St. Barts, in the eastern Caribbean, is famous for having a short, narrow runway with a tall hill off one end. It’s tricky to get into and more than one pilot has come to grief in trying. In this video, AVweb’s Paul Bertorelli reviews a landing that went wrong and why.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Unstable approach too fast and unwilling to o make an overshoot {you Can Not force these machines onto the ground } We just saw the same condition in TN this past week end was same problem { same results } !!!

    I have seen this same scenario again and again for the past 65 years !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. On short runways I used to select a taxiway that intersects the runway and brief my copilot that if I’m not on the runway by taxiway “?” then just say go around. Of course the plane should be on glide path and at the correct speed at 500 ft., 100 ft. and crossing the threshold. On a runway like St. Barts 75% of my thinking would be plan on a go around and only land if everything goes as plan. Last chance is passing the predetermined taxiway. And then I retired.

  3. C’mon guys, Hold your airspeed at 3% over stall +1/2 wind gusts & at a MINIMUM
    safe altitude above obstacles on approach.
    Now, just how could you possibly land long & fast doing that.
    Learn how to FLY your plane & NOT have the plane fly YOU !!!

  4. St. Barts, my hobby horse since I used to fly in there during a previous life. Whoever says to “just keep proper speed and glidepath” will surely be going around using this method. There are so many variables when landing on runway 10. Turbulence and gusty winds will totally destroy the confidence of a first-timer going in here. BTW Paul, the sign you refer to means “roundabout ahead, you do not have the right of way”. By itself a valid sign but there is, however, another sign on that road warning of low flying aircraft. An issue almost NEVER mentioned here is the 2% downslope of this runway. If you’ve never experienced this kind of slope then you’re in for a scare. Threshold is at 49 ft, the end at 7 ft. Even in a a calm no-wind situation you’d be hard pressed to make the touchdown zone and this is the MAIN reason airplanes have a problem landing there. Such as myself in a heavily loaded Aztec on my first attempt into St. Barts. I had to go around, I wasn’t even close. The second time was better and I touched down late in the zone however the downslope was something I was not prepared for. The airplane kept going and the brakes were fading fast. I barely got it stopped before the beach. It’s not only the runway length, it’s the downslope that will get you.

  5. I always enjoy this video and article by Paul, and the lessons learned do deserve reminding from time to time. I wonder if the timing trigger for this was the Earnhardt jet overrun.

    The dateline is a bit misleading though, as the article and video have existed for many years (unless Paul has made some minor updates/adjustments to the commentary justifying a date adjustment, that I’ve missed). I suggest that archive postings like this include an indication of the original post date along the lines … “first appeared in Avweb on xx.xx.xx”.

    This is very common in the media these days, and makes it extremely difficult to sort out the “news” from the space-fillers retrieved from archives.

  6. The dateline is a bit misleading though, as the article and video have existed for many years (unless Paul has made some minor updates/adjustments to the commentary justifying a date adjustment, that I’ve missed). I suggest that archive postings like this include an indication of the original post date along the lines … “first appeared in Avweb on xx.xx.xx”.

    Agree wholeheartedly!