A night landing on the moving deck of an aircraft carrier has always been regarded as the most difficult landing approach for aviators. We think the Toncontín Airport in Honduras might actually beat that.
Toncontín International Airport, located 6 km (3.72 miles) from downtown Tegucigalpa, Honduras, has long been considered to be one of the most difficult, dangerous landings for any large commercial airliner thanks in part to its unusual mountainous location. Add to that an extremely short runway (runway 02), one of the world's shortest, that's merely 6,112 feet in length (LAX features roughly 3,000 additional feet for large aircraft) and you've got a recipe for armrest-death-gripping, butt-clenching, nervous excitement.
To be more accurate, the actual landing distance of runway 02 is only 5442 feet with an approach that requires pilots to utilize everything their training didn't prepare them for. The mountainous terrain surrounding the small airport forces an approach that's anything but head on, resulting in a fast decent and a sharp turn prior to lining up with the runway. Frequent gusts of wind complicate matters even further, requiring quick yaw adjustments to the vertical stabilizer's rudder, pitch adjustments to the horizontal stabilizer's elevators and roll adjustments to the wing's ailerons in order to angle the aircraft for a sane final approach.
Check out the video to the left to see the entire approach from the cockpit of a Boeing 737 which includes the pilot's sincere feelings about the whole ordeal once he's safely taxiing off the runway.
The largest aircraft allowed to land at Toncontín are Boeing 757s, but there have been times when larger aircraft have landed, such as a DC-8 passenger airliner and this U.S. Air Force Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) C-17 Globemaster III. We're sure military pilots are much better suited for tricky landings than their commercial counterparts, but anyone attempting to delicately drop a (roughly) 115 ton bird out of the sky has bigger gonads than us.