1. Madeira, Portugal
Those who went on vacation to Madeira probably know that the stunning island is notorious for difficult landings. Moreover, sometimes there are no landings at all. That’s because the airport’s proximity to high terrain means wind shear and turbulence—sometimes extreme—on the final approach.
The whole landing area is tucked between the sea and mountains. The runway at the airport’s special construction, with high columns raising it off the ground, can end up creating additional turbulent air. Interestingly, Funchal has built an observation deck next to the runway for visitors to watch the planes land.
2. Saint Martin
You don’t have to be an aviation geek to have watched videos on YouTube of jets landing at Sint Maarten. If you’re on social media, you’ve most likely seen footage of planes landing at the Caribbean airport.
What’s unique about this airport is that its runway backs straight onto a beach, which means that planes come in to land pretty close to the ground. It’s definitely something you don’t get to see every day, so people are always quick to take out their phones to immortalize the moment.
Although it may seem fun, it’s actually dangerous stuff. For instance, in 2017, a woman was killed by a plane engine blast as she was stubbornly hanging onto the airport fence.
For those on board, taking off is a bit scarier than landing since you head right for the mountain.