Topic Author
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Is This Really Possible

Tue Aug 17, 1999 5:02 am

In browsing the pictures on, I came accross a KLM Boeing 747-300 crossing not more then 30 feet above a beach (Photo ID's are 43329 and 43330). Did this really happen, or was it computer generated. I will try and post them below, but if it doesn't work, I gave you the Id's above.

Andrew (aka Aircanada)

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RE: Is This Really Possible

Tue Aug 17, 1999 5:12 am

Here are the pictures.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Gabriel Jerusalmi


Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Gabriel Jerusalmi

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RE: Is This Really Possible

Tue Aug 17, 1999 5:18 am

This is no photo manipulation. I have flown into St. Maarten and wondered aloud if we'd land on the beach. The short runway begins immediately across the street from this beach, so widebodies from Europe need a tight landing to make it. Heck of a spotting site.
Free-thinking, left-leaning secularist
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RE: Is This Really Possible

Tue Aug 17, 1999 5:22 am

I had my doubts about the first, since the plane looks like its flying through the trees, however, that is probably due to the angle that the shot was taken. Boeing757/767 is right. The runway is really that close to the beach, and so you'll see planes coming in right over the beach. I think a photo of an Air France 747 landing at St. Maarten won something in Aviation Week and Space Technology's contests, before.
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RE: Is This Really Possible

Tue Aug 17, 1999 7:43 am

I bet here in the USA you'd never have a runway built like that due to all the FAA rules and zoning laws our country has.
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens

RE: Bruce

Tue Aug 17, 1999 7:48 am

Go to Gravelly Point Park in Northern Virginia, at the end of DCA Rwy 36. They'll be so close you could almost touch 'em.

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I've Been There (Gravelly Point)

Tue Aug 17, 1999 10:57 am

As United 946 said, it is amazing. I go there several times a year because I live in Arlington VA, 5 or 6 miles from DCA. You'll most likely see 737's, 727's and MD-80's, but when their less than 100 feet overhead, it is really awesome (you're just a few feet from the runway. You can see where people have jumped the fence to get a closer look). The approach to the runway looks difficult too, because you see the planes making sharp turns on the final approach ( many aborted landings), and no ILS. If you're ever in the Washington DC area, go to Gravelly Point!
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RE: I've Been There (Gravelly Point)

Tue Aug 17, 1999 11:16 am

Actually Princess Juliana Airport in St Maarten is built according to ICAO specifications, which is probably more stringent then the FAR's.
If you think the arrival is scary, line up on runway 09 and you'll see a 2500 foot hill ( actually several) staring you right in the face.
I fly regularly into St Maarten and we either take off from the other side -in spite of tail winds- or follow the strict flight techniques for a runway 09 departure.

Topic Author
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RE: Is This Really Possible

Tue Aug 17, 1999 1:27 pm

Thanks for all of your responses! but, do any of you have any pictures of these approaches so close to you, or know where i could find them??

Andrew (aka Aircanada)
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RE: Is This Really Possible

Wed Aug 18, 1999 5:53 am

At Greensboro, you can get to almost the end of 14. I don't know exactly how far you are (it is on a high slightly about the road, so you cannot see the actual threshold), but it can't be more than a hundred feet or so.

Also, at the GA airport near my house in Denver, you can get to within 50ft of the threshold, close enough to use a 50mm lens and still be able to see the pilots smiling   It is somewhat scary though, skydiving aircraft do very steep decents and sometimes you are looking at the top of the wing when they are on approach, pointed right at you!
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I'd Love To See Video Footage

Wed Aug 18, 1999 6:36 am

Hi all

We have all seen photos taken here, but I would LOVE to see some video footage.

Anyone know if available anywhere?

Gary Watt
Aberdeen, Scotland
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I Posted These Before, But Here They Are Again.

Wed Aug 18, 1999 6:47 am

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Roger Cannegieter

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Nathaniel Felsher

An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised
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RE: Gravelly Point

Sun Aug 22, 1999 2:02 pm

Gravelly Point is a fabulous spotting location for National Airport. However, the post stating there are many aborted landings is incorrect. Also, that particular runway uses an IDA (instrument directional approach), which basically is a bent beam. Therefore, instrument approaches ARE possible, though the vertical minimums are higher than standard.
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RE: Is This Really Possible

Sun Aug 22, 1999 8:28 pm

This looks amazing!

But I wonder if you are sunbathing there - one landing and all the sand sticks to your suncreamed skin - what a mess!

So, how busy is the traffic at St.Maarten?

RE: Is This Really Possible

Sun Aug 22, 1999 11:13 pm

That's probably a neud beach, right?

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RE: Is This Really Possible

Mon Aug 23, 1999 1:53 am

come on, JWM....this is NOT an aviation-related stuff  

I seriously think I just creamed my pants without any influence from any outside variables.
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Put On Your Goggles, Spotters

Mon Aug 23, 1999 10:31 am

I was reading a travel brochure on St.Maarten and they mentioned this beach in particular. Supposedly there is a sign warning bathers to turn their back to the runway when a plane is making a landing so as to avoid eye injury from any flying pebbles and sand thrown out by the jet wash. Close enough for you?
An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised
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RE: Is This Really Possible

Fri Sep 17, 1999 10:19 am

Is the 7000-ft runway at SXM the shortest that regularly gets 747's?
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Kai Tak Up Close And Personal

Fri Sep 17, 1999 2:54 pm

Everybody has to admit that Kai Tak's IGS is much more eye popping than this...
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RE: Is This Really Possible

Sat Sep 18, 1999 1:26 am

What an amazing approach pattern at St. Maarten! It looks like the planes will actually touch down right on the beach. Makes me want to go there just for the thrill of being right under a huge plane as it lands. North Island Naval Air Station at Coronado, CA has a similar approach pattern - the planes come in right over the beach at a pretty low altitude. It was fun when I was a kid, growing up there, to watch the planes approach over the water and fly right over the beach. The most amazing aircraft to come in to North Island is the C5 Galaxy - a huge military cargo transport. President Clinton flew into North Island as well a few years back - standing on the beach that night, I could feel the vortices from the wingtips of Air Force One after it passed over. Another amazing approach is to Sochi - Adler Airport in Sochi, Russia, located on the Black Sea. The Ilyushin IL86 I was in (Aeroflot, of course) made a hairpin turn out over the ocean (looking out the window, I was looking STRAIGHT down at the water!) and flew in low over the beach to land on the runway. The planes take off in the opposite direction. And Russian jetliners are LOUD. I can't imagine sunbathing and having one go right overhead at full throttle.

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