Istanbul - Samandira

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Last Validated
City Istanbul
Position 40°59'35"N 029°12'60"E
Runway(s) 18/36, HEL
Elevation 400 ft


This airfield and army barracks east of Istanbul hold some helicopter and fixed wing units of the Turkish army. It will be visited for a quick hit-and-run by most.


The airfield used to have two runways. However, one of them is now in use as practice area and parking spot. Parallel to the runway on the east side there are two ramps; the southern one always holds some U-17s that are possibly stored. Also on the east side there are some hangars that are probably used by the based fixed wing aircraft. On the west side the helicopters can be found. They have several ramps and the two hangars along the northern one are used actively.

Getting There

The airfield is north of the Istanbul-Ankara toll highway O-2/E80. Take exit 'Samandira 1' and head south towards Kartal. After the toll booths, there is an exit. Take the exit and make a right, turning over the road you were on before. Follow this road, it goes through a tunnel under the highway and just after that there is a crossing. Go across the square and take the through road on the left hand side. This should still be the Ulubatli Hasan caddesi. When the build up area on the left side stops, you will be able to see the airfield and this is the first vantage point as well.

Around the Airport

1South east side overview

This is by far the best spot. It is the road along a small residential area. On the north side of this road, work is always performed on cars and trucks. From this piece of barren land the overview of the ramps is good but the locals are always present. You can better drive a bit further down the street that slopes down. You will be able to pole off the U-17s on the nearby ramp and the helicopters that are parked outside on the other side of the runway. You will need toe relocate a couple of times to get a good angle on all aircraft. Obviously, early morning light is best.

2South east side approach 36

Driving all the way to the end of the aforementioned road, it gets in bad shape and bends to the left. From there the aircraft approaching to runway 36 can be viewed in the morning. You will attract a lot of attention from the locals if you stay here.

3South west side approach 36

The road eventually leads to a regular asphalt road, make a right. You are now driving parallel to the airfield perimeter. Because of the higher terrain, foliage and buildings on the base, you will not be able to view the ramps. However, the approach can now be watched from the west side which is better for afternoon viewing.

4North east side approach 18

If you wish to stay and watch the activity with runway 18 in use, go back to the main road. Make a left at the T-junction keeping the airfield to your left. Go past the first gate, with the preserved U-17. If they use the old runway for practice approaches, find a spot on the right hand side of the road, north of the residential area. For runway 18, continue a bit further until the next residential area. Make a right after that but before the main airfield gate. From this street, the approaching aircraft can be watched. Morning light is necessary though.

5North west side approach 18

In the afternoon you will have to find a spot on the west side of the approach to runway 18 by taking the first street after passing the airfield. This runs past a residential area. Try to find a spot there.



Based Operators

1nci Ordu Hava Alayi
Karagah ve Kh.BölügüUH-1H, U-17B
1.Helikopter Taburu / 1nci BölükUH-1H
1.Helikopter Taburu / 2nci BölükUH-1H
2.Helikopter Taburu / 1nci BölükS-70A
2.Helikopter Taburu / 2nci BölükUH-1H


?U-17, southeast gate (40°59'30.5"N, 029°13'22.5"E)

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