Watching Sully ditching the large aircraft on the Hudson River gave you the thrill to experience the scariest landing in the world’s history. A tiny drop of sweat forming on the forehead and eyes carrying the tale of absolute terror while your face looks as pale as a ghost is what you call a life-threatening adventure.
At that very moment, you grab the seat firmly until your hands hurt, waiting to take the impact. For the aircraft to crash, but it does not. What a dream that only comes true in the movies.
However, if you want to experience landing at the scariest airports in the world, aviation companies such as Empire Aviation Dubai are entirely at your service. Skilled pilots in the aircraft’s cockpit know just the drill to land the jet on the most dangerous runways without putting lives at stake.
For your inner wild adventurer like Indiana Jones, we have put together a list of the world’s scariest airports that you must visit once in a lifetime:
Table of Contents
1. Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport, Portugal
It is also known as Madeira Airport or Funchal Airport, where the engineers built the platform to expand the runway later. It opened in 1964 and experienced a plane crash on the beach after a few years. The incoming flight carried 164 passengers, out of which 131 died when the operator overran the runway and exploded on the beach.
Despite the modifications after the tragic incident, it remains the most dangerous airport. Currently, the runaway is held up by 180 columns, designed to tolerate landing shocks. Heavy turbulence, wind changes and sheer closeness to the ground allow only limited pilots to land on its runway. Pilots have to fly near the terrain while approaching the airport.
2. Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten
This airport is the most famous on the list because of a public beach situated before the runway. The pilots have to approach the water at an extremely low altitude to land at this airport. The outcome is loud gusts of wind and sand that envelop people swimming in the crystal blue sea and enjoying a sunbath. However, disturbing the visitors is not the only stress pilots have to bear.
The runway was originally built for smaller aircraft with a length of 7,150 feet. It is small for larger jets that require almost 2,500 meters for a safe landing. However, airplanes such as A340s and 747s are frequently seen on the runway since the increase in tourism.
3. Courchevel International Airport, France
Courchevel Airport has the world’s smallest runway, extending 1722 feet long. Moreover, the paved runway has a downward slope of 18.5%, making it difficult for the pilots to take off.
It does not stop here. To add up to your already building up adrenaline rush, this airport lands right in the Alps. Provided that, the pilots have to fly through the narrow valley to prepare the jet for the descent. In addition, the airport is void of lighting and instrumental aid, so landing is impossible during lousy weather. Hence, only specially-certified pilots receive permission to land at this airport.
4. Lukla Airport, Nepal
Lukla Airport, also known as Tenzing – Hillary Airport in Nepal, is the main airport for the tourists who come with the determination of scaling Mount Everest—being stuffed between the mountains of the Himalayas and the short length of the runway makes it challenging to land the plane. One side of the airport drops off in a 2000 mile cliff while the other side runs into the stone wall of mountains with a walkway to the Buddhist shrine.
The airport is relatively small, and the communication with the controllers cuts off when it loses electricity. Consequently, it becomes difficult to land the aircraft even in perfect conditions.
5. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, St. Maarten
It is commonly known as Saba Airport, located on the Dutch Caribbean Island of Saba. It extends for 27 miles in the south of St. Maarten. Its runway is about 1300 feet long, making it one of the smallest commercial airports in the world. This specific runway length permits only the best pilots to land an aircraft safely.
Moreover, no matter what aircraft for sale in UAE you pick for the ride, make sure to book a skilled pilot because the shortest runway is not the only hazard. Jagged terrain and the sharp left bank of the sea surrounds the airport.
To sum up, the world is full of adventurous places so what are you waiting for? You only live once. Better do it right!