PanAm747
Topic Author
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Toughest Approach In The World

Sun May 27, 2001 8:19 am

What do you pilots think is the toughest approach in the world? I heard it was DCA River visual approach and the one in Honduras, but does anyone have their pick for the world's toughest approach?

Also are there any "war stories" from commercial and especially the former military pilots.

I.E. "I was coming back to my carrier after another bombing run and all of a sudden I lost all of my hydraulics, and then I saw about a dozen MIGs..."
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
Guest

RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Sun May 27, 2001 8:54 am

I think most airports are not too tough, it becomes tough when you start having problems, like being on fire, engines out, bad weather, ect.
Iain
 
Twotterwrench
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Sun May 27, 2001 11:38 am

Juneau alaska is tough
 
rendezvous
Posts: 531
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Sun May 27, 2001 5:32 pm

Obviously Kai Tak in Hong Kong was tough, check out some of the pictures! But, of course, this is no longer.
 
L-188
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Sun May 27, 2001 5:38 pm

TO SEE THE TOUGHEST APPROACH CLICK HERE!!!


A few notes about the Dutch Harbor Airport.....There is a matching hill behind the aircraft just like the one you can see beyond the runway. From this direction the pattern is a left hand one around the mountain on the left hand side of the runway. This photo was taken by a pilot friend of mine just after he made the 90' turn to final. Decision height...If memory serves is 2200 ft on the approach...Sorry don't have a book here to look up the specifics. Markair used to fly 737-200 into there and Alaska Airlines still does.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
L-188
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Sun May 27, 2001 6:46 pm

If that link doesn't seem to work for you type in....http://www.geocities.com/l_188/DUT.jpg


Sorry for the inconvienice

OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
Blackened
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L-188 - Upload!

Mon May 28, 2001 12:56 am

That picture is amazing. You need to upload it here. If you're not the photographer make the photographer upload it.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
Bring it back, bring it back, bring it back
 
philb
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Mon May 28, 2001 4:36 am

Dutch Harbour apart, how about Kathmandu, Aspen, Pago Pago, Guam, Gibraltar and, on a day with bad weather, the approach over Georgetown into DCA?
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Mon May 28, 2001 6:11 am

How about Courcheval...remember the thread and pics on that a few months ago?

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
PW4084
Posts: 287
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Mon May 28, 2001 6:16 am

PADU [looking the other direction from L-188's beautiful shot]


Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Dan Gasper




 
LZ-TLT
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Mon May 28, 2001 6:41 am

What about Lugano or Sarajevo?
 
chris28_17
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Mon May 28, 2001 6:44 am

i just went to DCA this weekend, we landed rwy 19, it was fun, listening to ATC on approach was fun..'

on the ground, it makes a pretty cool picture with planes turning very short finals right in front of (well, its far away but visually in front of) the wash. monument...

CHRIS
 
gocaps16
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Mon May 28, 2001 7:55 am

Dammit Chris, why'd you go to DCA without telling me.  Smile errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Kevin/DCA
 
frequentflyer5
Posts: 233
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Tue May 29, 2001 1:12 am

I would say Kai Tak is the most challenging from experience. I am sure there are tons more...
 
Guest

RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Tue May 29, 2001 1:57 am

If you are going to talk about challenging airports you really have to consider the approach aids. I wouldnt consider any airport with an ILS to be tough, but one with a step down VOR approach followed by a circle to land within a valley is pretty interesting. (Kathmandu)

Either that or any place where you have to do a single pilot NDB approach!

KaiTak is still loaded in our sim, its fun, but you would be surprised at the number of sim joyriders who can hack it first time, 2 ILS's with lead in strobe lights.

I dont see what the problem is with DCA, even if you mess it up, there is nothing around you to fly into.
 
gocaps16
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Tue May 29, 2001 4:25 am

The problem with the River visual 19 approach at DCA is that you have to manuever the plane without entering P56. Many obsticles like the Washington Monument and the bridges over the Potomac river is to watch out for.

Kevin/DCA
 
A/c train
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Tue May 29, 2001 9:39 am

I flew jumpseat in an B757 into Gibraltar at night and thought that was interesting , Monarch Airlines only let there Fleet Captains fly there, of course the pilots make it look easy!
regards
a/c
 
L-188
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Tue May 29, 2001 3:06 pm

Thanks for the other view Dan....

Now we just need to get a photo of a 737 on that runway.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
PW4084
Posts: 287
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Tue May 29, 2001 4:12 pm

L-188
that's my only shot on this site, had to fit it in somehow!

I've got a few shots of 737s on the ramp, but no spectacular landing shots or anything...

One thing I never did get the chance to see is a Lockheed at Dutch... or a YS-11 for that matter

Dan
(ps now I am joining the usaf so I might not be around for a while, can't wait to get back to AK though)

 
aria
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Tue May 29, 2001 8:56 pm

Sorry Ambasaid

In the airline I work for, you don't have to do a single pilot anything....maybe, a single NDB approach...with lots of help from the support pilot...but, you are right, throw some of those 'newbees' into the sim for a go at the old KaiTak, and it was pretty impressive...until you throw in the old KaiTak winds...with variable crosswinds all through final, plus the inevitable tailwind to low altitude, that MAY decide to turn into a headwind...forget what the tower is reporting, it bears little relationship to reality...thank goodness we fly reference ground speed or, some days, the thing would fall out of the sky
Remember- A Monkey CAN fly an aeroplane.....but, only with considerable and consistent support from someone doing the thinking..

Regards,
Aria
 
aria
Posts: 31
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Tue May 29, 2001 9:19 pm

P.S.

I think Iainhol has summed it up best....the toughest approach we ever do, is when something has gone wrong, badly wrong, with the aeroplane itself....no matter how good the weather, if the aeroplane is broken, & you are low on fuel (something the CEOs & shareholders love, but we hate) everywhere becomes a more difficult airport......by-the-way, where is DCA??
(In old-australian, is was Department of Civil Aviation!)

Aria
 
windshear
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Tue May 29, 2001 10:19 pm

Sønderstrømfjord in Greenland is one of the most demanding approaches in the world, the app. procedure is done between mountains and glaciers, sharp and frequent turns are required for tjhe approach.
At final the pilots see a mountain behind the runway, so braking is crutual, although the mountain isn't located just behind the runway, it sure raises the crews puls a tad:O)

The airport is a former USAF base, it still is, but mainlty it's tourists.
SAS flies to the city two times a week or so, with 767's, so if that's not a challenge then I do not know what it is...
"If you believe breaking is possible, believe in fixing also"-Rebbe Nachman
 
PanAm747
Topic Author
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Wed May 30, 2001 4:23 am

Aria, lainhol, Ambasaid-I'm sure those would be the toughest if you factor in those events.

But I remember Delta737, in a Comair thread saying that River Visual approach at DCA (Washington D.C. Ronald Reagan National) was the toughest, at least among US pilots. But I'm surprised with the other tough ones.

Besides these, wouldn't London and NYC be tough with the traffic?
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
gocaps16
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Wed May 30, 2001 6:01 am

traffic won't be tough on the pilots but tough on the ATC. ATCer hates NYC with al lthe traffics.

Time to go land a Cessna 172 on the river visual 19 approach at DCA around 10pm.  Smile

Kevin/DCA
 
Leej
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Wed May 30, 2001 11:43 pm

I can't believe anyone hasn't mentioned Funchal (Madeira, Portugal). Curved approach lights, short sloped runway, mountains one side, sea the other - the strip was actually created by blowing up the side of a hill! I have flown in here twice - amazing - although you can't experience the short runway now as it has been extended out to see by way of a pontoon on 200ft pylons buried into the sea bed!
 
EGGD
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Thu May 31, 2001 2:44 am

No one has mentioned a small airstrip somewhere in the alps which is definetly the toughest.

I have next to no info on it except that it is located on a mountain and many corporate props land there, you have to twist and turn through the valleys of the alps before doing a nose down onto a runway which, is only about 700ft long and not straight nor flat.

From what i saw from the video the pilot looked like he was going beneath the runway and hit the mountainside, but somehow hit the runway before crashing, then lifting off again over a bump and then finally slowing up a steep hill.

It looked unbelievable!

EGGD
 
zauberfloete
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Thu May 31, 2001 2:53 pm

LFLJ, Courchevel in the french alps is a cool looking airport. You have to see that shots:
http://members.aon.at/~slenz/dash7.html#Courchevel

I think nothing comes close....
 
Guest

RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Thu May 31, 2001 8:48 pm

Among the most difficult approaches: the french island of St-Barthelemy in the Caribeans; Chicago-Midway; St-Moritz in Switzerland;
 
EGGD
Posts: 11880
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Fri Jun 01, 2001 7:40 am

Zauberfloete - That is exactly the airport i was referring to! So maybe i exagerated the length a little but the rest was true. Had no idea that Dash 7's could land there!

I agree about St-Barthelemy too, i saw a crash picture in a magazine a couple of weeks ago from there. The flight was from St.maartens!

EGGD
 
scxmechanic
Posts: 479
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Fri Jun 01, 2001 12:08 pm

What about the Canarsie 13L Appr. at JFK???
 
uvalencia
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Sat Jun 02, 2001 12:46 pm

Although I am not a pilot I have to say that several pilots have told me that Mexico City´s Mateo Five arrival to runway 05 R is quite a demanding approach. This approach is one of the most often used in Mexico City and begins at MATEO (SMO) VOR/DME, by the way this VOR is located barely at 8 NM from the thereshold, the approach begins according to the chart at 11000 ft and requires flying otbound the radial 160 and descend to 8800 ft for then doing a steep left turn to 052° to intercept the ILS, the final leg is only 5 miles, small room for error. This approach is flown directly over Mexico City and with high terrain and even high buildings on both sides of the whole approach, not to mention traffic at peak hours . Even as a passenger you can feel the effort it takes to make a good landing at Mexico City.
 
Guest

RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Sat Jun 02, 2001 10:55 pm

Bottom line is you have to pay attention to ALL of them. Some do demand more "awareness". The toughest Approach is the one you don't walk away from or the one where the Airplane does not fly tomorrow  Smile
 
Western727
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RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Sun Jun 03, 2001 10:44 pm

I understand San Diego is sort of tough.

Also, Hong Kong (Checkerboard) was tough before they closed it.
Jack @ AUS
 
Guest

RE: Toughest Approach In The World

Mon Jun 04, 2001 7:00 am

The toughest approach airport i've flow'n to is Funchal, Portugal (FNC/LPFU), i was really scared when the Finnair MD80 i was flying in was going to land there, i we're sure that we wouldn't stop and would end up in the Atlantic Ocean, well i we're 9yrs old @ that time  Smile
And on the way back we had to make a refueling stop @ Faro, Portugal bcoz the MD80 couldn't take-off from FNC with the fuel needed for our journey to HEL.

Alexander

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