The Most Dangerous Airports to Land On

Have you ever thought about landings? Do you think it is complicated? Well, being it’s the pilot’s job, he/she should be able to handle it. As a matter of fact, landing is not that challenging, but there are some airports where you need special training to land on. For instance, you’d need to know the airport well, since one mistake can ruin your career.

The first airport is Lukla Airport, Nepal. This airport is considered to be very dangerous. The runway is 2860 meters above sea, and there are mountains surrounding it. In this case, pilots attempt several maneuvers to land safely, because one little mistake can pose a serious problem. Shocking right? No? Here’s another example, the runway is only 527 meters long, which is very short (Runways are usually more than 3 kilometers). Thus, only small aircrafts can land there, in addition to the conditions that set limits as well. Above all of that, there are no lights along the runway making the landing continue to rise in difficulty.

Another airport that challenges pilots is Toncontin, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This airport has a specific location. It lies in a valley, so the pilots turn the plane – 45 degree, then start to descend quickly. Something else that makes it a dangerous airport is once descending, the captain must be execute it carefully, because of the increased pressure. In 1989, there was a plane crash, the B727 – 200 (company Tan – Sahsa) crashed into the hill of the mountain while landing. Sadly, 131 people passed away.

Moving on to Saint Martin, you would not think that landing there is difficult, but it’s actually quite challenging. Princess Juliana Airport is located close to the sea Maho, hence aircraft fly just few meters above the tourists’ heads. This airport was constructed especially for small airplanes. Nowadays, even A340 or Jumbo land there. Nonetheless, pilots must be careful, the people are not a huge problem, they just need to be patient when landing on that runway.

Paro Airport, Bhutan can also be considered demanding. This airport is located right in the Himalaya mountains. There are hills higher than 5500 meters above sea, and the runway is not even 2000 long. Landing there is similar to Lukla Airport, but the weather conditions are worse at Paro. Turbulences and extremely strong wind makes landing there even more exacting and dangerous. An interesting fact regarding the airport is that there are only 18 pilots who have permission to land on the runway in Paro.

Last but no least is Gibraltar. This place is a British Overseas Territory and headland, on Spain’s south coast. It has an interesting system concerning the airport there. The runway is not stable, it is more like an intersection. And, it crosses with Winston Churchill road, therefore the road has to be closed while landing. As a result, cars and people must wait until the aircraft lands. Fortunately, there is a plan to change the system, their government is considering building a tunnel for the traffic, as well as, making the runway stable.

View of Gibraltar runway crossing the street, source:

Have you ever landed on any of airport mentioned above? Let us know in comments.

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