Named as the airport with the most extreme approach by PrivateFly, a booking network, in a global poll to determine the most scenic airport landings, Barra Airport (BRR) located in a shallow bay called Traigh Mhor at the north tip of the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland took top honors in the results of a just released 2011 survey.
According to a Scottish reader, Alastair Barbour, whom we met during this year’s Miramar Air Show, flight schedules are not fixed because they depend on the ocean tides, as seen in the attached slide show and video clip which accompany this report.
The airport is listed as technically being at 5 feet above mean sea level (AMSL), and has three sand surfaced runways marked by wooden poles at their ends, which range in length from 2,231 feet to 2,776 feet, and is able to accommodate 19-passenger short takeoff and landing (STOL) DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft which have a fixed tricycle undercarriage and can be airborne, according to Viking Air, in as little as 1,200 feet.
The aircraft has a maximum speed of 195 mph, a cruising speed of 173 mph, a stall speed of 67 mph, a range of 1,050 miles, and a service ceiling of 25,000 feet.
Flybe Group PLC (BE), a British low-cost regional airline, operates two daily flights from Barra Airport to Glasgow International Airport (GLA) on the Scottish mainland and Benbecula Airport (BEB) located on the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland.
The island of Barra is the southernmost inhabited island of the Outer Hebrides, and has a population of 1,078 inhabitants. It is a center for study of the Gaelic language, literature, music, drama and culture, as well as a popular tourist destination.
Many attend the BarraFest – Live @ the Edge, a two-day festival of traditional and modern Scottish music that is held each year on the last weekend in July. The island also attracts naturalists, bird watchers, hikers, and golfers.
According to the Castlebay Tourist Information Centre which is located on Barra, other attractions include cycling on secluded roads, walking, heritage and wildlife sightings, flora and fauna, with over 1,000 different species of wild flowers, and stunning coastal scenery that includes dolphins in the waters around the island.
The beach approach and takeoff, which may be seen in the attached video clip, also contributes to the uniqueness of visiting the remote island, and is the reason why PrivateFly readers gave Barra Airport their highest number of votes in their listing of Top 10 Touchdowns.
The complete PrivateFly list of favorite airport approaches is shown below:
01 – Barra Airport (BRR), on the Isle of Barra in Scotland
02 – London City Airport (LCY), in London’s Docklands area
03 – Jackson Hole Airport (JAC), in Wyoming, USA
04 – Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA), on the Island of Aruba
05 – Male Airport (MLE), on Hulhulé Island in the Maldives
06 – Gustaf III Airport (SBH), on Saint Barthélemy
07 – Queenstown Airport (ZQN), on the South Island of New Zealand
08 – Gibraltar Airport (GIB), on the British overseas territory of Gibraltar
09 – Harstad/Narvik Airport Evenes (EVE), in the Arctic Circle, Norway
10 – Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), on Saint Maarten
According to Valur Arnarson, one of our readers from Iceland, another candidate for extreme airport approaches is Isafjordur Airport (IFJ) which serves a town in the Westfjords region in northwestern Iceland. The airport is located at 8 feet above mean sea level, and has a single 4,593 foot paved runway served by Air Iceland (NY) with flights to Reykjavík Airport (RKV), and is seen in the attached slide show images.
If you have personally traveled through any of these airports, we would especially enjoy hearing from you, and want to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers and friends around the world a very Happy New Year and an abundance of Blue Skies.
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