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10 U.S. Airports Pilots Don’t Like Flying Into

10 U.S. Airports Pilots Don’t Like Flying Into
Jennifer Billock

For pilots, some airports are just more difficult to fly into than others—whether it’s thanks to uneven terrain, weird flight path restrictions, or even just short runways; a recent study by Honeywell shows the top ten hardest airports to fly a jet into, and the company is developing tools to make it easier.

Forty-one percent of airline accidents and incidents happen on or close to the runway—and some airports raise that percentage, like San Diego and its mountainous terrain, Washington D.C.’s flight path restrictions, and LaGuardia’s short runways. Honeywell Aerospace recently used test pilots to fly into airports across the country, compiling a list of the top ten most challenging airports to fly into.

The top ten most difficult airports per Honeywell’s ranking are:

1. Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (Aspen, CO)
2. Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport (Bullhead City, AZ)
3. Bert Mooney Airport (Butte, MT)
4. Yellowstone Regional Airport (Cody, WY)
5. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (Washington D.C.)
6. Juneau International Airport (Juneau, AK)
7. LaGuardia Airport (Queens, NY)
8. Mammoth Yosemite Airport (Mammoth Lakes, CA)
9. San Diego International Airport (San Diego, CA)
10. Telluride Regional Airport (Telluride, CO)

The company, though, is working to make these airports—and landing at any airport—a little less difficult. It recently released an iPad app for pilots that helps them prepare for difficult landings and provides weather updates in real time. There are also apps that show the flight path in bad weather, and ones that predict turbulence before it happens.

“As technology evolves, the quality of their ride will improve,” Honeywell test pilot Nate Turner told Conde Nast Traveler. “It will make for a smoother flight.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (9)


  1. amanuensis


    December 20, 2018 at 9:13 am

    The headline is misleading. The article provides a list of the ten most challenging airports to land at, not the ten airports that pilots least like flying into. I suspect that many pilots like the challenge of landing at a challenging airport, and thus look forward to landing at them.

  2. tommygreece

    December 20, 2018 at 10:11 am

    The powers that be in NY are spending huge chunks of money to fix the terminals at LGA, and honestly, it looks better and better as each day passes, but if they are going to spend this much, couldn’t they allocate a portion to making the runways longer and safe ?

  3. biggerduck

    December 20, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    From the perspective of this passenger It is also no fun landing at Logan and at San Fran especially on rainy foggy days.

  4. paj9zo

    December 22, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    From a passenger’s perspective (I’m not a pilot), if you sit on the left side of a plane landing at LaGuardia when it flies over the Citi Field, the shortness of the runway, which is bordered by water, makes one feel like they are landing on an aircraft carrier. And yes, why not spend some of the money on lengthening the runways.

  5. darthbimmer

    December 22, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Article would be way more interesting with even a one-line explanation of why each airport is on the list. I suspect the reasons are airspace congestion/difficult approach routes for the big-city airports and short runways at the others.

  6. bonoman

    December 22, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Agree, that is a TERRIBLE title.

  7. Danwriter

    December 22, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    You cant make the runways at LGA longer. The airport has the city on one side and the Hellgate channel on the other. It’s physically impossible to expand it.

  8. Mtothe M

    December 22, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Those “Wild West” airports are no joke – lots of wind and short runways. Watch Airplane repo a few times and see what I mean…

  9. rolling_stone

    December 28, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    That ain’t nothing compared to landing in St. Barts in the French West Indies.

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