Sunday, March 3, 2013

Barra Airport

Barra, Scotland

Planes bound for the island of Barra, located off Scotland's west coast, have used the beach as a makeshift runway since the 1930s. Despite the shortage of paved runways on the island, the airport still boasts a contemporary control tower that is responsible for handling over 1000 incoming & departing flights per year.

Why It is Matchless:
When the tide comes in at Barra, the runway disappears, forcing flights to be scheduled around the movement of the ocean. Landing on the beach, while novel, has drawbacks. "The tiny pieces of sand & salt eat up the bearings & can jam moving parts of the airplane," Schreckengast says. "In lots of places where they have unsurfaced runways like this, special maintenance procedures are necessary."

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