I’m a bit of a child, so when I hear the loud roar of a plane up above, or the thundering of a helicopter’s blades, I still look up, and if it’s low flying or it’s an usual aircraft (there’s a Chinook that keeps flying past the office every day), I get properly excited.
So have you ever heard of Maho Beach? It’s on St Maarten in the Caribbean, a scenic location that is always popular with cruise tourists. But do you know what makes St Maarten special? Take a look at this video and you’ll soon realise what the fuss is about:
That’s right – the runway for the airport is right behind the beach. It looks like it can’t be real, but it is. You are able to stand (or lie, if you want to feel a bit more safe) on the beach and actually feel the air move as planes soar just a few feet above you as they make their approach for landing. You can even be physically moved by the force of the jet engines, prompting warning signs stating that the blasts can cause severe physical harm.
Despite the proximity of the runway to the beach, there have only been two major accidents, and at least one of those was due to the effects of bad weather. Despite this, Princess Juliana Airport is still ranked as one of the most dangerous in the world.
Of course when you read that your first thought is “What are some of the other most dangerous airports in the world?” There are a few pretty incredible ones, definitely worthy of a full blog post in future, so I promise I’ll write that, but for now let me leave you with a quick look at Gibraltar Airport – with the sea at both ends of the runway, which runs right through the middle of the town, it certainly makes for a heart-pounding landing every time.
By Ian Lewis