A Peruvian might have coined the phrase, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Luckily for you, you don’t have to actually fly in or out of Chagual to experience your own personal “terrain alert” alarms going off. Just watch how close this aircraft comes to the craggy spurs and ridges before finally touching down:
If you consult your atlas, you may notice that the western coast of South America has a big-ass mountain range (“The Andes”) running along most of it. Situated almost exactly in the middle of said mountain range is a valley, in which a remote airstrip called Chagual exists. It has been called “The Most Difficult Landing In The World,” one of the many claims that we at Flight Club are constantly vetting. So far, this one checks out (surpassing even this insane Portugeuese runway built on stilts).
Although Chagual seems like a great place to visit, all good things must eventually come to an end. Fortunately, there’s excitement to be found in departing from Chagual, as well! The takeoff roll begins with a nice curve to the left before pilots have to firewall the engines in order to climb out of the valley. This is called a dogleg runway, in which a heading change is necessary during takeoff or landing.
At 3,967 feet MSL, the air at Chagual is just as thin as the margin for error. Fortunately, the last incident associated with Chagual took place over ten years ago, and involved a fatigued crew that had flown in and out of Chagual four times consecutively. While the aircraft in question (a Beechcraft 200) was damaged beyond repair, no lives were lost and no serious injuries were sustained among the 12 souls on board.
Have you ever been to Chagual? What would it take for you to fly there? Let us know in the comments!
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