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St Maarten Airport & Maho Beach
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Maho Beach is world famous and with good reason! Nowhere else can you get as close to aircraft landing on their final approach; not just small aircraft but 747 jumbos arriving on international routes. In fact, 'plane spotters' are drawn to Sint Maarten just for the thrill of being so close.

Maho Beach St Maarten

The runway at Princess Juliana Airport is directly behind Maho Beach. The top of the beach is separated from the runway tarmac by a narrow road; in fact the distance from the sand to the tarmac runway is 20 feet and aircraft are passing over the beach at an altitude of between 30 and 60 feet on their final approach; occasionally even lower.


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American Airlines 757 on it's final approach!

Maho Beach warning sign!

For the ultimate thrill the jet blast from landing aircraft can knock you off your feet and create artificial waves in Maho Bay. The St Maarten authorities have recently erected signs to warn beach goers of the dangers of the jet blast.

Princess Juliana Airport St Maarten

Landing a Jumbo Jet on such a short runway and only feet above crowds of plane spotters and sun worshipers must be every pilots nightmare. No other similar thrill is available to passengers either as they can see the faces of people on the beach just before touchdown and the brakes go on hard to bring the aircraft to a stop before the lagoon at the other end of the runway!

St Maarten reminds us of the old city airport in Hong Kong where you used to be able to see the faces of old women hanging out their washing on the balconies of apartment buildings at the end of the wingtips, just before the severe braking to avoid plunging into harbour at the end of the runway.


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Travel, holiday, vacation and cruise guide to Sint Maarten and the Caribbean. All text and images are Copyright Paradise Islands org 2009

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