TENZING-HILLARY AIRPORT, THE TOUGHEST THE WORLD
Lukla’sTenzing-Hillary’s airport was built by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1965, 12 years after he conquered Mount Everest. These days, Alpinists can just jump on a plane in Kathmandu and arrive at this extreme airport in just a few of hours, instead of traveling by bus and trekking for five days. The airport is carved into the mountain and has a single runway. The landing strip is just 20 meter wide, and can only accommodate small aircraft like the de Havilland Twin Otter. With a gradient of 12%, it is one of the steepest runways in the world. Planes have to go around the mountain and pilots have to reverse the propellers just before touch down. Only visual landings are possible and pilots have to negotiate tough weather and strong winds in order to safely land or take-off.There is no possibility of a successful go-around on short final due to the terrain. There is high terrain immediately beyond the northern end of the runway and a steeply angled drop at the southern end of the runway into the valley below.Extreme conditions where only exceptional pilots and the Alpina Startimer professional pilot watches are at home.