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Cruachan

St Maarten - Cor Blimey!

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Hi Mike,That video actually is kind of deceiveing... there's a pretty good distance between the end of the runway and the houses on the hill. The departing aircraft make that turn WELL before the hills. (though it's not as great a distance as would be preferred!)If you look at a "top down" view of the airport on Google Earth, you'll see there is a lagoon at the end of the runway and the departing aircraft make their southward turn over that lagoon.It looks deceiving on video, but there's a bit of a safety margin before the hills.KLM heavies (MD-11 and 744), for example, are pretty light when they depart TNCM because they fly a very short revenue leg from St. Maarten to Curacao (which has a longer runway) and take on a full load of fuel there before their trip back to Amsterdam, therefore, they are pretty light on their departure from St. Maarten and can climb rather quickly.Air France, on the other hand, manages to get those sluggish A340's out of there and go direct to Europe.. so they don't climb as quickly out of St. Maarten as the 744's.. but they do manage to make that sharp turn out to the south!Incidentally, the wind and turbulence over that hill is what really necessitates the immediate turn... even the area over the lagoon gets swirling winds and makes the ride a little bumpy!:-eek I've piloted a turboprop out of TNCM on a couple of occasions and it gets a little bumpy on the climb.. at least until you've cleared the island and are outbound on the PJM VOR. :-)- Alex

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I believe, but could be wrong, that the French aircraft still go to Guadeloupe before returning back across the ocean.At least they did when I lived on Antigua - but that was 28-25 years ago.

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>I believe, but could be wrong, that the French aircraft still>go to Guadeloupe before returning back across the ocean.>>At least they did when I lived on Antigua - but that was 28-25>years ago.Hi Reggie...I just ammended my post because I found that Air France DOES go direct to LFPG from TNCM...That must be one AGONIZING climb out of TNCM in an A340-300!! LOL!- Alex

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