I thought St. Maarten was a fairly straightforward approach that just was really close to a beach. That changes everything. Knowing the whole "no
ILS" business, St. Maarten now seems like the closest thing (post-Kai Tak) to landing a civilian airliner on a carrier.
From what I understand, when you're on final, you can't really see the runway well until you're within a mile or two. They were coming down through a
storm, with no ILS, and poor visibility. They were lucky.
Talk about a pucker-inducing experience. I can only imagine coming out of cloud cover and seeing nothing but water for nearly 1/2 mile. I'm sure
that was a "when your career flashes in front of your eyes" moments for that poor flight crew.
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