Tenzing-Hillary Airport

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Tenzing-Hillary Airport
तेन्जिङ हिलारी विमानस्थल
Lukla Airport April 2010.JPG
IATA: LUAICAO: VNLK
LUA is located in Nepal
LUA
LUA
Location of airport in Nepal
Summary
Airport type Public
Serves Lukla, Nepal
Elevation AMSL 9,383 ft / 2,860 m
Coordinates 27°41′15″N 86°43′54″E / 27.68748°N 86.73172°E / 27.68748; 86.73172Coordinates: 27°41′15″N 86°43′54″E / 27.68748°N 86.73172°E / 27.68748; 86.73172
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
06/24 460 1,500 Asphalt
Source:[1]

Tenzing-Hillary Airport (IATA: LUAICAO: VNLK), also known as Lukla Airport, is a small airport in the town of Lukla,[1] in Khumbu, Solukhumbu district, Sagarmatha zone, eastern Nepal. A program titled Most Extreme Airports, broadcast on The History Channel in 2010, rated the airport as the most dangerous airport in the world.[2]

In January 2008 the airport was renamed in honor of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest and also to mark their efforts in the construction of this airport.[3]

The airport is popular because Lukla is the place where most people start the climb to Mount Everest Base Camp. There are daily flights between Lukla and Kathmandu during daylight hours in good weather. Although the flying distance is short, rain commonly occurs in Lukla while the sun is shining brightly in Kathmandu. High winds, cloud cover, and changing visibility often mean flights can be delayed or the airport closed. The airport is contained within a chain link fence and patrolled by the Nepali armed police or civil police around the clock.[2]

Facilities[edit]

The airport's paved asphalt runway is only accessible to helicopters and small, fixed-wing, short-takeoff-and-landing aircraft such as the De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, Dornier Do 228, and Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter. The runway is 460 by 20 m (1,509 by 66 ft) with a 12% gradient. The elevation of the airport is 2,800 m (9,200 ft).

Aircraft can only use runway 06 for landings and runway 24 for takeoffs.There is no prospect of a successful go-around on short final due to the terrain. There is high terrain immediately beyond the northern end of the runway and a steeply angled drop at the southern end of the runway into the valley below.

The apron has four stands and there is one helipad located 140 m (460 ft) from the control tower. No landing aids are available and the only air traffic service is an Aerodrome Flight Information Service.[citation needed]

Flight Schedule[edit]

Lukla flights or flights to Tenzing-Hillary airport start in the early morning to mid day. The flights normally operate from 6:30 AM until 3:30 PM.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Nepal Airlines Kathmandu, Phaplu, Rumjatar[4]
Tara Air Kathmandu[5]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On 15 October 1973, on landing at the airport, a Royal Nepal Airlines DHC-6 Twin Otter 300, registration 9N-ABG, was damaged beyond repair. The three crew and three passengers were unhurt.[6]
  • On 9 June 1991, a Royal Nepal Airlines DHC-6 Twin Otter 300, registration 9N-ABA, flying from Kathmandu crashed at the airport while attempting to land following an unstabilized approach in bad weather. All three crew and fourteen passengers were unhurt.[7]
  • On 26 September 1992, a Royal Air Nepal Harbin Yunshuji Y-12-II, registered 9N-ACI, faltered during take-off and was damaged beyond repair. All on board (twelve passengers and two crew) survived.[8]
  • On 25 May 2004, while on approach to the airport, a Yeti Airlines DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 300 (registration 9N-AFD) flying from Kathmandu crashed into Lamjura Hill in heavy clouds. No passengers were on board; all three crew members were killed. The Nepalese accident investigation committee concluded that the captain provided inaccurate information about his position to the Area Control Centre.[9]
  • On 1 October 2004, on landing at the airport, a Sita Air Dornier Do 228 suffered a collapse of its nose gear and slid along the runway, blocking it once it had come to rest. The airport was closed for two days.[10]
  • On 30 June 2005, a Gorkha Airlines Dornier Do 228 skidded off the runway while attempting to land. The nine passengers and three crew suffered minor injuries. The aircraft was reportedly withdrawn from use and written off after the accident.[11][12]
  • On 8 October 2008, Yeti Airlines Flight 103, a DHC-6 Twin Otter (registration 9N-AFE) crashed on final approach and caught fire, killing eighteen passengers and crew. The aircraft's captain was the only survivor. Video of the incident showed inclement weather at the time of the incident.[13]
  • On 25 August 2010, Agni Air Flight 101, a Dornier Do 228, crashed at Shikharpur while returning to Kathmandu after bad weather had prevented it from reaching Lukla. All eleven passengers and three crew died.[14]
  • On 12 October 2010, a Sita Air Dornier Do 228 (registration 9N-AHB) lost braking control and struck the wall-end of the runway during landing. All passengers and crew on board survived without injuries and the aircraft received damage to its nose.[15]
  • On 26 September 2013, an Air Dynasty helicopter (registration 9N-AEX) crashed when the rear rotor touched the barbed wire of the compound wall at the airport. Three passengers and the captain survived,one passenger died a few days later. [16]

Gallery[edit]

A panoramic photograph of Lukla Airport and its surroundings.
Twin Otter approaching the airport 
Twin Otter on the runway 
Twin Otters on the airfield 
The runway in 1999 before paving 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Airport information for Lukla, Nepal – Tenzing-Hillary Airport (VNLK / LUA) at Great Circle Mapper.
  2. ^ a b Most Extreme Airports; The History Channel; August 26, 2010.
  3. ^ "Nepal to name Everest airport after Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay". International Herald Tribune. 15 January 2008. Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 
  4. ^ "Nepal Airlines". Nepal Airlines. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  5. ^ Scheduled Flights. Taraair.com. Retrieved 9 February 2012
  6. ^ Aviation Safety Network, retrieved 18 November 2006.
  7. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 9N-ABA Lukla Airport (LUA)". Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Harbin Yunshuji Y-12-II 9N-ACI Lukla Airport (LUA)". Aviation-safety.net. 1992-09-26. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  9. ^ Aviation Safety Network, retrieved 18 November 2006.
  10. ^ Aviation Safety Network, retrieved 19 November 2006.
  11. ^ Airline Industry Information, 30 June 2005.
  12. ^ Aviation Safety Network, retrieved 18 November 2006.
  13. ^ BBC News, retrieved 8 October 2008.
  14. ^ Plane Crashes Near Everest, retrieved 25 August 2010.
  15. ^ Air Crash Observer [1], accessed December 15, 2010
  16. ^ [2]

External links[edit]