Video: Hair-Raising Approach into Westman Islands

Rugged terrain makes for a challenging landing.

The Westman Islands, locally known as Vestmannaeyjar, are a group of islands off the southern coast of Iceland. Like their better known neighboring island, the Westman Islands are distinguished by rugged terrain that makes flying there particularly challenging.

See for yourself how a pilot of former Islandsflug closely skirts the rough mountainsides and ridges to maneuver the airplane on to short final for Runway 22 and a perfect landing on the 3,806-foot strip at Vestmannaeyjar Airport. With no space for taxiways, the large 42-seat ATR-42 also has to make a tight 180-degree turn on the runway to taxi back to the terminal area.

Looking at the terrain, you can’t help but wonder if a left approach would have presented fewer hazards for the pilot.

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