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September 27, 2009
Third prize winner or LIFE: Photojournalism Contest, You too close by ~silverdragon really has a story to tell! And wow!!! What a story!!!
[Photojournalism > Places]
Featured by Helewidis
silverdragon's avatar

You too close

Photography > Photojournalism> Places

Incredible low approach of a Boeing 747 on the tiny island of St. Maarten.

i love this picture not only because it's a fantastic scene, but because of the reaction from the bystanders, they seriously look like they are enjoying this moment!

The reason for the low approach and incredible close action is because this is the shortest commercial runway (almost 8 thousand ft) that the 747 lands in the world. Also, because the end of the runway features so close to a main road and beach, makes it popular for tourists and aviation nuts as well.

From Wiki:

Incoming airplanes approach the island on short final for Runway 9 flying low over the famous Maho Beach. At any other airport aircraft fly at the same altitude at that point in the approach, but other airports don't have a beach, road and a fence just beyond the runway end. Pictures of low flying aircraft were published in several news magazines worldwide in early 2000 and looked so unreal that some were even disputed as fakes. The thrilling approaches and ease of access for shooting spectacular images made the airport one of the world's favorite places among planespotters. To meet changing international and local regulations a 150 meter safety extension was required.


You can see a crazy video of this cool place at : [link]


other landings and reactions:

Image details
Image size
3659x2440px 5.98 MB
Shutter Speed
1/400 second
Focal Length
17 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jul 14, 2009, 3:12:07 PM
© 2009 - 2021 silverdragon
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TheRealHax1's avatar

I might visit during the winter

columbia102's avatar
Ah, St. Maarten, such a fun little island! :D
Sorath-Rising's avatar
I just came from a vacation here. Incredible experience.
prestonthecarartist's avatar
wow! Looks really neat :)
ellymango's avatar
Would being that close to a landing airplane not be really, ear-meltingly loud?
JMG787's avatar
Yeah, but they are only that close for about a half second so it doesn't last long.
ellymango's avatar
Ahh, thanks for clearing that up!
caspermycat2's avatar
wow i dont think i would be able to get that close to an airplane without alot of courage
Callsign-Shutter's avatar
how are they allowed to fly that low? I know its for landing but bloody hell! Great Image btw!
JMG787's avatar
They're not normally that low unfortunately
Also, it is a shorter runway and KLM still use big planes so they have to come in a bit lower.
TaRtOoN-Man94's avatar
if your a resident, this is pretty normal for you.
But the tourists go Nuts over it!
Then again if you Are a resident, you're probably not even On that side of the Island at this time of day!
silverdragon's avatar
Hey. I used to live there my whole life, but now im doing my studies in holland. You are right though. It's become more and more popular over time.
TaRtOoN-Man94's avatar
I still live here my whole life.
I wouldnt say More popular, it's the same popular. because Now it's rougly the only thing that you can do in StMaarten that you Cant do in Miami.
Freak-Leopatra's avatar
wtf?! that's freakin awesome!
Titanicwolf's avatar
Oh yeah, I saw this on Discover Channel. World's most dangerous airports. I sure wouldn't wanna get under one of those things. XD
TheAkula's avatar
Top ten destination number three.
peewee1002's avatar
The article has finally gone up: [link]

Thanks for the permission to use your image. :D
PiiiRKO's avatar
great snapshot!! :) :+fav:
peewee1002's avatar
I am currently writing an article for Phototuts+ [link] and would like to feature this photograph in a greatest aviation photography list.

Naturally you would be credited for the photography and a link to this page would be given.

I do need a reply pretty quickly! Thanks for reading.

Peter Sawyer (aka Peewee1002)
silverdragon's avatar
Sure go ahead. Thanks :)
peewee1002's avatar
thank you. Will email again when it goes live.
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