9 Airports To Land With A Flight Simulator

Difficult and Dangerous Airports With A Flight Simulator

No two airports are the same. Some are straightforward with a simple approach, while others only allow access to a handful of skilled pilots. While we may not be able to experience these airports in person, or the destinations nearby, a RealSimGear Flight Simulator makes them all accessible. Below, we list a few world-renowned airports, so enjoy a scenic flight or choose to challenge yourself at some of the world's most dangerous airports.  

Airports to Visit For The Beauty 

Sedona Airport (KSEZ)

Settled on a 500-foot-tall Mesa at 4,830 feet above sea level, KSEZ remains one of the most challenging airports to land and take off from in the State of Arizona. While it is scenic, this airport has had several notable crashes due to the unique wind patterns caused by the surrounding terrain. Wind frequently rolls off the Mesa causing strong downdrafts, which means pilots facing these conditions need to take the appropriate precautions. A scenario we recommend trying in your flight simulator is experiencing a landing on Runway 21 with strong southwest wind conditions that will test your skills as a pilot and allow you to gain the confidence needed when making this approach in real life. 

Princess Julian International Airport (TNCM)

Most of us have all seen the images of a massive Boeing 747 aircraft flying 150 ft above a crowded beach - they almost look photoshopped! However, that's not the case, and that really is how close planes need to get for a successful landing at the Princess Julian International Airport. Located in the Netherlands Antilles and the northeast part of the Caribbean, you're surrounded by blue tropical waters with mountains in the distance. This airport has a daring landing but makes for an exciting one in real life and a flight simulator. So practice your approach, and make sure you don't come in too low. 

Narita International Airport (RJAA) 

The Narita International Airport (RJAA), located in Tokyo, Japan, is a unique airport to take off from. However, while the airport offers its own exciting experience, so do the destinations nearby. This airport is perfect to practice your communication with Air Traffic Control at the busiest airport in the world - make sure you are using PilotEdge or another virtual air traffic control service to experience this for yourself. While you’re flying over one of the greatest cities in the world, take a look at the horizon with Mount Fuji just out in the distance. 

Airports to Visit For The Challenge 

Paro International Airport (PBH)

Landing at the Paro International Airport isn't only rare, it's only reserved for less than two dozen pilots who are certified to make this approach. In spite of that, you can try this unique and dangerous airport from the comfort of your home with a flight simulator. The runway sits in a winding valley between 18,000 ft peaks, not to mention its only visible moments before landing. Understandably, this airport makes a list one of the most dangerous globally, and it's worth flying into. Experience a manual-only flight, stray away from homes and electrical poles, and practice the quick descent until it's perfect - that will make every other airport landing seem like a breeze!

Juanacho E. Yrausquin Airport (TNCS)

Can you imagine landing on a runway just a bit longer than the average aircraft carrier? Well, if you can't imagine it, then try it! Located on the Dutch Caribbean island of Saba, the Junacho E. Yrausquin airport stretches for 1,312 feet before reaching a cliff that will plunge your flight simulator into the water below. Interestingly enough, pilots can land on the runway from both sides, making practicing it on a simulator more fun. Once you land one direction, you can swing your plane 180 degrees at the end of the runway to prepare for takeoff - Something that’s only doable in a flight simulator. While the airport is a challenge and many pilots consider it one of the most daring to approach, enjoy the scenic views of crystal blue waters and surrounding islands once you're in the air. 

Tenzing-Hillary Airport (VNLK)

One of the most dangerous airports in the world sits at an altitude of 9,334 ft, has a runway that's 1,729 feet long and slopes uphill with a gradient of 12% to assist pilots in slowing down the plane. To make matters more challenging, once you start your approach, you must land, as the height of the surrounding mountains does not permit go-around procedures. The Himalayas have very unpredictable weather patterns so re-create each one of those scenarios - take your simulator through sudden rainstorms, fog, and snow, which can cause Pilots to lose sight of the runway several times a year. 

Airports That Offer Both Beauty and A Challenge

Florence Airport (FLR)

Just minutes from the city center, the Florence Airport (FLR) in Italy is one to experience if you're looking for a beautiful and scenic flight paired with a challenging landing. This airport lies in a basin surrounded by high mountains allowing pilots to approach it from one direction and take off in another. This makes for a fun flight simulation experience since you can try an approach both ways, something pilots cannot attempt in real life. In addition, the airport is short and wide, and air traffic control has to report wind parameters every two minutes due to the unpredictable and ever-changing microclimate. However, once you're “in the air”, fly inches above the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore or inches below the Ponte Vecchio - Scenarios you can only practice in a sim. 

LaGuardia International Airport (LGA)

Have you ever wanted to experience landing on one of the scariest runways in the world? If so, search for LaGuardia Airport, one of three airports that connects millions of people to New York City every year. This airport is notorious for shutting down with a glimpse of bad weather, has a low and short approach, and has a body of water at the edge of the runway. Modify the weather and try landing in a foggy rainstorm, one of the many weather conditions that bring this airport to a halt several times a year. Then, when you're in the air, circle the island of Manhattan, visit the Statue of Liberty, and fly through the exciting glow of Times Square closer than you ever could in real life with your simulator.

Innsbruck Airport (INN)

Nestled high in the Austrian Alps, the Innsbruck Airport provides pilots with a challenging approach made difficult by winds traveling through the mountainous terrain. However, as much as it is tough, it allows pilots to test their flying skills (without autopilot), gain confidence and enjoy the beauty of the snow-covered horizon at the same time. So, take on the "Captains Only" landing in your flight simulator, an experience that takes pilots years of training to achieve.