Flying, we either love it or hate it! There is no denying when it comes to these crazy airports we can’t help but watch in amazement.
Don’t play chicken with the aircraft at Gibraltar Airport because the runway intersects with the city’s main road Winston Churchill Avenue, Gibraltar’s busiest road! When aircraft are cleared for take-off and land, barriers will close the road off in the city to allow an uneventful landing or departure.
A Caribbean paradise for aviation geeks is Princess Juliana Airport in Saint Maarten which is definitely one of the top hot spots. Maho Beach is the one stop shop with the local beach bar “Sunset Beach” chalking up the daily arrivals on the blackboard with their estimate time of arrivals as many fanatics prepare to jump up as the planes skim their hands and then prepare to be blasted away from the perimeter fence as the planes gear up for their departure.
One landing you can’t afford to mess up is Lukla Airport in Nepal, teeth biting moments will the aircraft stop in time? Lukla has a mountain one side and a 1000 foot drop the other. Intrepid explorers fly into this airport before they start the long trek up Mount Everest.
Courchevel 6600 feet above sea level, you might be good at skiing, but can you land on a 525 meter runway? Skill and precision is what’s needed by the pilots who operate into Courchevel. The airport has no instrument approach facilities making it impossible to land with low visibility and fog, there is no go-around procedure, so you must land. The pilots will take off down the runway with an 18.5% slope gradient to increase momentum and land up the runway reducing the braking distance.
A bit of a weird one is Barra International Airport in Scotland, it’s not your typical asphalt or grass runway, this runway is the beach! The natural sun light provides the light for day to day operations. The airport will be washed away once a day by the tide. You best time the landing correctly! Barra has one daily flight from Glasgow International which is just 55 minutes away by a turbo propeller aircraft.
Images by Wanderlust used under Creative Commons licence.