GET ready for a white-knuckled ride at these airports!
From tight turns to extreme winds and proximity to highways and buildings, here are the world’s 10 most thrilling runways, according to travel deal websiteAirfarewatchdog.com.
1. Sea Ice Runway, Antarctica
This icy runway is unpaved and could crack. A few years ago it melted, so flights had to be cancelled. Pilots have been warned to “avoid landing too heavily and try not to sink more than 25 centimetres into the ice”.
The challenging Sea Ice Runway. Picture: Alan R. Light, Flickr Source: Supplied
2. Gibraltar Airport (or North Front Airport), Gibraltar
According to Airfarewatchdog.com, “you might feel like you’re at a railroad crossing when travelling through Gibraltar Airport.” The runway is beside a major highway that leads into Spain.
The Gibraltar Airport, by the highway. Picture: D-Stanley, Flickr Source: Supplied
3. Madeira Airport, Portugal
The short runway forces planes to take a last-minute sharp turn over the high mountains.
Madeira Airport seen from the viewpoint at Pico de Facho. Picture: FutureShape, Flickr Source: Supplied
4. Ketchikan International Airport, Ketchikan, AK
Pouring rain, wind and a short runway close to mountains make this a wild ride.
5. Qamdo Bamda Airport, Tibet
Landings are made tougher at the airport due to the fact it’s located more than 4200 metres above sea level.
Qambo Bamba Airport. Picture: Google Maps Source: Supplied
6. Narsarauq Airport, Greenland
Bad turbulence, 90-degree turns through a fjord and the risk of icebergs nearby make this one tricky.
7. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba Island
Usually, only experienced pilots take on Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport due to the high winds and surrounding mountains.
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport is windy. Picture: Pat Hawks, Flickr Source: Supplied
8. Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong
This airport was so terrifying that it was closed in 1998. Planes were forced to fly very low over Hong Kong in order to reach the landing strip, and had to take a sharp turn to end up on the runway.
Aircraft above Kowloon City shopping centre while waiting to land at Kai Tak Airport. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied
9. Eagle County Regional Airport, Vail, CO
Pilot David Cenciotti told travel SmarterTravel that “poor weather, high approach, and high surrounding terrain make this airport a bit challenging”.
10. Matekane Air Strip, Lesotho
According to Airfarewatchdog.com, “the runway is at the end of a mountainside gully, so instead of taking off into the air like normal flights, planes drop down the side of a the cliff until they start flying”.
Matekane Air Strip is very, very high! Picture: Tom Claytor, Wikicommons Source: Supplied