I have been an avgeek all of my life. I grew up with LAX in my backyard and when I was little, my Dad would park the car at the perimeter fence of runways 25L and 25R to watch the airplane. The Caribbean island of Saint Martin and the Greek island of Skiathos present a closeup look, maybe too close. These airports are located next to beaches so you get a tan with a view.
The Airport At Skiathos Greece
The Skiathos airport is not unique just because it is on a small island but is also located next to a beach that is ideal for planespotting. The airport itself is a “hot and short” airport due to its size and location of the airport. It is a “hot” airport because high summer temperatures have negative effects on jet thrust and lift, especially during takeoff.
The runway is very short at less than a mile long. Looking at the approach plate above, this airport only has 5,151 feet of usable runway length. Pilots need to land as close to the touchdown zone as possible. This is also referred to as landing “on the numbers”. In this case, land just past the numbers. Just before the touchdown zone is the number of the runway. In this case, Wizz Air was landing on runway “02”. Many flights have to take off from Skiathos with reduced fuel capacities just to make it off the runway.
Despite warning signs and lights, planespotters continue to get close to the perimeter fence. In 2018, a boy was blown 30 feet by jet thrust from the airport side of the road to the beachside.
The Video Shows It All
This video by the GreatFlyer YouTube channel shows this dramatic landing on Friday, August 5, 2022. With such a short runway, the final approach has to be flown low. Here is how it looked if you were there:
If you are an avgeek, it is in your blood and you want to go where the action is. Airports like Princess Juliana in Saint Martin or at Skiathos Greece present an incredibly close view of airliners on short final just as they clear the airport perimeter fence. Landings like this Wizz Air flight are guaranteed to get the adrenalin flowing.