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Home / Travel / Here’s What it Actually Looks Like to Take Off and Land on the World’s Shortest Commercial Runway (Video)

Here’s What it Actually Looks Like to Take Off and Land on the World’s Shortest Commercial Runway (Video)

Get ready to be on the edge of your seat.

Talia Avakian
January 12, 2018

Landing a plane is no easy feat, let alone trying to do it on the world’s shortest runway.

This is what the pilots over at Winair have to do, transporting passengers to and from a 400-meter (roughly 1,300 feet) runway on the tiny Caribbean island of Saba.

Built along the rocky terrain of the island, the narrow runway sits in between cliffs on one end, and the blue waters of Cove Bay on the other, making for a nail-biting landing and takeoff experience.

A recent video uploaded by Just Planes shows just what that looks like, from the quick stops the pilot has to make when landing on the runway to what it looks like to take off from the short airstrip.

The runway at Saba’s Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport was built on one of the only grounded areas found on the island, according to Saba’s Tourism Board, and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s shortest commercially serviceable runway.

Racing to the Edge After driving away from the airport in Saba, our taxi driver stopped so we could all see the plane we came in on take off. Saba does not have a refueling station so planes typically don’t stay. The pilot utilized the entire runway as the plane picked up enough speed to fly, and as you can see in this picture (and photos I shot when we left) it was all or nothing. The aircraft pushed it to the very edge of the runway and cliff. Any mishap would most definitely cause the plane to drop full speed into the Caribbean 60 feet below. It’s fly or die every single take off. #saba #sabaisland #caribbean #caribbeanlife #island #islandlife #ig_worldclub #worldplaces #awesomeearth #ig_adventure #islandhopping #adventure #travel #instatravel #nationalgeographic #natgeo #natgeotravel #natgeohub #dhc6twinotter #twinotter #smallplane #islandhopping #winair #ig_airplane_club #sweatypalms #runway #adrenaline #doordie #flyordie

A post shared by Jimmy Kastner (@jimmykastner) on Dec 12, 2017 at 9:54am PST

Tourism board representatives state that pilots can even land on the runway from both sides depending on the wind conditions of each day, swinging the plane as far as 180 degrees when they reach the end of the runway to prepare for their liftoff.

Only a 15-minute flight from St. Maarten, the island is home to prime scuba diving and mountain scenery.

Today, Saba has flights that depart four times a week throughout the year, though Windward Express Airways also offers travelers charter flights to and from the islands that sit near Saba.

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