Travel Picks: Top 10 scariest runways

Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:25am EST
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SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Nervous fliers, stop reading! Travel website Travel + Leisure has come up with a list of the world's scariest runways that can make even the most relaxed travelers grip their armrest.

This list is compiled by Travel + Leisure and not endorsed by Reuters (here


1. Paro Airport, Bhutan

Tucked into a tightly cropped valley and surrounded by 16,000-foot-high Himalayan peaks, Bhutan's only airport is forbidding to fly into. It requires specially trained pilots to maneuver and land through a channel of tree-covered hillsides.

2. Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten

The length of the runway is just 7,152 feet which is fine for small or medium-size jets, but as the second-busiest airport in the Eastern Caribbean, it regularly welcomes wide-body jetliners like Boeing 747s and Airbus A340s which fly in low over Maho Beach and skim just over the perimeter fence.

3. Reagan National Airport, Washington, D.C.

Located smack in the center of two overlapping air-exclusion zones, Reagan National requires pilots flying the so-called River Visual into the airport to follow the Potomac while steering clear of sensitive sites such as the Pentagon and CIA headquarters. On taking off, pilots need to climb quickly and execute a steep left bank to avoid flying over the White House.   Continued...

<p>An Iberia aircraft flies during a test before landing at the airport in Gibraltar in this file photo from November 26, 2006.REUTERS/Anton Meres</p>