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This Approach in the French Alps Makes Aircraft Carrier Landings Look Routine


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With an elevation of almost 7,000 feet a slope of 18.6% (!!!) and a landing distance of less than 2,000 ft, this French field might be the most dangerous airport in the world. There is no go around at this field.

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Landing at Courchevel:

We’re all accustomed to runways that are flatter than the landscape in Kansas. The idea of tarmac with a change in elevation is something from a cartoon.

But at this small airport in Courchevel France, there’s an undulating runway that would cause nightmares for even experienced carrier pilots. (This is facility is actually called an “altiport” which is an aerodrome for small airplanes and helicopters, situated on or within mountainous terrain such as this one in the French Alps.)

(We guess the owners/developers of this airport didn’t want to change the aesthetics of the scenery. But no doubt the pilots who land and takeoff there would have approved the idea of trucking in loads of rock and dirt to build up the dip and flatten the runway.)

Bonus: Takeoff of a Citation Jet at Courchevel:

While the landing video looks a little hairy, the takeoff down a sloping runway is a bit helpful.

Written by Wendell Barnhouse

Wendell Barnhouse is a veteran journalist with over 40 years of experience as a writer and an editor. For the last 30 years, he wrote about college sports but he has had an interest and curiosity about aviation since he was in grade school.