There’s been a lot of coverage of landings at St Maarten airfield, where mega-jets skim the beach during final approach to the short runway.
To which I say ptooey. If you want a place for regular dodgy landings and hairy takeoffs the place to go is my city, Wellington, New Zealand.
Back in the late 1920s, the local council asked Kingsford Smith where to put an airport. ‘Anywhere except Rongotai,’ he said. But club flying was already under way there and that’s where it went. That means, today, a short runway that can’t handle some aircraft.
The other problem is Wellington’s diabolical winds. They say you can’t beat Wellington on a good day. True, sort of. But a bad one has to be experienced to be believed.
I’ve had landings there where the aircraft’s scorched down the runway canted up on the port-side wheels before banging down and screeching to a halt (the pilot and co-pilot came out of the cockpit and personally thanked and greeted customers as they disembarked…)
I’ve had landings that have skidded and slewed down the runway before aborting and climbing back up for another go. I’ve had takeoffs where the aircraft’s immediately hit a downdraft seconds after getting airborne. I know people who’ve been in aborted landings where the pilot’s turned around and flown straight back to Auckland again.
Check this out (watch for the 737-300 go-around at 3:16 especially):
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016