What constitutes a dangerous airport? It depends. Physical and environmental factors like short runways, high altitudes or unpredictable weather weigh heavily. The only problem is that flat stretches of the runway aren\’t always available in certain places. This means that pilots have to be particularly skilled to land on a runway that juts out from a mountain or one that appears in a narrow valley. The most dangerous airport landings. The most extreme, scariest and hairiest of all airports in the world.
There are otherwise-safe airports that are smack in the middle of conflict zones. And some airports are just scary as hell to fly into or out of. Here, in no implied order, are six of the most dangerous.
1. Toncontin International Airport (TGU), Honduras
If you dig mountain scenery, then that might help you feel a little less queasy about flying in or out of Toncontin Airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. As you may be noticing, airports in mountains become very hard to land at due to the variant terrain and often short approaches. Although Boeing 757s land and take off from this airport all the time, the History Channel rated it the second-most dangerous airport in the world due to the mountainous terrain.
Toncontin has a number of strikes against it. It’s situated in a valley 3,294 feet (1,004 m) above sea level. During descent, planes need to make a 45-degree bank to effectively reach the 7,000-foot runway located in a valley. After this bank, planes must rapidly drop in altitude, being careful not to scrape the terrain directly underneath. High altitude makes flights to this city a real challenge.
2. Barra International Airport (BRR), Scotland
If you love the beach, the strength of that love might be tested by landing on the world\’s only beach runway with scheduled airline service. Barra International Airport is the only airport on the planet where scheduled flights use a beach as the runway. This airport sits on the wide shallow bay of Traigh Mhor on the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The airport has a short runway. But that\’s not why it is unique and dangerous. The airport uses the beach as its runway and is the only airport in the world to do so.
3. Agatti Aerodrome (AGX), Lakshadweep, India
Agatti Airport is the only airport in Lakshadweep, India that serves 36 local Indian tourist islands. The strip on which planes take off and land is just 4,000 feet long, making it quite a challenge to land. Planes have to risk the short runway to serve the local 36 Indian tourist islands. Agatti Aerodrome is a strip of land present in the blue waters. The strip is just 4,000 feet long making it risky to land. It is the sole airstrip in the archipelago- Lakshadweep, a Union Territory comprising 36 exotic islands located off of the southwestern coast of India and sits on the island of Agatti.
4. Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong
Once called “the mother of all scary airports,” it was shut down in 1998 after pilots couldn’t stand it anymore. Strong crosswinds and the surrounding mountains only added to the difficulties of landing here. At one time, travelers were quite upbeat about Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong.
Runway 13 was the preferred runway at Kai Tak as the wind generally blew off of the water towards the land although often at a sharp angle to the runway. In most cases it is preferred to land and take off against the direction of the wind since this reduces the distance needed over the ground to execute a landing. With numerous skyscrapers also located to the north of the airport and its only runway jutting out into Victoria Harbour, landings were incredibly dramatic and technically demanding for pilots.
5. Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), Saint Martin
One of the busiest airports in the Caribbean. To land on Princess Juliana International Airport, pilots have to fly over a little part of the beach, cross over the fence and then pass over the road and then land on the runway. This placement often results in large and loud gusts of wind and sand to those enjoying the crystal blue water. For the pilots, hitting visitors is the least of their worries. The runway is only 2,179 meters long, which is very short considering the large aircraft that land here requires more than 2,500 meters to ensure a safe landing.
6. Courchevel Airport (CVF), France
The Courchevel airport is known to have the shortest runway at just 525 meters long. added to that the runway has a gradient of 18.5%. aspects that affect take-offs and landings daily. To add on top of the already difficult landing, the runway is built right into the Alps where pilots have to fly through a narrow valley even to prepare for descent.
The airport is for people who want to ski in the Alps and hence is located amidst mountains. In addition to navigating these mountains, pilots also need to land the plane at sharp angles for the aircraft to slow down.If aircraft do not gain enough speed by the end of the runway, they simply fly off the edge of a cliff, hoping for the best.
7. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport (SAB), Saba
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is one of the world\’s shortest commercial airports and the runway is only 1300 feet in total length, about a quarter mile. The whole island is about 5 miles square, and is mostly vertical volcanic terrain except for a triangle of turf jutting out into the Caribbean where planes try to land. The runway is flanked by a mountain slope on one side and the water on the other. The island is truly a paradise for the tourists and the travelers, and they risk their lives to get here. Obviously, the small runway makes it impossible for large flights to land, but they also make it difficult for small flights as well.
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