(Y’know, as opposed to Juneau, North Korea. :p)
I was in Alaska last week on a family trip, including fishing for salmon in the Copper River delta. Our flight to Cordova (on a standard jet airliner) stopped in Juneau and Yakutat.
The approach in Juneau was rather alarming. We’re coming in at an apparently normal angle and speed, and then, suddenly, at what felt like maybe a thousand feet off the ground, directly over a neighborhood, suddenly the 737 banks sharply, makes a hard turn, levels out, drops fast, and lands quickly.
And I’m like: :eek: WTF?
Then, on the departure, we do the normal taxi, accelerate, lift off, routine — and the aircraft’s nose angles up much more steeply than seems normal, like we’re desperately trying to get into the air before slamming into something.
Now that I’m home, I’ve looked into the geography of Juneau a bit, and the city is ensconced in sort of a bowl. Obviously, that makes designing an airport quite a challenge. And the approach, for someone not expecting it, was, like I said, fairly unsettling; the takeoff likewise.
How much of this was my imagination? Is landing and taking off in Juneau as extremely different as it felt?
And how dangerous is this airport, really? Do they mandate specialized training or experience for airline pilots before allowing them to navigate the airspace?
*Obligatory footnote: Alaska was gorgeous. I saw only the tiniest sliver of it and I would go back in a heartbeat.