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Unique Airports Around the World

When flying, no one really thinks of an airport as destination worthy. It’s the little unique oddities that puts an airport on the interest radar. As we scurry through airports, we are so focus-driven on getting to the gate that we fail to appreciate the beauty and rarities that a hub of travel holds.

Not for the faint of heart!

Several airports are quite frankly, terrifying to fly in and out of. The anxiety level for some passengers can be overwhelming, but the addition of treacherous landing conditions is an unwanted bonus!

 

Princess Juliana International Airport – Saint Martin

Beachgoers on Maho Beach flocked to the outer fence boundary of this airport to get the full effect of planes landing and taking off. Many refer to this activity as “fence surfing.” Strong winds known as “jet blasts”, occur when a plane lands or takes off. As the giant plane approaches, spectators take hold onto the fence and wait…a sudden blast of hot air blows them backward. This action is dangerous and has led to a recent death.

Ice Runway – Antarctica

In the frozen tundra of Antarctica, sits the remote McMurdo Station which is the base of operation for the U.S. Antarctic Program. The summer season has a population of 1,000, however, as winter approaches, that number drops drastically. Winter is brutal and harsh with a low temperature of -58 F degrees. Below the frozen icy surface lays glacial waters which tend to shift and move causing fractures in the ice. Imagine landing on that!

 

Paro Airport – Bhutan

Landing at this airport is harrowing, to say the least. When approaching the short runway of Paro, pilots hasten to get the aircraft steadied as they quickly approach landing. This little airport sits situated in the peaks of the Himalayas and conditions for flying are at best dangerous. There are only a handful of pilots who are certified to fly in and out of this airport.

 

Tenzing-Hillary Airport – Nepal

This is the world’s most dangerous airport to fly aircraft in and out of. As the hub for Mt. Everest, Tenzing-Hillary sits perched on a cliff in the snow-capped peaks. Bad weather accounts for many deadly crashes. As the pilot approaches, both courage and skill are required to maneuver into the short runway. The “pucker factor” is quite high when landing or taking off.

Surrounded by Ocean

Creative engineering designed unique locations for over-populated areas unable to accommodate the large footprint of an airport. Two particular airports are situated on islands out and away from the densely occupied areas.

 

Ibrahim Nasir International Airport – Maldives

Beautifully located on an island, this airport is only accessible via boat or seaplane. A true gem nestled in the turquoise waters of the Maldives.

 

Kansai International Airport – Japan

Located on a man-made island, Kansai is uniquely the world’s first offshore all encompassing airport.

 

Airport Amenities that Rock

 

Golf Anyone?

Hong Kong International Airport intices travelers to take a break and enjoy a round of golf on their nine-hole course.

 

Nature Indoors

Singapore’s Changi Airport brings nature indoors offering nature trails to explore. What a great way to beat jet lag!

 

Rest for the Weary in an Airport

 

After flying in and out of airports worldwide, it’s a given that jetting makes a body tired. Most passengers are not aware of nifty options to catching a few zzz’s while on layover.

 

Sleeping Pods

These miniature versions of a bedroom comes complete with single or double beds, an alarm clock, complimentary snacks, drinks and even WiFi. Available up to 24 hours.

Cocoon Chairs

This futuristic chairs looks similar to a space capsule. Pull the privacy shade over your chair, recline into a bed while enjoying WiFi. For a fee, you can purchase bed linen, toiletries, pillow and matching eye shades.

 

Nap Cabs

Open the door to what appears to be a box and walk in to your little suite. Includes fresh  bed linens, a work area, touch screen entertainment, WiFi, cool air, mood lighting and alarm clock.

 

Capsule Hotel

Resembling a honeycomb, rows of bunks offer a quiet space to climb up and into. Amenities include toiletries, locker, shower, bath towel, slippers and ambient system.

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, we can all agree that there is truly no place we would rather be than home.

Flying like the Rich and Famous

We all have one thing in common when flying, and that is the destination. The defining difference is what class (style) passengers choose to fly in. Every seasoned passenger has at one time, or another experienced the cramped quarters of Economy Class.

When boarding a plane, the path through First Class reveals the envy on our faces as we make our way to the back of the aircraft. Once the separating curtain is drawn to separate the two classes, one settles in for the flight while staring at the curtain as if the glare could burn it.

 

Airlines have taken First Class a step further in offering a class of travel that boggles the mind and empties the wallet. A style of flying across the skies provides the passenger the extravagance one can only dream of! Step aside “First Class,” meet “Super-First-Class!”

Luxury That Wraps Around You

You can have it all when flying in one of the suites on a luxury airliner. As a passenger, you will be pampered as you jet through the sky. Numerous airlines offer the new concept of suites.

 

Emirates Airlines

  • Private Suite with zero-gravity seats, virtual windows for center suites
  • Suite Amenities
    • Zero gravity seating
    • Virtual HD windows (for center suites)
    • Shower Spa
    • High-Grade leather Bulgari toiletry kit
    • Moisturizing loungewear with matching Slippers
    • Fine Dining: Chef Inspired cuisine served on Royal Daulton china and your personal Sommelier.
    • Access to lounge with top shelf drinks & 55” TV
  • Cost: Approximately $60,000

Etihad Airlines

Super-First-Class Residential Suite with living room, bedroom and shower room.

  • Suite Amenities
    • Living Room: leather seating, dining area, 32” TV, noise canceling headsets
    • Bedroom: Double bed with Italian linen, 27” TV, noise canceling headsets and Turn-Down service
    • Shower Room
    • Fine Dining: Chef-prepared cuisine
    • White Glove Butler Service
    • Concierge Service at check-In
  • Cost: Approximately $32,000

Singapore Airlines

  • Private Suite
  • Suite Amenities
    • Bed with luxurious linens
    • Lavatory appointed with vanity and exquisite toiletries
    • Fine Dining: Chef Inspired cuisine served on Wedgwood China
    • Access to lounge with top shelf drinks & 55” TV
  • Cost: Approximately $23,000

Qantas Airlines

  • Private Suite
  • Suite Amenities
    • Extra-wide bed with luxurious linens and Turn-Down service
    • Reclining seat with ottoman
    • Fine Dining: Restaurant styled 8-course menu, award-winning wines, and champagne with Sommelier service
    • Entertainment on touchscreens with noise canceling headsets
    • Personal telephone
    • Designer sleepwear
    • Toiletry kits
  • Cost: Approximately $13,500

Opulence When Flying

Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud is the owner of perhaps one of the most customized private jumbo jets in the world. Large enough to seat 800 passengers, this jet was entirely tailored to the wishes of the Prince. This aircraft is evident of what $484 million can buy!

A few of the amenities that this beauty possess are:

  • Garage for Rolls Royce that travels with the Prince
  • Dedicated Prayer area
  • Grand dining room
  • Tropical fish aquariums throughout
  • 5 Master Suites with king size beds
  • Sleepers for twenty people
  • Concert Hall complete with baby grand piano
  • Boardroom
  • Full-Size steam room
  • Well-Being room
  • Grand Spiral staircase

Famous and Flying

Many celebrities pilot their personal private aircraft, and although some forego the affluent customization, the opportunity to be an aviator is rewarding enough. However, there are the illustrious famous that desire to travel in a style that is reflective of their industry.

 

John Travolta

A licensed pilot himself, he boasts ownership of five aircraft as well as having an airport within reach of his back door.

 

John Denver

Licensed as a private pilot, he sadly died when flying his aircraft in 1997.

 

David Lee Roth

Who knew he has a passion for flying helicopters?

Ever Evolving

As aviation evolves, we will see aircraft adapt to the growing needs of society. The traditional commercial airplane has increased in size exponentially. Evidence of this is present in the concept of “Cruise-Ship” aircraft. Resembling an actual cruise ship in the air with deck after deck stacked upon each other, this monster climbs into the depths of the blue skies. Are we ready to fly on something that large since gravity is an aircraft’s worst enemy? Has flying lost its luster or is it just developing into a luxury out of reach for the average person?

“Last call for boarding…”

Different Types of Aircraft

We commonly refer to aircraft as a “plane” without giving it much thought. Aircraft come in many sizes, shapes, colors and have a specific purpose. There is nothing compared to watching the graceful beauty of an airplane slowly lift to take flight into the sky.

Three Key Reference “Terms”

Aircraft: refers to the machine that gains lift from the air as it defies gravity while remaining supported.

Crew: refers to the manned means to fly the aircraft.

Aviation: refers to the activity of human resources involved in the overall operation and use of the aircraft.

What Kind of Plane is It?

Aircraft are all genuine and unique in that they are designed to serve a specific purpose. Its  purpose is taken into account when classifying the aircraft (see below.)

 

CATEGORY  OF AIRCRAFT PURPOSE SUBCATEGORIES
Commercial

 

Carries passengers to destinations worldwide  
Cargo Carries cargo worldwide  
General Aviation

 

 

Flight instruction

Recreation

Sport

●       Single Engine

●       Multi-Engine

●       Rotorcraft (Helicopter, Gyroplane)

Military

 

 

Military operations

 

●     Jets

●     Cargo

●     General Aviation

●     Rotorcraft

●     Drones

Sea

 

Access to remote areas that require landing and taking off on water ●     Single Engine

●     Multi-Engine

Glider

 

Recreation

Sport

Military Training

 
Lighter Than Air

 

Recreation ●     Airship

●     Balloon

Powered Parachute Recreation

Sport

●       Land

●       Sea

How Much Do Planes Cost?

Flying is not a poor man’s hobby! When purchasing an aircraft, many things must be taken into consideration, not just the mere “sticker price.”

As with owning a car, there is maintenance and insurance that come along with having that car. A plane, however, is going to be an exorbitant expense. Flying the skies does not come at a discount. A good friend of mine was looking to purchase one of his own planes to teach his kid and to use it for fun. He’d hardly have the time but it’s his dream. When he isn’t working at http://www.plumbersofpalmbeach.com he just wants to be flying soaring the skies.

Here are just a few “sticker price” shockers… 

Commercial Aircraft           $50 – $87 billion or more

Small Single Engine           $30,000 – $400,000

Helicopter                          $250,000 – $1,700,000

Glider                                $20,000 – $300,000

Hot Air Balloon                   $22,000 – $50,000

The “Up-Keep” of Owning an Aircraft

Now that we have our eyes “wide open” on what an aircraft would cost to own, now let’s look at a sample of incidental expenses to own a small Multi-Engine aircraft.

 

Hangar Fee:                      $250 – $3,000 / month

Annual Inspection:             $1,200

Insurance:                         $1,300 / year

Misc. Maintenance:            $2,000 / year

Fuel:                                 $40 / hour while in use

Landing Fees:                   $50 / year

Engine Replacement:        $25,000 Every 1500 – 2000 hours

Propellor Replacement      $4,500 Every 1500 – 2000 hrs

Famous Owners of Aircraft

As we can see, owning an aircraft is lavishly indicative of wealth. While owning a plane is reserved for those that can afford it, many can travel via commercial air and still experience the pleasure and thrill of the flying.

Did you Know?…

  • Trump’s Personal Boeing 757 cost $100 million to build
  • Air Force One cost $660 million to build
  • The World’s Smallest Plane is 9’10” long with a wingspan of 7’2”
  • The Largest Plane in the World is the Stratolaunch. Much larger than a Boeing 747, this monstrosity weighs in at 500,000 pounds and has a wingspan longer than the length of a football field.

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Taking Command of the Blue Skies

Flying 101

It takes a genuine interest or passion for flying for one to become a pilot. Certain skills and a mature mindset are required to successfully command an aircraft. Although flying can be very rewarding, it requires a serious commitment of both time and money.

Different Types of Pilots

One needs to ask themselves what the goal is in learning to fly. Is it for pleasure, recreation, the start of a career as a professional pilot or perhaps being able to have a quicker mode of transportation at your fingertips?

Asking yourself what kind of pilot you wish to be is important, but also taking the expense incurred is equally so. Flying by some, is considered a regal luxury as it does not come cheap!

Type of Pilot Avg Hours of Flight Instruction Avg Cost of Flight Instruction Avg Salary (if pursued as a career)
Recreation / Sport 30-40 hrs $3,000-$5,000 n/a
Private / Charter 3 months $6,500-$12,000 $35,000-$65,000
Commercial Airline 4 months $75,000 $23,000-$250,000
Flight Instructor 2 months $66,000 $91,000-$111,000
Cargo 31 hrs $10,000 $25,000-$200,000
Regional Airline 4 months $70,000 $16,000-$60,000
Agriculture 3-4 weeks $14,000 $20,000-$70,000
Military 52 weeks Paid by DOD ($1 billion) $21,000-$100,000
Helicopter 60-70 hrs $10,000-$15,000 $29,000-$57,000
Corporate 1500 hrs $80,000-$134,000 $19,000-$200,000

Note: The above figures are based on “average.”

Do Your Homework BEFORE Selecting A Flight School

Finding a reputable flight school can be intimidating. Make an informed decision on where you will go based on asking yourself:

  • What kind of pilot do you want to be?
  • How much can you afford to pay for flight school?
  • Can you devote the required amount of time to attend flight school?
  • What kind of aircraft do want to fly?

While not only learning all there is to know about being up in the air, obtaining the academic knowledge on the “how,” “where,” and “when” to fly safely plays a key role to being a successful pilot.

Ground school consists of instructor-led classes or an online program taught as self-paced. The fundamentals of flying are the main focus. It helps to know what makes something go up and come down, rather than just assume it is so.

Two Types of Flight School

There are two categories of flight training and depending on what kind of pilot you choose to be, you will fall into one of these two categories. Each category defines the minimum requirements that each pilot is required to undergo for training and certification.

The two sections vary with differentiations focused on the structure of training time:

  • Part 61 – relaxed on timeline
  • Part 141 – more stringent on following a guided syllabus

Some employers require that their pilots have Part 141 training. Part 61 requires more self discipline for time management. Regardless of whether one decides on Part 61 or 141, the ultimate goal is to obtain a pilot’s license.

Part 61 Part 141
Minimum Total Flight Hours 40 35
Minimum hours with Certified Flight Instructor 20 20
Home study allowed for ground school yes no
Must attend formal ground school no yes
Night flying time 3 hrs 3 hrs
Dual Instruction 20 hrs 20 hrs
Instrument Instruction 3 hrs 3 hrs
Takeoffs / Landings at Night 10 full 10 full
Solo time (total) 10 hrs 11 hrs
Solo time (local) 5 hrs 2.5 hrs
Solo time (cross country) 5 hrs 8.5 hrs
Transfer to another flight school Yes with restriction 20-50% of time flown is accepted / credited