Sometimes when we’re sitting comfortably on an airplane, we fail to fully comprehend the sheer amounts of skill and determination it takes to be the pilot of those very planes we so casually use day in and day out. This is a tribute to some of the best (and some of the worst) landings performed by pilots in recent years.
Kai Tak airport – Hong Kong Kai Tak airport
(also known as the Hong Kong International Airport) was the main international airport of Hong Kong for over 70 years until its closure in 1998. The only runway it had stretched out into the harbour, with a high density of buildings and mountains in close proximity, combined with tricky crosswinds, landing at Kai Tak was infamously difficult, as demonstrated by these videos.
Princess Juliana Airport – St Maarten (Dutch Antilles)Princess Juliana International Airport
is the main airport for the Dutch part of St Martin (St Maarten), a tropical island in the northeast Caribbean which is divided between the Dutch and the French. The airport is infamous for its incredibly short runway, which requires pilots to fly extremely low over the heads of tourists on the nearby beach when on their final approach to the runway. The landings were so spectacular, that many have argued over the authenticity of videos and photos taken of planes landing there.
Skiathos airport – Greece
A low-flying jet on approach to the runway at Skiathos
airport on an island in Greece.
Reykjavik airport – Iceland
An Airbus A380
during a test crosswind landing and takeoff at Reykjavik airport
Lisbon airport – Portugal
A pilot attempts to land in poor conditions at Lisbon airport
in Portugal. What he succeeds in doing, however, is successfully scaring the life out of those passengers with window seats near the wings.
Zurich airport – Switzerland
A pilot successfully lands during extreme crosswinds at Zurich airport
. The wind causes the plane to nearly land sideways.
Honduras airport – Honduras
A jet passes closely over the heads of onlookers at an airport in Honduras
These two are both faked landings. The first was allegedly an experiment into the dissemination of information throughout the internet (i.e. the creators wanted to see how quickly it would spread), whilst the second was for a television commercial. They still look quite awesome, though.
Both of these next pilots think that it’d be a great idea to see who could bounce the most upon landing on the runway.
Someone manages to total a Grumman Goose
by attempting to land in some rather shallow water in front of some rather nonchalant spectators.
This clip is of a skilled pilot landing on the world’s shortest runway.