For most people the scariest part of flying is turbulence or the thought of encountering a storm but once you see these next runways you might just change your tune. From high altitudes, short strips and the occasional mountain in the way, these landings aren’t for the weak. So strap in!
10. Ice Runway, Antarctica
While most tourists tend to get to the coldest place on earth by cargo tanker, there are a few airports on the continent for emergencies and dropping supplies to hungry scientists. Each aircraft landing has to be weighed beforehand so that workers at the airport can check whether or not the ice will crack if it lands. You wouldn’t want to misjudge by a couple pounds now would you?
9. Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong
Navigating obstacles is all part of a pilot’s job but most don’t usually have to tackle obstacles like buildings blocking their runway. Although the airport is shut down now because of dangerous conditions and frequent crashes, it was the only airport in Hong Kong for nearly 70 years. Tens of fatal crashes took place on the runway and was usually due to overshooting the landing strip and bad weather.
8. Courchevel International Airport, France
Fancy a sudden drop of an icy cliff? Well, that’s what you’re in for if you take off from this scary airport. At only 1,700 feet in length the runway is not only short, but it is surrounded by snowcapped mountains that you really wouldn’t want to spend a few days climbing out of after a crash. Luckily though, it only serves as a airport for the nearby ski village.
7. St Martin Airport, St Martin
Usually, airports tend to be fairly far away from the bustling city center and for good reason. You wouldn’t want to accidently land on a beach full of tourists would you? Well when you literally have nowhere else to put the runway, why not put it next to a beach and have people take photos of just how crazy it looks?
6. Lukla Airport, Nepal
While most people won’t ever have to take on this nail biting landing, anyone wanting to climb Mt Everest is in for a stomach churning landing. With a short runway, harsh conditions and the fact it is on a mountain all mean that this airport has had a lot of incidents. From planes skidding of the runway to helicopters completely missing tarmac, Lukla has had it all.
5. Paro Airport, Bhutan
This airport is so dangerous, only eight pilots are qualified to land here. Not only is it a tiny runway nestled between mountains but it has the honor of being one of the only airports where their runway is shorter than their elevation above sea level, seriously. Thankfully though, there aren’t that many recorded crashes or even mishaps.
4. Hechi Airport, China
The Chinese government meant serious business when they used dynamite to flatten a mountain in order to pop an airport on top of it. Over 60 mountains had to be destroyed to create the airport. With a 1,000 foot drop off it’s no wonder the tiny airport can only accommodate 3 flights per hour.
3. Wellington Airport, New Zealand
Who wouldn’t want a beautiful view as they start their descent after a long plane flight? Well, you might change your mind once you see what’s in store for you at Wellington Airport. Surrounded by water and with a tight runway even on the best days it can still be a little hairy. So, make sure you fasten your seat belts ladies and gentlemen!
2. Congonhas Airport, Sao Paulo
It would be hard to find an airport situated in a more densely populated airport than Congonhas. Literally surrounded by thousands of homes and not far from the city centre, when crashes do occur here they are massive. In recent years a plane skidded off the runway, across the street and into a warehouse. Has anyone thought about moving it?
1. Toncontin Aiport, Honduras
Just getting to this runway is tough! Pilot’s must navigate trecheous mountain regions before landing on one of the shortest commercial runway’s in the world. Not only that but people on the ground aren’t much safer either with houses being just out of reach from the mega planes.
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