For some reason, Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten has been all over my radar lately.  I stumbled across some YouTube videos of planes landing there (see below – it’s freakin’ amazing).  Then it came up while I was watching World’s Sexiest Beach Bars (ew – I know…  I was channel surfing and became mesmerized) and they mentioned the Sunset Beach Bar on Maho Bay – right at the foot of the airport’s runway.  Then, this week in Ask The Pilot on Salon.com, he responded to a question about this airport and it’s “dangerous” reputation – which of course he debunked.  The only thing unusual about this particular airport is it’s proximity to a lovely tropical beach – but the approach and landing are no different than any other airport.

At any rate, am I completely weird for wanting to go here?  I just think it must be amazing to sit on the beach (or in the water), watching commercial jets come screaming in for a landing directly overhead all day – especially while sipping on a tropical drink.  And I’ll bet I’d want to do this for more than a day…  Anyway, the photos below give some sense of the awesomeness.

Good grief!

¡Ay Caramba!

From Ask the Pilot: “At least one shot from the Airliners archives does seem to show a jet touching down a hair short of the threshold markings — something that is very much not supposed to happen.”

OK, this one's a bit too close for comfort...

Gulp... And note the two people huddled in fear by the cyclone fence...

Finally, some live-action.  And if you find this as fascinating as I do, just search for Princess Juliana Airport on YouTube and you’ll find plenty of other videos.  Some of the best ones show what happens if you’re standing on the beach when a 747 spools up for take off



  1. Holy f*cking sh*t! I’d love to join you there!

  2. BTW, I seem to recall when we were kids that you went to SFO (via Airporter bus?) just to watch the planes from the terminal, before all of the pesky extra security measures we have now. So I know what a freak you are already.

    • Yes, that is a true fact. I was actually just telling Chris about my solo trip to SFO as a kid… I’m pretty sure I brought my little Instamatic to take pictures. Still remember it as very exciting and fun.

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