We all love to travel and while most of our journeys are by air we tend to enjoy that. True enough, landing and take off in a jet plane is fun experience but if you have been to one of the following airports, I am sure you beg to differ. This lists brings for you the ten most dangerous airports to land in. The reasons include the length of the air strip, the location, the winds etc. Believe me, that heavy thud when the air plane touches the ground is nothing compared to what the pilot and the passengers go through while landing on one of the following air strips.
10. PRINCESS JULIANA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, ST. MAARTEN
This is perhaps one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean. United States Airline, KLM Royal Dutch and Corsairfly are usual users of the airport. The air strip is about 7,152 feet long and was built for smaller planes to land on but it still used by 747s and A340s. The air strip is located right next to the beach, so if you are sun-bathing and tall, make sure to not stand up. It can be very dangerous with the strong gushes of wind. Also, you need to stay clear of the engine exhaust. It can blow you away, literally.
9. TONCONTIN AIRPORT, HONDURAS
American Airlines, Aerolineas Sosa, TACA, Copa Airlines, and Islena Airlines usually land at this strip while on their way to Honduras. This is a mountainous region, so the plane is really close to the mountain tops when preparing to land but that’s not all. Right before touchdown, the pilot has to bank towards the left at a 45 degree angel in order to make it down safe and clear. A moment of hesitation can turn out to be disaster. The landing strip is a total of 6,112 feet.
8. GIBRALTAR AIRPORT, GIBRALTAR
The landing strip is only 6,000 feet long and it lies between the Mediterranean and the Bay of Gibraltar. If the pilot miscalculates while landing the only place for you to end up in is the water and upon touch down, the brakes must be pulled in full in order to stop in time otherwise the strip finishes and its curtains. Imagine all this precision landing in a really bad weather and you will understand why Gibraltar made it to the eighth spot.
7. MADEIRA AIRPORT, FUNCHAL
The pilot needs to fly the plane directly at the mountain and then make a turn towards the right at the eleventh hour in order to line the plane up with the air strip. The air strip is 9000 feet long and back in the year 2000 it was even shorter. Most of the European airlines use this air strip. The scary part is the mountains and the timing of the turn. If the pilot is careless or loses focus for even a second, the plane will hit the mountains and I’m sure you can imagine what happens after that.
6. JUANCHO E. YRAUSQUIN AIRPORT, ANTILLES
The scariest part about this run way is the length. At only 1,300 feet, a slight miscalculation and the plane is done for. It doesn’t matter how big or small the plane is, 1,300 is a very small number when you consider landing a plane. The strong winds also need to be considered here since its practically an island and I’m sure you have seen the videos where the plane is thrown off balance because of the cross-winds. Fall short of the run way and the plane hits the cliffs, go deep into the runaway and the plane will end up in the ocean. So the pilot has to be really focused and in total control.
5. JFK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, NEW YORK
The only real danger when you consider the John F. Kennedy Airport is the large amount of air traffic. The pilot needs to be very precise with the route he takes and miscalculations is not an option. With so many planes flying in from many directions a moment of hesitation can drive not only your plane but also the ones around you to disaster. Another problem is the visibility at only 5 miles. Considering the amount of traffic, 5 miles is not enough so a close contact over the radio is necessary. A moment of static and its all over.
4. TENZING-HILLARY AIRPORT, NEPAL
This airport only allows daytime landings and the problem with that is the strong gushes of wind blow from the Himalayas close by. The runway for the landing is uphill while its the exact opposite for the take off. The pilot cannot fall short of the runway and definitely not go deep. Perfect control over the air plane is required for the pilot land and there is no room for mistakes.
3. COURCHEVEL AIRPORT, FRANCE
This air strip is only 1,722 feet long with a vertical drop as soon as it ends. Landing at this airport is not every pilot’s cup of tea and one needs special training to be eligible to land a plane at Courchevel. But even with that training one cannot predict the winds and snow. Folks, let me tell you once again how dangerous these crosswinds are – very.
2. TIOMAN ISLAND, MALAYSIA
Tioman Island is a volcanic Island in the South China Sea. Before landing the plane is pointing directly at mountains and the pilot needs to do a ninety degree turn to come in line with the air strip. The cherry on top is that the run way has a mountain at its end. So once again, the pilot cannot possibly take it short or deep, instead the plane has to hit the dot on the first attempt.
1. MATEKANE AIR STRIP, LESOTHO
The air strip in this airport is only 1,312 feet long. Matekane air strip is located at the edge of a 7,550 feet high mountainous corridor. As soon as you take off this strip, you are over the edge and you’re instantly about 7,600 feet high in the air. So you think the landing might be easier? Consider this, if the speed of the plane is slowed down before schedule, you’ll hit the couloir and if the pilot shoots ahead, the strip is not long enough for the plane to stop. Heart stopping? I think so.