crberkley
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 3:54 pm

St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 5:05 am

I have seen all of the amazing pictures of flights into SXM, but I still can not gauge the height above the beach before the runway. Is the runway shorter there, so they have to use every inch of space? From pictures, it seems like an incredibly low approach. Or are the pilots trying to give their passengers a great view??

 Smile
 
SlamClick
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Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 6:03 am

Runway 09 at TNCM/SXM is 7070' (2155m) long which is adequate but not extravagant for the planes that land there. However, it does have a PAPI at a 3-degree angle which we are bound to honor. In case of a rejected landing, there are obstacles (hills to 1122' on extended centerline) just east of the airport and the missed approach or go-around involves a hefty right turn out through the gap in the hills.

As best I can judge, from the first brick of the runway it is about 600' to the road and maybe 800' to the water's edge. As there is 6742' remaining from the displaced threshold, not all the runway is usable for landing.

On that 3 degree glideslope I'd expect to be maybe 70 feet above the ground crossing the road. However, since the approach area does not offer any obstacles and the runway is pretty short and the missed approach area is rather demanding a lot of arriving pilots would like to be on the lower side of the height range when crossing the fence.

Being a hand-flown visual approach there is some variance here. Maybe 80% of the arrivals would be within 10% of that height. An occasional one will be high and now and then someone is low. There are pictures up here where the plane is clearly "too low" but as long as they did not hit a car or snag the fence it is kind of ignored.

BTW the height I speak of is radar altimeter set to read clearance from the main gear to the surface.

There were other runway headings to which it could have been aligned before all the surrounding area was built up, but the runway aligns very well with the tradewinds that blow in off the Atlantic most of the year.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
crberkley
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Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 3:54 pm

RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 6:11 am

thanks slamclick, since i have not travelled there as of yet, your response definitely sheds light on my question..thank you
 
Espion007
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RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 6:56 am

Slam maybe right, But my theory is that the pilots are just trying to get quick views of topless swimmers (the beach is/was a topless beach). I heard somewhere it was closed because of the planes,but i doubt it. I remember seeing an amusing photo on A.net showing 4 people in the cockpit looking to the right at SXM right before the runway  Big thumbs up
Snakes on a Plane!
 
panaman
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RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 7:03 am

The beach is open, never was closed.

Some planes do go low, Air France (AKA in sxm as Air Fence,because of the low approaches) can be really low. Corsair seems to get lower and lower every year. most of the props are kinda high really but its a fun area I suggest everyone stop down there at least once.
Sorry I moved from SXM, looking for a new house on Anguilla now!
 
Dazed767
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RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 7:26 am


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Justin Cederholm
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Justin Cederholm



The first photo, I'll take a good guess and say it was around 40 feet above the water. In the second photo you can see my friend Chris ducking or being blown over. The plane's main gear smacked right down on the numbers on the runway, quite incredible.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Art Brett


This one is just frightening  Wow!

Justin
 
SlamClick
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RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 10:26 am

Espion007

Thanks a lot for mentioning the topless beachies. My wife sometimes reads this forum and she thinks I work real hard and don't have any fun while I'm away. Truth is, though, being too low requires too much attention to fly the plane. The sightseeing might be better on the normal glideslope. Of course it might be that we never once glance to the left or right.

In all seriousness, though, the lower the plane is, the more likely the shot is to be uploaded. These pics are not really representative of SXM. It is always good, but these are frightening!
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
airxliban
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RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 10:33 am

as far as getting to SXM from North America, I am right in saying that it will probably be quite expensive?

AA flies from Miami, JFK and San Juan I think, perhaps others, and tickets seem to be around 340 at the very least.

are there any inexpensive ways to get to SXM? Other than swimming of course.
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
iflyatldl
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RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 11:19 am

I have flown in there- Paradise indeed! The runway isn't that short and yes it IS a working semi- nude beach! Ya gotta go to the French side for the "TOTAL" experience.  Big thumbs up Piedmontgirl's gonna think I'm a bad person!
Ah, Summer, Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox and Beer.....
 
Dazed767
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RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 12:34 pm

Those prices are not bad, I remember right before 9/11, the cheapest fare you could find was like $900 R/T to SXM (maybe because it was around the summer time too).

Justin
 
Tiger119
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Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 1:52 pm

RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 12:56 pm

Where can I find more photos of this approach? I have seen some pictures of that place, pretty amazing. The problem I have thought of though, is that with that thin beach, the time over target would be minimal!
Flying is the second greatest thrill known to mankind, landing is the first!
 
maiznblu_757
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RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 2:23 pm

The DC3 pictured above is clearly an illusion. It looks like it is a wide angle lens.

There is a story on the net of an Air France 747 pilot clipping the fence and taking it down the runway with him. He was fired... The 2nd time he did it.
 
longhaulheavy
Posts: 376
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2003 1:52 am

RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 2:39 pm

Yeah, SXM from North America is not cheap. It still boggles my mind that the Caribbean has fares that sometimes double the North America to Europe prices.
 
Guest

RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 10:30 pm

Always great to see the pix.
But what I want to know? is the following picture the same airport all these planes are landing?
I think it can't be cause runway is much to short.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Sam Chui

 
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airkas1
Crew
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RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 10:42 pm

I was there once when an AF 747 was landing. You aren't safe from the sand anywhere, not even in the water.

Stefandotde,

Yes, it's the same airport.
Airliners.net Crew - Head Photo Screener
 
Guest

RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Thu Dec 25, 2003 10:44 pm

Thanks @ AirKas1
Know how many meters runway has?
And where is terminal? left or right hand side?
 
nudelhirsch
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RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Fri Dec 26, 2003 12:07 am

Awesome runway shot!
Is the runway used for landings from both directions? Are the ships cleared away when a plane comes in?
Looks even more frightening when a 747 comes in low over the sails...
Putana da Seatbeltz!
 
SlamClick
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Fri Dec 26, 2003 12:47 am

Sam Chui's picture is great. (as usual) Never see this angle. It is looking at runway 27. I have never seen, and never even heard a credible report of a jet airliner landing in this direction. The tradewinds simply blow in from the east day and night, year in, year out. Wind always favors runway 09. The dependable winds are probably the reason why they laid out the runway like this in the first place.

With 747's and A340's using it, you'd expect a big terminal building. Not so. Tiny. They use outside boarding stairs, even in rainshowers and the pax walk several wingspans to the little building. In Sam's photo the terminal is below the control tower which is just below the big hotel on the hilltop in the distance on the right side.

StefanDotDe: The runway is 2155 meters. The "aiming markers" the white rectangles on each side of the centerline are just over 300 meters past the beginning of the runway and we are supposed to aim our 3-degree descent to this point. It has the effect of shortening the runway available to us, but keeping our wheels out of the trees and fences.

The famous beach is at the far end in this view. In my opinion, the DC-3 is not all that low. It is a small airplane with a very long wingspan. Think it just looks lower than it is. Being a recip, and having such low wing loading, it could begin a climb instantly, unlike the jumbos where Sir Isaac Newton is the real pilot in command. (meaning they are committed to the descent until hundreds of feet past the point where they make the decision.)


Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
Dazed767
Posts: 4967
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 11:55 am

RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Fri Dec 26, 2003 1:41 am

I saw a few props landing on rwy 27, I don't think anything bigger than a small prop could do it though.
 
navairjax
Posts: 478
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RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Sun Dec 28, 2003 4:10 pm

Look closely at the right hand side and you will see a yellow roofed building which is the terminal.
 
jhooper
Posts: 5560
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 8:27 pm

RE: St. Maarten - Princess Juliana (SXM

Sun Dec 28, 2003 5:08 pm

I really want to go to SXM, but Im kinda afraid of what to tell the immigration officials when I get there. "I'm here by myself to watch commercial airplanes landing at the airport. "

Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.