on 7R and gave us a great show. Kudos to Mrs. JetTip, who noticed these coming and helpfully suggested I stop staring at my phone!

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

Three aircraft operating out of three airports at Anchorage! N668CP, 737-700 for ConocoPhillips at ANC; N777T, a DHC-2 Beaver departing LHD; and an unknown F-22 at EDF... not too shabby!

Nick Benson, JetTip.net

N706CK, a Kalitta 747-400F, which fortuitously departed on 7R (everything else departed 7L), allowing it to hit this picturesque position relative to the mountains at a much closer range.

Nick Benson

Nick lives in Burnsville, MN with his wife and three children. He grooves on railroad and aviation photography, politics, geography, weather, and LEGO. He started JetTip's smart flight alert service in 2017, and is now a full-time avgeek. He can frequently be found atop a step ladder at MSP's Aircraft Viewing Area.