There are probably tens of thousands of airports around the world (and if you count improvised landing strips, you could probably say that there are hundreds of thousands of “airports”) with some being more difficult to land at than others for a variety of reasons. For example, the Winged Victory Women in Aviation blog has recently pointed out how difficult it is to land at the Mangalore International Airport in India while the Wikipedia entry for the airport noted that:
The airport is located on top of a hill, with the runway landing approaches leading up to the extreme edges of the hill sides and thus called a table top runway. Only two other airports in India have table top runways – Kozhikode and Lengpui. The edges of the hill dropping into the valley from a height of about 90 m (300 ft) to 9 m (30 ft)) within a short distance of just 500 m (1,600 ft) on the east side of the runway and from about 83 m (272 ft) to 25 m (82 ft) on the western side. An additional disadvantage was that the runway was not level, with the height varying from 90 m (300 ft) to 83 m (272 ft) from east to west. Landing on this short runway at this airport was considered difficult
Already, two passenger jets have overshot the runway with one accident last May leading to the lost of 158 lives.
Then of course there was Hong Kong’s old Kai Tak airport which was shut down in 1998. According to a recent post on the Bangalore Aviation Blog (which also included a couple of great videos), a landing approach would require a “checkboard turn” with no room for error and then pilots often faced strong cross winds as they neared the runway.
Finally, there is the Toncontín International Airport serving Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. According to Wikipedia, the airport’s single runway is 2,163 meters (7,096 feet) in length and its at an altitude of 1,004 meters (3,294 feet) – making it one of the shortest international runways in the world. Late last year, we had posted a video of a very risky looking landing at the airport as aircraft are forced to make a hairpin turn before landing on the very short runway.
However, the above mentioned airports are or were all large international or regional airports where most flights would be passenger or cargo flights. Hence, we would like to ask our readers: What is the most difficult or dangerous airport that you have ever landed at and why?