Stunning time-lapse footage of the jaw-dropping ‘captains only’ approach through the Alps to one of Europe’s most dangerous airports
- Taking off and landing at Innsbruck Airport is so tricky that only captains are permitted to be at the controls
- Planes pass thrillingly close to the mountains, as shown by this footage shot by a commercial airline pilot
- Autopilot is not allowed and the captain must grapple with low-level wind shear and turbulence
Taking off and landing at Innsbruck Airport in Austria is so tricky that only captains are permitted to be at the controls.
But for passengers, the challenge on the approach is keeping reactions to seeing the stunning Alpine scenery outside to below-hysteria levels.
Planes pass thrillingly close to the mountains, as shown by this stunning time-lapse footage shot by a commercial British airline pilot flying as a passenger.
A commercial pilot shot a stunning time-lapse video of the approach to Innsbruck Airport in Austria
Charlotte the Pilot explained that landings at Innsbruck Airport are ‘captains only’
‘Charlotte the Pilot’ filmed the clip on her iPhone as the flight she was on earlier this year for a ski trip descended to Innsbruck through a real winter wonderland.
Charlotte explained to MailOnline Travel just why only those sitting in the left-hand seat are allowed to land planes there.
She said: ‘Flying into beautiful, picturesque Innsbruck in Austria is a “captain’s only” landing.
‘That’s because it’s one of the most challenging airports in Europe. Airports are mostly categorised as ‘A – no special procedures necessary’, ‘B – a little more out of the ordinary’, ‘C – only flown by captains who have undergone specific simulator training and have also sat in the jump seat for takeoff and landing’.
Charlotte said that Innsbruck is ‘one of the most challenging airports in Europe’
Pilots are not allowed to use autopilot on the approach and must grapple with low level wind shear and turbulence
Strobes set up on the roofs of local buildings help to guide pilots in to Innsbruck
‘The Alpine town of Innsbruck is a category C airport for many different reasons.
‘Situated at the bottom of the Inn valley, it’s surrounded by terrain – mountains – rising to nearly 8,000ft.
‘The visual manoeuvre means no autopilot, which can be made even trickier by low-level wind shear and turbulence associated with high winds and the mountains.
‘So even with the best visibility, the approach requires years of experience in the cockpit. Strobe lighting on the roofs of local buildings help with the approach but it’s still a challenge.
‘However, as a passenger the views are spectacular either at night or equally in daylight as you can see from my time-lapse video. So you can sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery.’