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Plane spotting at Chofu Airport

In 2021, I went plane spotting at Chofu Airport for the first time.  It is different from Haneda or Narita internationals.  There are no jets.  Only single and twin-engine propeller planes use it.  Helicopters operate from it too. The aircraft are pretty cool, but the airfield lacks a lot of flights.

JA37CA Dornier 228 taking off from Chofu Airport

New Central Airservice Corporation is the airport’s primary user.  It is a small airline that has a fleet of six Dornier 228s.  The destinations it serves are in the Izu islands near Tokyo.  I have a friend who has used them, and he said they are very good.

Dornier 228 taxiing at Chofu Airport

As usual, I quite wrongly assumed a few things before going.  One of them was the flight schedule.  I thought there would be more flights.  In my four hours walking the airfield perimeter, I saw maybe eight flights, give or take one or two.  

When I got home, I checked the internet.  Only then did I find out how few flights there was each day.  Yes, go ahead and laugh.  Why didn’t I think of checking that before I went?  Check everything before you go, isn’t that what I always say?

Dornier 228 taking off

Chofu Airport, even with its lack of flights, is an excellent place to photograph.  With only one runway and limited support services, it is small.  That means you can walk around it completely.  And lots of people take advantage of that.  They’ll have picnics in the parks on nice days or ride bicycles on the paths. 

Dornier 228 on Chofu Airport apron

Of course, fences are all around the runway.  But, the low hills at both ends make aircraft photography very easy.  All you need is a long lens.  Once again, I used my Fujifilm 100-400 mm to get close to the Dornier 228s.

Dornier 228 on landing approach

From what I could see, there were six spots around the field from where to take photos.  You can see them on the map.  Five of them are on low hills.  The last one is on the second floor of the terminal.

Dornier 228 nose

I’d like to go again.  When will that happen? I don’t know.  But when it does, I’ll take a picnic lunch to help me pass the time between flights.

Dornier 228 in front of Chofu Airport control tower

Where is Chofu Airport and its Dornier 228s?

The airport and aircraft are in Chofu City, west of central Tokyo.  I walked to it from the Seibu Tamagawa Line’s Tama Station.  That took about fifteen minutes.  Here is a Google map: 

Other photo spots near Chofu Airport?

Wrapping up

Once again, as this was my first visit, I will be going back again to get more pictures.  So, be prepared to see new ones of the planes here one day.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

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