"The airstrip at Lukla is designed only for STOL aircraft(short-takeoff-landing). The airport is popular, since Lukla is the place where most people start their treks in the Everest regions. There are daily flights between Lukla and Kathmandu during daylight hours with good weather. Although the flying distance is short, it can easily be raining in Lukla, while the sun is shining brightly in Kathmandu. High winds, cloud cover and changing visibility often mean flights can be delayed or the airport closed completely. The airport is contained within a chain link fence, and patrolled by the Nepal armed police or civil police around the clock. The single runway is 1,500 feet (460 m) long, 65 feet (20 m) wide and has a 12% gradient. The altitude of the airport is 9,100 feet (2,800 m). Due to the terrain, there is no prospect of a successful go-around in the event of a short final approach. There is high terrain immediately after the northern end of the runway, and a steeply angled drop of about 2,000 feet (610 m) at the southern end of the runway into the valley below."
On my trek, we were unable to fly into Lukla on a fixed-wing aircraft, and were very lucky to even get in by helicopter: our departure was a smooth one on a regular scheduled fixed-wing service, but we were again fortunate, as low cloud closed the airstrip shortly after we had departed. Lukla has seen many incidents, and more than its fair share of fatalities.
This shot was taken from the northern end of the runway, and clearly shows how short the runway really is.
Critiques | Translate
abmdsudi (42690) 2010-12-20 8:30
This airport is known as the most dangerous airport in the world as you have explained. I have seen on utube on landing/take off procedures, really very scary especially on landing when coming to a stop with a sudden u turn. good expriendce u had. I skipped this are whn i visited nepal as not on my agenda. as for picture, I like the crop, good depth with the strip slightly diagonal and the subject is slightly off-center. Lovely light, good clarity and sharpness. the color is marvelous.
Great capture, TFS.
P/S If I am not mistaken the airport is renamed as Hillary Tensing Airport
i9l2y1m8a8t3 (4798) 2010-12-20 8:51
I wonder what's at the end of that runway, seems interesting huh? and Yes! it is really a short runway, your photo says it all. Great photo, nice capture! Good lighting conditions and a very nice exposure led you to this sharp and crisp photo. Great POV and nice DOF too. TFS, All the best!
worldcitizen (6823) 2010-12-20 15:16
I have seen this airport on a tv documentary recently. I like your POV here, with a great view of the runway and the surrounding scenery. It must really get your heart pounding to fly into or out of this airport!
mafegan (8624) 2010-12-20 15:32
As I flew in and out of this airport last year (and posted a photo on TE) I must comment. A very clear photo - almost has a HDR effect. A good crop giving all the dramatic detail of a landing plane. You must have taken this through the fence at the top of the runway or as you were walking to or from your plane/helicopter. Scary stuff! Tfs, Marlene
ktanska (24626) 2010-12-20 23:07
Quite an extreme airport near the top of the world. I can imagine what it is like to arrive there on such conditions. This angle shows well how the runway ends to, well nothing!
- Copyright: Jeff Tupper (westozman) (3193)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2010-11-23
- Categories: Daily Life, Transportation, Decisive Moment
- Camera: NIKON D200, Nikkor 16-85mm AF DX VR
- Exposure: f/9.0, 1/320 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2010-12-20 4:55