Mountaineering & Expeditions

Everest Might Be The Highest Mountain In The World, But You Probably Didn’t Realise How Terrifying Its Airport Is…

Definitely not one for nervous flyers

How brave are you when flying? Ask most people about their flying experience, and most will say that most of all,  they dislike the take off, as well as the return back to the runway.

Whether it be because of turbulence, a long descent, or simply just a phobia, the beginning and end of a flight is no one’s favourite few minutes.

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When visiting Lukla Airport in Nepal however, you are allowed to be a little more nervous, as this bit is far more worrying than usual.

Because of its unusually dangerous set up, the single landing strip in the town of Lukla, in Khumbu, eastern Nepal, and has been named as the most dangerous airport in the world.

The airport, which is regularly used as a quick route to the Everest district, has a insanely tiny runway at 1,729 feet long, a whole 5 times shorter than JFK’s shortest runway.

What makes this runway even more terrifying, is that the camouflaged tarmac strip is at a height of 9,100 feet in the mountains, meaning that planes do not have the usual length of descent, before making their landing.

The plane will plunge down straight towards the 2,000ft drop

Once landed, the pilot has a tiny distance in which to slow down, before making a hairpin turn before they reach the stone wall ahead.

Even more than this, the runway is also at a gradient of 12 per cent, meaning that on take off, the plane will plunge down straight towards the 2,000ft drop!

As expected, the runway often has accidents, in the five years following 2008 the runway is thought have caused various crashes, and taken 33 passengers lives.

Despite the risks however, Lukla is Nepal’s busiest domestic airport, as for trekkers intent on seeing Mt. Everest, not flying here means a five day trek towards the mountain.

Thinking of climbing Everest in the near future? Make sure you take a look at your travel plans and decide whether you want to start the adventure on the plane, or take a hike instead…

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