Only 24 pilots can land at the world's most challenging airport

Written by Henrik Rothen

Aug.29 - 2023 11:27 AM CET

Photo: Youtube
Photo: Youtube
Only 24 pilots can land at the world's most challenging airport

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Flying is often a nerve-wracking experience for many, and the landing phase is usually the most daunting part. However, Paro Airport in Bhutan takes the challenge to a whole new level.

With more than 100 hazards to consider during the approach, this airport is not for the faint-hearted. In fact, only around 24 pilots are certified to land here.

Paro Airport is surrounded by complex geography, making it one of the most difficult airports for pilots to approach. Unlike other airports, which have technological aids to assist pilots during landing, Paro Airport relies solely on the pilot's eyesight.

Pilots must navigate through mountains and use predetermined landmarks to guide their approach. The runway is also notably short, adding another layer of difficulty.

The landing at Paro Airport is so intricate that pilots must maintain specific speeds and altitudes at various points during the approach.

The final turn is made just 30 seconds before the aircraft's tires touch the runway. This leaves no room for error, especially considering these are twin-engine jetliners, not small, agile planes.

Strict Requirements for Pilots

Given the complexities, only pilots who have undergone rigorous training are allowed to attempt a landing at Paro. The training involves simulations and multiple successful take-offs and landings at the airport. Even then, landings are only permitted under nearly perfect conditions.

Night landings, poor visibility, and turbulent weather are all deal-breakers.

Footage of landings at Paro Airport reveals the intricate maneuvers pilots must execute.

The approach involves a series of dazzling twists and turns, making it a spectacle to witness. To be certified to land at Paro, pilots must pass stringent tests, making it an elite club of aviators capable of handling one of the world's most challenging runways.

So, if you thought your last landing was nerve-wracking, consider what it takes to land at Paro Airport in Bhutan. It's not just another landing; it's an aviation feat.

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