Thursday, June 16, 2011
Imagine a 200 ton commercial aircraft flying just inches from your head, emitting supersonic sounds from its massive jet engines..
And it all happened at a beautiful sandy beach.
The only place in the world to perfectly expericence that is none other than Maho beach located on the Dutch side of the island St. Maarten in the Caribbean.
In short, Maho Beach is world famous as a favorite and perfect location for plane spotters.
The Princess Juliana International Airport is just adjacent to the Maho beach.
Arriving aircraft must touch down as close as possible to the beginning of runway 10 due to the short runway length of 2,180 metres (7,152 feet).
As a result, aircrafts as big as Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet and Airbus A330 have to fly at minimal altitude on their final approach flying over the beach.
Due to the unique proximity of low flying airliners, the location is very popular with plane spotters.
Watching airliners pass over the beach is such a popular activity that daily arrivals and departures airline timetables are displayed on a board in most bars and restaurants on the beach, and the Sunset Beach Bar and Grill has a speaker on its outside deck that broadcasts the radio transmissions between pilots and the airport's control tower.
There is a danger of people standing on the beach being blown into the water because of the jet blast from aircraft taking off from runway 10. The local government warns that closely approaching and departing aircraft can "result in serious injury and/or death."
An additional fence has been added recently behind runway 10 to prevent irresponsible tourists from hanging on to the main fence surrounding the runway to be blasted by the jet flow.
Welcome to the Caribbean..