Jumbo jet barrels towards mountain during extreme takeoff
Princess Juliana International Airport annually sees around 2 million travellers pass through its terminal during 60,000 aircraft movements. What makes the airport so extreme and popular amongst aircraft enthusiasts is it's location. At 7,546 feet long, the runway is only 14 feet above see level and the taxiway/runway is only a scant 70 meters from a popular beach on the island.
The airport only has a single runway orientated in an east/west direction. Runway 10 faces the east and is by far one of the most extreme runways in the world. Jumbo jets landing on Runway 10 fly just meters over the beach creating a breath-taking spectacle for onlookers.
Runway 10 is also extreme for another reason - it's takeoffs. Here in this video we watch an American Airlines jet taxiing onto Runway 10 in front of onlookers. Beach goers enjoy lining the beach during takeoffs - many of them getting blown into the sea from the jet wash. Signs on the airport's fence warn beach goers of the dangers of doing so. As the jet engines wind up for take off and the jet starts barrelling down the runway, viewers can quickly see why this is an extreme airport - the mountain at the end of Runway 10!
Pilots have to quickly reach takeoff speed and rotate into a very steep climb in order to safely clear the mountain. It's definitely not a takeoff for the faint of heart!