Lukla, Nepal - Landing in Lukla leaves no room for error. Pilots throw their propellers into hard reverse before they touch down and gun the engines as they race down the hill for takeoff. Considering the extreme landscape it was the best candidate for the engineers to construct the facility. The strip is at an elevation of 2800 m with a an abrupt drop off down to a river valley below. The approach is through a maze of spectacular mountain peaks and the air is often cluttered with clouds. There is a big hill right behind the landing strip. You also need to clear a high ridge, bank left, descend steeply, straighten the airplane and land. Navigation is by sight only and you need to negotiate several layers of clouds which can hang on the high hill or rise from the deep valley. This is why flights will often be cancelled and you could be stuck in Lukla waiting for a plane for days on end.
If this is worrying you one comforting thought is that only the most experienced pilots in Nepal are flying to Lukla.
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