Lukla Airport , Nepal
Nepal’s Lukla Airport is located in the heart of the Himalayas. Positioned at a staggering 9000 feet, this is one of the highest airports in the world. Adventure-seeking travelers must brave Lukla Airport before an attempt to climb Mount Everest, as it’s the only airport that serves the area.
The short runway ends with a dramatic 2000 foot drop into the valley below and one end of the runway slopes upwards at a gradient of 12 degrees to help planes to stop. This means that if pilots calculate their landing just slightly wrong, the nose of the plane could hit the upwards slope or the whole aircraft could end up crashing down into the valley. To make it worse, the high altitude and extreme weather cause further challenges for pilots. In the mornings, it’s clear but turbulent. Then, in the afternoons, it becomes cloudy and visibility is compromised.
Touching down at Lukla is a perilous undertaking. The airport has a perfect storm of hazards, so it’s no wonder that it’s famous for being one of the most dangerous airports in the world. There are strict regulations as to who is allowed to fly here and inexperienced pilots must be accompanied to avoid disaster.