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Can anyone identify the airport location in this photo?

It would have been taken in late 1962 or early 1963 just before this DC-8 N9609Z took on its Canadian registration CF-TJL in April 1963.

There is some speculation that it is Long Beach airport or Miami airport. I think it is neither, due to the lack of palm trees, and because of what appears to be snow visible in the photo.

The sign in the background says “Home of Coppertone” which leads me to believe it might be Newark, New Jersey since Wippany, New Jersey is the head office for Coppertone.

I believe this is the first DC-8F "Jet Trader" convertible freighter. There is a sign on a tripod near the front entrance which may mean it is part of some public display.

enter image description here

Alex McPhee photo collection

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    $\begingroup$ I agree, that's snow. Seems to be a mix of evergreens and hardwoods on the horizon. That building with the globe on top might be distinctive enough though whether it's a newspaper or a radar I can't tell. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jun 28, 2021 at 18:34
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    $\begingroup$ Do snowy places sell a lot of Coppertone? Versus sandy places? $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2021 at 22:40
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    $\begingroup$ KMMU is a municipal airport and the runways are too short for a DC-8. $\endgroup$ Jun 28, 2021 at 22:59
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    $\begingroup$ That's not snow -- it's sand. That's Miami. Australian pines in the background, palm trees in the background, Coppertone signs, and the completely board flat landscape. I grew up in Miami and recognized it instantly. $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2021 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ @quietflyer Must be sand because snow very rarely falls where palm trees grow. Look at the right side of the photo above the tail. See the big Coppertone sign in the background? Just to the right of that sign are two palm trees. In fact, using google maps I can pretty much pinpoint that aircraft's location. $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2021 at 15:05

1 Answer 1

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The airport is Miami International. I base this on the following factors:

  1. Personal familiarity: I lived in Miami from 1959 until 1974 and have been to MIA many times. I recognized that view the moment I saw the photo.

  2. The white sandy soil that many mistook for snow. It is ubiquitous in south Florida and any bare ground you see is likely to be bright white, as seen in the dirt road behind the aircraft. Some light sand is also blown across the tarmac, which some people also mistook for snow.

    enter image description here

  3. Palm trees: Just to the right of the large, elevated Coppertone sign there are unmistakably two palm trees.

    enter image description here

  4. Australian pines: The horizon is dotted with Australian pines, which are extremely common in south Florida. (Or were in 1963. I believe a disease wiped out many of them in the 1970s.)

    enter image description here

  5. The Coppertone billboards: You couldn't swing a dead cat in Miami in the 1960s without hitting one of those signs, particularly near the airport.

    enter image description here

  6. The distant background: MIA is west of downtown Miami, so this photo is looking east (slightly ENE). You can see downtown Miami in the center of the photo, and the hotels of Miami Beach more distant farther to the right. Both are correctly placed relative to the airport.

    enter image description here

  7. The terrain: South Florida is an ancient reef, so it's utterly board flat. There is literally no such thing as a hill in Miami unless it's man-made, and the terrain in this photo fits precisely.**

  8. The Shell gas station: As you can see in the Google Maps satellite view, there is a Shell gas station on the corner of NW 25th St. That location was a Shell gas station in 1963 as well.

enter image description here

I would estimate that the plane is parked approximately here, though it may be closer to the large building as pointed out in comments.

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    $\begingroup$ Well done - that is an awesome answer & research! $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Jul 22, 2021 at 5:31
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the great answer. $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2021 at 18:48

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