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Airports where thrill-seekers watch passenger jets coming in to land just over their heads

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Heart-stopping footage of a Wizz Air passenger jet soaring just yards over tourists’ heads showed just how close thrill-seeking plane spotters are willing to get to the motion.

Uploaded last week, the footage was captured by a jet enthusiast positioned to look at planes touching down on Greece’s Skiathos island, which has develop into a preferred destination for plane spotters.

Measuring only a mile in length and built yards from the ocean, Skiathos Airport’s landing strip is especially short, meaning pilots must are available to land far lower than they’d on other runways.

But even the seasoned plane spotters appeared shocked because the Airbus jet barrelled towards the tarmac and narrowly cleared the airport’s perimeter fence, even knocking some spectators backwards in the method.

Skiathos just isn’t the one destination for plane spotters wanting to experience the joys of getting near the underside of a giant passenger jet because it is available in to land. The Greek airport has been dubbed the European Saint Martin – an island within the Caribbean which can also be famous for its huge low-landing planes.

Arrecife airport in Lanzarote – one other island runway – is one other popular spot. Meanwhile, authorities in Thailand have even warned tourists they face severe punishment for taking selfies as planes are available to land at Phuket International Airport, saying that doing so can prove a distraction to pilots.

Skiathos Alexandros Papadiamantis Airport

The video of the Wizz Air landing opens by showing the plane in the space cruising towards the Skiathos Alexandros Papadiamantis Airport over the turquoise Mediterranean waters.

Several persons are shown to have gathered on the beach and a road that runs along a narrow little bit of land between the ocean and the runway. Because the Wizz Air-operated Airbus A321neo approaches, nevertheless, it is evident that the pilot is bringing it in at a low altitude. One onlooker even begins to maneuver out of the way in which in anticipation of a low landing.

Because it narrowly clears the perimeter fence, it’s so low that it kicks up dust and sand into the air and ruffles the hair of 1 man who’s seen within the footage flinching. A lady is even seen being knocked backwards. 

Heart-stopping footage (pictured) of a Wizz Air passenger jet soaring just yards over tourists’ heads showed just how close thrill-seeking plane spotters are willing to get to the motion

The airport’s runway measures at 5,341-foot (1,628 meters), putting it within the ‘short and narrow’ category of runways. The short landing strip runs north-to-south and from coast-to-cast, meaning pilots must approach as little as possible as a way to give themselves enough runway to land on and are available to a stop.

Watching the planes from the tip of the runway just isn’t without its risks. Last month, a 61-year-old British woman was knocked over backwards when she and a gaggle of tourists gathered to look at a plane take off.

Princess Juliana international airport, Saint Martin

Skiathos’ has been dubbed the European Saint Martin – an island within the Caribbean which can also be famous for its low-landing planes – with quite a few videos showing huge Boeing 747 passenger jets touching down on the runway.

Like Skiathos, the Caribbean airport has a brief runway – of just 1.4 miles – forcing planes to approach at low altitude. Spectators will often gather on the island’s Maho Beach, a stretch of golden sand that separates the airport’s runway and the stunning blue Caribbean sea.

Skiathos has been dubbed the European St Maarten - an island in the Caribbean which is also famous for its low-landing planes (pictured). Plane spotting is a popular activity at the island's Princess Juliana international airport but it can also be dangerous. In 2017, a woman was thrown to her death after a low flying plane blew her off her feet

Skiathos has been dubbed the European St Maarten – an island within the Caribbean which can also be famous for its low-landing planes (pictured). Plane spotting is a preferred activity on the island’s Princess Juliana international airport but it will probably even be dangerous. In 2017, a girl was thrown to her death after a low flying plane blew her off her feet

But while plane spotting is a preferred activity on the island’s Princess Juliana international airport, it will probably even be dangerous. In 2017, a girl was thrown to her death after a low flying plane blew her off her feet on take-off.

The Recent Zealand woman was holding onto the fence when she was blown from her feet before hitting her head on the rocks and suffering fatal injuries.

Tourists visiting the picturesque beach often climb up onto rocks to look at planes come into land, despite signs specifically warning against the danger.

Police on the Dutch territory make every day visits to the beach to warn tourists of the risks. The airport was previously named one among the world’s most dangerous by the History Channel programme Most Extreme Airports.

Phuket International Airport, Thailand

Tourists are also known to collect at Phuket International Airport in Thailand.

As with the others, Phuket’s runway is just separated from the ocean by a picturesque beach, meaning people often gather on the golden sands or stand within the ocean to look at planes fly overhead.

Photographs from the beach show tourists often pose as jets soar in to land, capturing spectacular shots of the underside of passenger planes within the stunning island setting.  

Nonetheless, in 2019, Thai aviation authorities threatened tourists with the death penalty for taking selfies on the beach next to the Phuket airport, saying that doing so ran the danger of distracting pilots coming in to land.

They said the punishment was in-line with other offences, comparable to shining laser pointers at planes as they are available to land, which runs the danger of impairing a pilot’s vision. 

Pictured: People gather on a beach to look at a low-landing plane in Phuket, Thailand

Arrecife airport, Lanzarote

One other airport known for its low landings is Arrecife airport on the Spanish Canary Island of Lanzarote.

As with Skiathos Alexandros Papadiamantis Airport and Saint Martin’s Princess Juliana international airport, Arrecife is built near the ocean, with the tip of the runway almost meeting the ocean.

Tourists will often gather on the rocks near the beach – Playa Honda – and next to the road that runs past, and take pictures as passenger jets approach.

While pilots don’t typically bring their aircraft in as little as in Skiathos and Saint Martin, the airport still offers enthusiasts the chance to get right under the jets as they land and take off over the ocean.

Pictured: People take selfies as a plane comes in to land at Arrecife airport on the Spanish island of Lanzarote, July 2022

Pictured: People take selfies as a plane is available in to land at Arrecife airport on the Spanish island of Lanzarote, July 2022

The recognition of plane spotting got here to the fore in Britain in early 2022 when livestreaming platform Big Jet TV captured passenger aircraft landing at London’s Heathrow airport in heavy winds during storm Eunice. 

Jerry Dyer’s Big Jet TV had greater than 200,000 viewers spending greater than six hours watching stomach-churning footage of airliners touching down almost sideways at Britain’s busiest airport in 120mph gusts.

In a single shocking clip, a plane almost flipped after making its approach in strong winds which forced the ‘touch and go’ stunt, meaning the pilot needed to take off again and re-approach for a second attempt. Witnesses claim paint dust might be seen coming off the tail of the plane because it hit the bottom in the course of the shaky landing attempt.

One other airport famous for its precarious landings is the Tenzing Hillary Airport in Nepal. The runway is built near the sting of a cliff, meaning pilots haven’t any room for error when coming in to land. 

Close shave: This is the shocking moment a pilot struggled to land a British Airways plane at Heathrow Airport in London during a storm in February, which brought gusts of up to 92mph

Close shave: That is the shocking moment a pilot struggled to land a British Airways plane at Heathrow Airport in London during a storm in February, which brought gusts of as much as 92mph

Only small planes can land and take off from the airport, and pilots are required to have no less than a 12 months’s experience and 100 missions flying STOL (short take off and landing) aircraft.

The Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport in Portugal has also recieved loads of attention through the years – primarily for changing its name in honour of footballing megastar  – but additionally for having one of the crucial hair-raising runways on this planet.

Pilots must fight against the island’s strong winds and land on a narrow runway that’s supported by 180 columns, 190 feet above sea level. The runway itself also jets out over the ocean.

Gibraltar’s airport to the north-east also has a nerve-wracking feature. The runway is built into the ocean and across the width of the British Overseas Territory, and has a public road running through the center of it. As with a level crossing across a railway track, the road must be closed every time a plan lands or takes off from the airport.

One other airport famous for its precarious landings is the Tenzing Hillary Airport in Nepal (pictured). The runway is built near the sting of a cliff, meaning pilots haven’t any room for error when coming in to land

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