“Oh, My Lord!” The combination of a relatively short runway, isolated location, and warm temps make for impressive takeoffs in front wide eyed tourists.
St. Maarten is an incredible airport for Avgeeks. Situated in the Caribbean, the island features beautiful beaches and a great climate all year round. It is a popular tourist destinations for Europeans and folks from North America.
Because of the island’s popularity and distance from Europe, Air France and KLM both utilize heavy aircraft on their routes. From time to time, the combination of heavy aircraft operating weights, high temperature, and relatively short runway make for impressive (and sometimes scary) departures.
Before takeoff, pilots compute TOLD data to ensure that they have the required distance for takeoffs. On long haul flights, the calculations can be pretty tight. This KLM 747-400 utilized the entire runway for a departure. The guy filming the video says “Oh my Lord!” as an 800,000+ lb heavy Boeing barrels towards him at over 150 kts.