I really like it there in St Maarten. I remember as a child we would go there every 2 years or so, and all we wanted to do was go to that beach. I remember getting goosebumps every time a plane flew over. The most hairraising experience however was trying to stay upright whenever a jet would takeoff. I remember vividly a guy with phone and sunglasses standing right behind the fence on the other side of the street.(The edge of the beach) Me and my brother were also at the edge. The closest you could get without being runover by a car. Well one of our company's MD-82's taxied up for takeoff. For some or other reason the MD-80's were "deadlier" then many, probably because of the exhaust direction. Our company has very strict policies concerning TO from this runway and this MD-80 was probably making a standing TO with full power.
We were about 12 and 14 back then.
As the engine sped up, we could see the guy tryin' to fight it. We were hiding behind a big white rock. Even so we were getting sand blasted. We looked over at the guy, now without a phone or glasses lying flat on the ground !! My brother couldn't take any more of the sandblasting and decided to make a run for the water. He later told me he only took two steps to get there. The beach was 12-15 feet away !!! As the jet sped away and the blasting died down, I looked up and smelled the exhaust of the JT8-D's together with some sand still hitting me in the face. I got goosebumps, the chills and teary eyed all at once from all the excitement.
Now I'm 22 and I'm the one flying the appraoch and TO's. I can't wait to spend some time there just so I can go back to that beach. Whenever a plane lands or takes off, I'll probably still have the same feelings.
As for that guy.... We later found out he lost his sunglasses and his phone was lying just short of the water.
We also were witness to a small utility truck almost getting on two wheels after playing chicken with the engines of a KLM 747. I swear I thought that truckie was gonna turn over !!!
It's soooo great flying here in the Caribbean. I like my job now cause I'm still a rookie (900 hours) but get lots of hours flying the Dash 8-311 and also can get an upgrade to the MD-82 and hopefully the MD-11 or B767 without ever changing airlines or looking for new jobs.
I'm one of the lucky ones !!!!!