Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Are you an adrenaline seeker looking for your next hair-raising, spine-tingling adventure?If so, look no further. With the help of an anonymous commercial pilot, dubbed Pilot Anonymous, Airfarewatchdog has put together a list of the world’s most thrilling airports.
So buckle your seatbelt, pass on the $7 snackbox, and get ready for a wild ride!
Queenstown is considered the adventure capital of the world, so it's no surprise that its airport delivers pure excitement. It lies below The Remarkables, a jagged mountain range seen in The Lord of the Rings. On descent, passengers may feel a sudden drop in altitude caused by strong downdrafts. Bird activity by the runway, as well as frequent bad weather and visibility, also make Queenstown Airport a real knee-knocker.
Princess Juliana International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean. Steps from Maho Beach, it only gives pilots a little more than 7,000 feet of running room to land, causing the approach to be exceptionally low. Planes fly mere feet over sunbathers, and passengers feel as though they could reach out and shake their hands. Next time you pass through, be sure to wave.
If you've seen The Proposal, you've seen Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport. Located on the small island of Japonski, its lone runway is almost completely surrounded by water. Unpredictable weather is a constant concern. Pilots must take heed of boulders and other debris that can wash onto the runway during storms, as well as gusty winds.
New York's LaGuardia Airport is busy and short on space. It's bordered by Bowery and Flushing bays, and pilots must contend with crowded skies thanks to nearby JFK and Newark airports. Mere miles from Manhattan, approaching planes appear to skim the skyline. Right before landing, pilots make a number of white-knuckle turns, one of which is 180-degrees around Citi Field.
Nestled 9,000 feet high in the snowcapped Himalayas, Tenzing-Hillary Airport is the gateway to Mount Everest. Its short (1,500-foot) runway slopes up the side of a mountain. Used by locals as a way to get from one side of town to the other, a siren warns of approaching planes. Pilots have one shot to land, as the surrounding terrain rules out a go-around. Perhaps even more gripping is takeoff. Once planes begin speeding downhill, stopping isn't an option. If they aren't airborne before the cliff at the end of the runway, they descend into the void below, leaving those onboard to pray there's enough power to eventually do so.
Barra's airport is the only one in the world where scheduled flights land on a beach. When the windsock is flying, locals are advised to keep their distance from its three runways, which are marked by wooden poles. High tides cover them, so flights must be scheduled accordingly. For bonus chills and thrills, fly in at dusk, when just a few vehicles are used to illuminate the runway.
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