Author Archives: Marcel van den Berg

About Marcel van den Berg

I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

News on MH17

This page will cover the news on MH17. I will do my best to catch up back into the history.

September 24
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is speaking out for the first time on the “unconventional” backdoor negotiations he led to get MH17’S black boxes and victims’ bodies out of eastern Ukraine (CNN)

September 25.
Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviation) sends open letter to #MH17 investigation team with 24 questions

Kiev cannot guarantee safe access to MH17 site (The Malaysian Insider)

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 never deviated from its flight plan route

I am a Dutch citizen. 298 innocent people not involved in a war were killed. We have to find the truth. Many lies are spread by parties involved. This blog is my way of helping to find the truth.

Many false information was spread by Russian state and Putin controlled media about the flight path of MH17. Russia states the flight path deviated to the north leading the aircraft right above separatists controlled area in east Ukraine.

Is this true or not?

Summary: no it is not true. Russian media is not telling the truth. Continue below for the proof.

Flightradar24 is a very reliable way to track aircraft. Most civil aircraft have a transponder which transmits the aircraft height, speed, altitude, registration and flightnumber on a radio frequency. Using very simple equipment that data can be received by anyone interested. Many people worldwide have such equipment and voluntarilty feed Flightradar24 with data.

Below are three screendumps I made of MH17 flights. The flights were made at July 15, July 16 and July 17. It is easy to see the flights path are almost identical.

The next image shows an image of the flightpath suggested by Russia Today. Russia Today is a President Putin controlled tv station. Russia Today quotes Flightaware as its source. Notice that the flightpath of MH17 shown on Flightaware is a following a perfect route around the globe after entering Ukraine airspace. Notice as well the track changes from green to white. White indicates Flightaware did not receive a transponder signal from the plane. The reason for this is that Flightaware does not have a feed, unlike Flightradar 24, in Ukraine Coverage of Flightaware feeds is made clear here. 

All flight paths of MH17 in the last 2 months or so can be viewed a Flightradar24. Click on the small plane icon at the end of the line.

All flights of MH17 at July 15,16 and 17 entered Ukraine airspace around Lublin in Poland.
They all flew slightly north of Donetsk.
They all flew above separatists controlled area on July 15,16 and 17

The red dotted line shown in all images below show the shortest possible route between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur.

The image below shows the flightpath of MH17 as flown in July 15!


Many other airlines were using the same route. For example Singapore Airlines on the Lodon Heathrow to Singapore route. See the image below for showing the route flown on July 16. Same route as Malaysian Airlines.


The image below shows the flightpath of MH17 as flown on July 16. See the registration of the aircraft in the left bottom corner: 9M-MRA
The aircraft flew slightly north of Donetsk.



Now lets look at the flight path of MH17 the next day, July 17. As shown on Flightradar 24 here.
The flightpath looks almost similar to the two days before. There is a small deviation to the north which started just north of Dnepropetrovsk. On July 15 and July 16 the flight overflew the separatists area as well.

Now lets look how the same flight is covered by Flightaware.

The picture below shows coverage of Flightaware. Clearly seen no coverage in Ukraine or further East.

This is the Flightaware track of July 16.

It is clearly visible the track color changes when the aircraft crossed the Polish-Ukraine border.

Now lets have a look how the Russian media and Russian state presents the routes.

In this article on Russia Today it states :


As you can easily conclude yourself using flightradar, the above is simply not true. Yes, MH17 of July 17 flew right over warn-torn Donetsk Region. But flights on July 15 and 16 as well!

The image below is used in the same article. The red line shows the flightpath according Russia Today. The aircraft was overflying the Crimea. Now scroll back in this article to the flightpath of July 15 as shown by Flightradar! Big difference.

In reality MH17 flights of July 15,16 and 17 flew almost the same route.

Now lets look what the Russia State presented during a press conference. See the slides here.

This image presented by Russian State shows a dramatic change of course of MH17 just above the city of Donetsk. This change is not shown in the Flightradar track.
I added the right arrow into the picture to indicate the flightpath of MH17 as presented by Russian State. The red line clearly makes a turn towards to northeast, then goes back southeast.

So it is up to you to judge who is right!


Spotting in Greece

This website has some good information on spotting at the airports below

  • Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” LGAV /ATH
  • Hios State Airport “Omiros” LGHI /JKH
  • Kerkira/Corfu State Airport “Ioannis Kapodistrias LGKR /CFU
  • Rhodes State Airport “Diagoras” LGRP /RHO
  • Skiathos State Airport “Alexandros Papadiamantis” LGSK /JSI
  • Zakinthos State Airport “Dionisios Solomos” LGZA /ZTH
  • Athens International Airport “Hellinikon” (CLOSED) LGAT/HEW


spotting at Tokyo Narita (NRT)

Tokyo Narita is the international airport of Tokyo although it does have a couple of domestic flights. You will see the most variaty  of all Japanese airports here. The observationdecks and spots around the perimter offer good opportunities for photos but  a car and ladder can be very handy. 

The airport has two runways. 34L/16R is mainly used by the larger aircraft for takeoff. The Airbus a380 will always land on this runway. Runway assigment depends roughy on the terminal being used by the airline. Terminal one bound traffic and cargo will use 34L/16R for landing. Terminal two traffic like all low costs carriers will prefer to use 34R/16L. To be able to photograph all traffic you will need to shot at both airports and need at least two days. Hope for 16L in operation for landings as for this spot no ladder is needed.

Mind to enter the airport you need a passport. The shuttle bus or car will be checked by security when entering the airport.

There are two observationdecks at the airport. Both are free and open early and are open till late. The one at terminal one faces west and is good in the morning.It can be found by taking an elevator to the 5th floor. Not all elevators will go to the 5ft floor. The fence has wholes in it so a camera lens can stick through it. Opening times are:

6:30 – 21:00 (Apr.1 – Sep.30)
7:00 – 21:00 (Oct.1 – Mar.31)
Some more info here.

There is a Lawson conveniance store (small supermarket) located at the same level of the observation deck at terminal one. Leave the deck. Take a left turn and you find it.

The deck at terminal two is less attractive. It faces east so good in the afternoon. It is only usefull for taking pictures of aircraft which gates are facing the deck. The runway 16L/34R is too far away for decent photos. You cannot see the other runway from here. There are two decks. To reach the other, walk past the restaurants. It can be found on the highest level of the terminal. Entrance is free.

There is an aviation museum  (Koku Hakubutsukan) located near the approach of at 34L. This can be good for landingshots early in the morning. There goes a bus about two times per day to the museum from the terminal. For terminal one the busstop is 31. A taxi costs about 2000 Yen. The museum has a couple of aircraft parked outside like a YS11. These can be photographed for free. The museum has a small fee for entry. There is an observationdeck which allows for photos.

Along 34L there are a couple of good spots. You do need a ladder to be able to make shots though. This because the whole airport has high fences and some sort concrete sticks which allows to stick your lens through.

You do not need a ladder for spot 1. This is good for lineup shots and landing at 34L.

spot 4:
When landings are on 16L there is a very good spot near the begining of runway 16L. This spot is hard to reach by public transport. You will need to go to Narita station and then take a bus. From the Marroad Hotel & Narita Tobu hotel it will take about 50 minutes of walk. You do not need steps for this spot. The sun is good from about noon till sunset. There are some vendingmachines which offer water and softdrinks.

An example of photo taken here

Spot 5:
Halfway 16L there is a spot for aircraft taxiing back after landing 34R. You will need a big ladder though which gets you about 3 meters high. One of the local spotters might help you with that.

The Narita Tobu hotel has a free shuttlebus to the airport which runs about three times an hour. We stayed here and the hotel was fine. It had free Wifi in the rooms and was clean. Some rooms overlook the airport but as it is located in the middle of both runways, far for photos. 

The Toyoko Inn Narita Kuko is a popular hotel for spotters. It overlooks the approach of 34R and you are able to take landingshots of aircraft landing on 34R.

A few of the rooms of the Marroad have rooms overlooking runway 16R.

spot 6
This is the Sakura no Yama park,. Good spot for landings 16R. This is very popular by the locals to watch planes. You do not need a ladder here. from the terminal you can take the shuttle bus of the Marroad hotel. Then you will need to walk 10 minutes to the park. 

spot 7
Good for lineup and landing 16R. you need a ladder with 4 to 5 steps because of the concrete fence here. This spot can be very busy with spotters in the weekend. A car is required to reach this spot or a long walk from the Marroad hotel. The photo below was taken by Sjaak Louwen

spot 8
Lineup and landing 34L. For lineup shots 34L a small lader can be handy but not required. Landing shot example by Hisatomo Hosokoshi

Transport to Haneda
To reach Haneda from Narita you can take the train. We took the airport limousine bus as this brought us directly to our hotel. If you select a hotel make sure this is located near the Tokyo monorail or the railway. This runs with a few stops to all three terminals at Haneda airport.

We did not have any issues with police while spotting. There are a lot of Japanese aviation photographers. Unfortunately most of them do not speak english so it is hard to get in touch for a chat.

Make sure to read this website on spotting as well. The information is outdated but still usefull.

Japan is very well organized. Very clean. No rubbish on the streets despite there are very few dustbins on the streets. Very friendly people which are willing to help. Also not very expensive. Airport hotels can be a bit expensive but food is not. We had a meal in an airport restaurant for about 1200 yen. Drinks are about 120 yen from vending machines.

Spotting at Nagoya Airfield (Komaki airbase)

Nagoya Airfield used to be the domestic and international airport for Nagoya before the new Chuba Centrair airport opened. It is now a domestic airport only served by just one airline: Fuji Dream Airlines. The airport also has a military side which has KC767, Blackhawk helicopters, HS125 and many C130 Hercules aircraft based of the Japan Air Force. Also there is a Kawasaki repairplant. Not sure how active this is. We saw a few stored Phantoms and a F15.

Also there are some light aircraft and helicopters used for offshore based here. You might see a few bizjets as well. We saw two Japanese registered Cessna Citations during our visit in April 2014.

About 4 Fuji Dream aircraft are based at  Nagoya Airfield. With some carefull planning you will see them all in about two hours time.

The airport has a single runway 16/34. It has a  nice, free observationdeck located at the terminal on the west side of the runway. In the afternoon the sun is in the back. The runway is a bit far. You need about 270 mm for a C130 I guess. The Fuji Dream aircraft all park at the small finger pier and can easily be photographed from the deck. Some even with 70mm.

An alternative spot for photos is the parking lot next to the shopping mall. The shopping mall used to be the international terminal. It is now called Airport Walk. There is a fence next to the parking but it is not so low. This place will enable you to take shots of taxiing aircraft and aircraft on the runway. To reach the parking lot , exit the terminal builing, take a right and walk in a southerly direction towards the big blue building which is the shopping mall. It will take about 10 minutes walking.

To reach Nagoya Airport from Nagoya Chuba Centrair take the train from Chuba airport to Nagoya Station. There are several types of trains running on this track. The faster one does stop less and the trip takes 10 minutes less. The slowest train takes about 50 minutes to reach Nagoya Station. The station is signposted as Meitetsunagoya Station.

Exit the railway station on the East side. Cross the busy road and take a right turn. The busstop is about 25 meters from the zebra crossing. The bus stops at just a few stops before reaching the airport.

The image below shows the timetable of the bus running from Nagoya station



Osaka Kansai KIX spotting guide

This blog will inform you about photography / aircraft spotting at Kansai Airport. I have been here in April 2014.

Osaka Kansai (KIX) is the international airport of Osaka. It is served by a lot of airlines. Some interesting are Jeju , Air Busan A320/A321, easter Jet Boeing 737, Transasia A330,  Hawaiian A330. Also see here is Jetstar Japan and Starflyer.Have not seen Vanilla Airlines or Air Do. JAL/J-Air Saab, Dash8, Embraer and ANA Dash 8 are not seen here.

Just one United B777 and a single Boeing 737 here. Delta uses the B757. Unlike Tokyo which has a lot of US airlines

Fedex and UPS are seen here each day with Boeing 777, B767 , MD11 and B757.
Thai operates the Airbus A380
ANA has a few daily flights here. ANA Cargo ca be seen as well with the Boeing 767. Japan Airlines has just a few flights per day to Kansai.
Lowcost airline Peach is based here and uses terminal two exclusively. .

The airport has two parallel runways. 06R/24L which is the preferred runway and 06L/24R which is mainly in use when there are a lot of departures. 06L/24R is mostly being used between 09:00 and 12:00. After that it is back to single runway operations.

Kansai is a challenge for photography. The sunlight gets better after around 14:00. Before that you are facing the sun at the observation deck. If you are lucky landings are on 24R. If you are unlucky landings are on 06R and you will not be able to make decent photos. Except for aircraft parked at gates 1 to around 20.

There is a Lawson supermarket at the Aeroplaza. Located on level 1f (groundfloor). Here you can buy sandwitches and drinks. Aeroplaza is located under the Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport.

To reach Kansai from Itami take the airport limousine bus. It wil take about 70 minutes and costs 1950 yen. It runs about twice an hour. Tickets can be purchased from the bus staff at the busstop. The busstop at Itami airport is 7c.

There are also two train companies going to Osaka Kansai.

spot 1:
The SkyView observation deck is located near 24L and can be reached by free shuttle bus departing from bustop number one at Terminal one. The bus runs every 20 minutes.

The observationdeck is actualy two building connected with a footbridge. It has multiple levels of outside decks offering nice views over both runways and the apron. It is opposite the Japanse coastguard hanger where some Saab 340’s and Puma helicopters are based.

The position for the sun at this is not optimal. In the morning you are facing the light. There are screens in the building showing arrival and depatures, including freighers and type of aircraft. There is also a shop selling aviation stuff like models and lots more. You can sit inside and watch the proceedings.

Typical photo taken from observationdeck of aircraft landing 24L.

Spot 2:
When 06L/24R is in uses there is a small hill located next to the carpark,of terminal two. The hill is high enough to get over the fence without the need for a ladder. The hill was purpose,built for watching planes as it has steps and a path from the terminal building. A Boeing 737 on the runway takes about 275mm.

To reach terminal two from terminal one, head for the plaza. This is the area where the hotel is,located. Go to the ground level. The free shuttle bus will leave every 5 minutes or so. To reach the mound, exit the terminal two, take a left turn and walk towards 06L/24R. Then follow the fence towards the northeast. Cannot be missed.

If landings are on 24R this is a great place. All aircraft will pass. If landings are on 06L you might miss aircraft which take an earlier runway exit.

This is an example of a photo taken here.

spot 3:
On the southside of  terminal two  are also some spots for photos. Just follow the fence towards terminal one untill you see a crashgate. The fence has a small hole between the upper and lower parts of the fence. Not big enough to,stick a lens through but you can take pictures. Continue walking towards terminal one and you,will come close to the taxiways connecting both runways. Stay clear from the fence and stay at the other side of the road. You wil not encouter issues,with police if you follow this simple rule.

spot 4 and 5:
At terminal one you can take pictures of some of the aircraft leaving or entering the gate. Go to the 4th level and walk either towards one of both sides depending what you like to,see. It might also be possible to take photos from the parkinggarage although long lenses are required.

This is an example of a picture taken from outside terminal one. And this is a photo taken at the north side of the terminal one.

spot 6 and 7:
Inside the terminal one after passing the securitycheck you will need to take the monorail shuttle  to be able to take pictures. At both sides of the terminal there are possibilities for photos.