2 Of The Scariest Airports In World Are In Colorado
I was watching a program from back in 2010 called Worlds Most Extreme Airports and was a little surprised to find that only one in Colorado is mentioned. After digging around a little I found an article that mentioned the other airport I was thinking about.
The airport in the History Channel episode was Eagle County Regional Airport in Vail Colorado. It made number 8 on The History Channel's most extreme list.
If you look at this satellite photo you'll see that it is one airstrip that sits in a long valley with mountains on all sides. The runway is on the shorter side. Pilots must step down quickly to get in and turn sharply and climb fast to avoid mountains on the way out.
Vail is high altitude, which makes it a challenge for a wing trying to generate lift at low speeds with little air.
Speaking of air, the turbulence up there, due to the mountains, is like wrestling a bear when trying to land.
You can watch The History Channel's episode in the video at this link to see what pilots said about the airport.
But Vail is not the only airport that is a challenge in those Colorado mountains. What about Telluride?
The website Interesting Engineering names Telluride as number 3 on their list. Many passengers who've taken the trip will confirm that it's quite the white-knuckle ride. Telluride Regional Airport is located in southwest Colorado and is considered one of the scariest in the world.
Located on a small plateau, it features 1,000-foot (300 mt) sheer cliffs at both ends of the runway, and pilots need to overcome strong vertical turbulence from the mountain winds during winter months. Not only that, but each end of the runway is actually slightly higher than the middle, creating a dip, although this was reduced during a 2009 renovation. (Interesting Engineering).
In an episode of the British TV show Grand Tour, they actually drag raced on the runway. Then they rigged a car to drive off the end of the runway and let it crash far- far- far below.
Here is that scene from Grand Tour.