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The Most Dangerous Airport in the World is Lukla Airport

Himal Ghale
The Most Dangerous Airport in the World is Lukla Airport

The Most Dangerous Airport in the World is Lukla Airport

There is an airport in Nepal known as Tenzing-Hillary Airport. 

Mount Everest has claimed more than 300 lives, and thousands more have been injured. However, the dangers begin long before trekkers reach base camp. Most hikers reach the area by flying to Lukla, a tiny Himalayan settlement 9,383 feet above sea level.

As the alternatives all involve several days of trekking, hikers are transported every day between Kathmandu and Lukla by multiple flights. It may only take 25-30 minutes to fly between the two airports, but the two are as different as night and day.

As can be seen on this list of dangerous airports in Europe, airports can be challenging for pilots for a variety of reasons. In some cases, this is due to the short runway, as is the case on many Greek islands. Wind shear is prevalent in areas such as Gibraltar, while the mountainous terrain surrounding airports such as Innsbruck creates obvious hazards. High-altitude airports present a danger due to the effects of low air pressure on plane handling.

It is not just one, but all of these dangers that exist at Tenzin-Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal.

Despite being far from being the world's highest civilian airport - that honour goes to Daocheng Yading Airport in China's Sichuan province - Lukla's altitude is still enough to cause pilots problems.

There is steep, mountainous terrain surrounding the airport on all sides. Located on a mountain shelf, the runway is just a few feet long. There is a steep drop into the valley below at one end and a wall at the other.

In these altitudes, air density is considerably lower than at sea level, which reduces the power generated by aircraft engines, resulting in reduced lift. As a result of the reduction in air resistance, reducing the plane's speed is also more challenging. The longer the runway, the better the performance at high altitudes.

At just 1,729 feet long, the runway at Lukla airport is extremely short for pilots landing there. It is not uncommon for airport runways to exceed 10,000 feet in length at many international airports around the world. In order to assist planes in slowing down in time, Lukla's runway slopes uphill with a gradient of almost 12%.

Because of the surrounding mountains, there are no go-around procedures in case of a missed approach. A plane must touch down once it begins its approach. Because of these factors, only helicopters and small fixed-wing propeller planes are permitted to land at the airport.

There is a high degree of unpredictability in the Himalayan weather. There is always the possibility of sudden mist, fog, rainstorms, or snow. Although Lukla is only a short distance and flight time from Kathmandu, the weather there is often completely different, and frequently changes while the plane is in transit.

During such circumstances, planes turn around and return to Kathmandu. As a result of the frequent cloud cover in the afternoons, most flights are scheduled for the early hours of the morning. It is not uncommon for Lukla flights to be cancelled.

At Lukla, there have been accidents

Pilots perceive some airports as challenging or even dangerous, but they have an exemplary safety record. In contrast, Lukla has experienced more than ten incidents since the beginning of the year. Some of the more recent incidents have even been captured on video.

In 2008, Yeti Airlines Flight 103 crashed into the mountain a few feet below the runway start losing visual contact in heavy fog during the final approach but attempted a visual landing nevertheless. There were 16 passengers and two members of the crew on board. Only the pilot survived.

Pilots are now held to high standards by Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority. In order to land at Lukla, pilots must have completed 100 short-takeoff and landing flights, have at least one year's experience in Nepal and have completed ten flights with a certified instructor.

there also you could hire a guide and porter for your trekking to Everest base camp or the Gokyo lake area from the airport led by the Nepal wilderness trekking local agency.

An assessment of the feasibility of extending the runway is in progress, although the extension would be limited to 100 feet. Additionally, a new helipad is being built to increase passenger capacity.

Himal Ghale
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