A plane ran off the runway in Honduras this afternoon. Tegucigalpa is well known by pilots as a tough approach to an airport shoehorned inside a city that’s grown around it. In that way it’s not unlike San Diego’s airport, or the recently replaced Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong.
Officials have been struggling for years to replace aging Toncontin International Airport, whose short runway, primitive navigation equipment and neighbouring hills make it one of the world’s more dangerous landing strips.
The airport was built on the southern edge of hilly Tegucigalpa in 1948 with a runway less than 1,600 metres long.
The altitude of some 1,000 metres forces pilots to use more runway on landings and takeoffs than they would at sea level. And because of the hills, pilots have to make an unusually steep approach.
The difficulties are complicated during Central America’s frequent downpours, and during the springtime burning of farm fields, which produces smoke that often forces the airport to close for days at a time.
Drudge had the story and an interesting link: “VIDEO: WHAT IT’S LIKE TO LAND AT TEGUCIGALPA…”
This airport is interesting to plane spotters, so there’s a bunch of video available on Youtube. Each is, unfortunately, scarier than the last.
This is a great example of how to use what’s already on the Internet to extend conventional news coverage.