Princess Juliana, St Maarten: Plane spotting – you’ll be blown away
The flight approach to Princess Juliana is over water and pilots must make regular instrument checks to ensure the correct altitude is maintained, as sea approaches such as these can be disorientating. Maho Beach has become a popular spot from which to observe approaching aircraft.
Take-off from Runway 10 presents more “difficulties” than the approach, as it involves a sharp turn to the right, actually a u-turn, to avoid the mountains that loom large at the end of the runway.
“We acknowledge the obvious attraction by visitors of planes landing so close to the beach, which has added to making the destination quite popular,” noted an airport press release. (Indeed, the adjacent Sunset Bar & Grill broadcasts air traffic control conversations in lieu of music, and asks would-be patrons, “Where else can you enjoy an ice cold beer as a huge KLM Jumbo Jet soars right over your head?”)
“Nevertheless,” the airport press release added, “no amount of excitement or thrill can justify putting one’s life in danger. Measures currently in place include double fencing, warning signs, and brightly-painted guardrails. Incidents such as this unfortunate one emphasize the need for all our visitors to heed the clear warnings, (and) the airport is considering heightened security in that area.”
St. Maarten’s Maho Beach, a strip of sand just a few yards from the end of a short runway at the island’s Princess Juliana International Airport, has long been a draw for plane-spotting tourists – many of whom ignore prominent warning signs about getting too close to a 100-m.p.h. blast from nearby jets.
But officials say they’ll boost security even further after a recent YouTube video showed one particularly clueless thrill seeker losing her grip on the airport’s chain link fence and being slammed into a concrete barrier during a JetBlue takeoff. The video clip – among many taken at Maho over the years – has generated more than 4 million views in the first week.
—St. Maarten airport to boost security after jet blast injures woman
Can I have a Beluga, plz!
Sint Maarten (Dutch pronunciation: [sɪnt ˈmaːrtə(n)]) is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It encompasses the southern half of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, while the northern half of the island constitutes the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin. Its capital is Philipsburg.
Before 10 October 2010, Sint Maarten was known as the Island Territory of Sint Maarten (Dutch: Eilandgebied Sint Maarten), and was one of five island territories (Eilandgebieden) that constituted the Netherlands Antilles.
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