Review by Marlon Carter. A few years ago, Just Planes visited Nepal to film the operations of Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines. While they were unable to capture flights into Lukla at that time, Just Planes has never given up on their quest to film the most dangerous airport in the world.
In their latest offering, Just Planes has given us the chance of a lifetime to experience the excitement of flying into and out of Lukla. In addition to filming cockpit flights, for the very first time we will also have the opportunity to enjoy more than an hour of airport clips that feature various aircraft landing and departing.
The first featured roundtrip flight in this program takes us from Kathmandu to Lukla onboard the Agni Air DO-228. After the aircraft was loaded we take a cockpit flight through the mountains of Nepal. The weather at the time was bit cloudy and this made the approach a bit bumpy. While on approach with the runway in sight to it was quite easy to see why this airport is one of the most dangerous in the world.
The approach was very fast and it allowed no room for error on the part of the pilots. After a tense landing and quick taxi uphill to the ramp, it became quite evident that nerves of steel are a mandatory requirement for pilots flying in this region.
To gain a better appreciation for the majestic experience of flying in the mountains of Nepal, Just Planes has included clips of each flight from a camera mounted on the exterior of the aircraft! The replay of our first flight gave us an entirely new perspective and appreciation for the beauty of this region that all will enjoy.
Our return trip to Kathmandu was equally as exciting as our landing. As we line up for departure, one can only imagine what is running through the minds of the pilots and passengers. Departing on a short runway is no problem for the DO-228 but when you factor in the possibility of an engine failure, turning for a safe landing may be quite a challenge due to the mountainous terrain that surrounds the airport. Nonetheless, we safely depart Lukla and after a 40 minute flight we arrive at Kathmandu in one piece.
The next segment of this program takes us back to Lukla for a spotter’s perspective. As we observe the operation of various flights into and out of Lukla one can truly appreciate the skill of these pilots. The types of aircraft that typically fly to Lukla are mainly Twin Otters and DO-228s but on various occasions, helicopters can also be seen operating in and out of this airport. This segment covers nearly 1 hours’ worth of action and I think this is definitely one of the shining points of this program.
As an added treat to the viewers, Just Planes takes us on a mountain flight onboard Guna Air’s B1900D. After a brief presentation by an airline representative, we join the flight crew for a tour through the mountains of Nepal. In addition to a cockpit view, this flight is also captured with a pilot cam which gives us a bird’s eye view of the beautiful scenery below.
The final segment of this program features the operations of Sita Air and their DO-228 flights to Nepalgunj, Simikot, Jumla, Simara and Kathmandu. This was a major highlight of this program as it features many fantastic views from the cockpit and exterior of the aircraft while flying to these remote airports.
My personal favorite was the approach to Simikot which was visually stunning from the camera mounted near the nose gear. I think that everyone who is a genuine aviation enthusiast will enjoy this video and will be equally impressed with the skill of the pilots that fly into these dangerous airports.
This video does not feature any cockpit presentations or aircraft walk rounds but it certainly makes up for this with nonstop action from the air and from the ground. This is definitely a program you don’t want to miss.
What I Like About Lukla
· Great scenery
· Creative editing and camera views
· Features very unique destinations and aircraft
· HD and widescreen format