In the event of a beach landing, your seat cushion will act as...
photo by Todd Neville

St. Maarten Airport: Princess Juliana (SXM)

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The airport is famous for its short runway of only 2,433 metres (7,980 ft). It is incorrectly regarded as not being long enough for heavy jets to land. In aviation terms, a runway is either long enough or not for a particular type and given weight. There are no "marginal" lengths in commercial aviation. There is also a very large "pad factor" of 50% added to required landing lengths. In other words, if an aircraft requires 1500 meters of runway according to regulations, it can actually stop in 1000 meters with maximum braking. Furthermore, take-offs require more runway length than landings so if an aircraft can take off from there it can also land.

Incoming airplanes are flying low over the famous Maho Beach. At any other airport, aircrafts flying at the same altitude would be considered something normal, but other airports don't have a beach, road and a fence just beyond the runway end. In 2000, some newspapers published pictures of low flying aircraft. Because they looked so unreal, everyone thought they where fakes. This airport is one of the world's favourite places for planepotters.

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Todd Neville, Grant Hollingworth

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This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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