If flying gives you the creeps and makes your skin crawl, then maybe this article will be too thrilling for you, because in it, we will be looking at the world’s spookiest airport.
Lukla, arguably the world’s most dangerous airport, is just forty minutes away from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu.
So, if you are planning to scale the world’s highest mountain, Everest, you should first survive the landing at Lukla. The idea of building an airport in Kathmandu was that of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first climber confirmed to have reached Everest’s summit.
Lukla’s only runway was renovated in 2001, that is more than seventeen years ago to date. But that’s not a problem. The problem is its length of just 527 meters. It is accepted that a runway should be at least 1,820 meters long, so as to be certified safe for most aircraft.
Of course, if you boast a private Harrier, landing at Lukla will be a piece of cake, but for the average civil aviation pilot, its short runway is a nightmare. To make matters worse, the Lukla airport perches at 2,896 meters. This means that the pilot must land at a higher speed on the airport’s breathtakingly short airstrip.
On top of that, if you miss your first chance to land at Lukla, the airport’s harsh, jagged surroundings make it very difficult for the pilot to maneuver the aircraft for a second attempt. As for take-off, that side of the runway ends at the edge of a steep cliff, so the pilot needs to use more fuel in order to reach V1 on time for a safe liftoff.