Fly Away | Urban Living
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Fly Away

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According to the Indonesian Jakarta Post, the five most dangerous airports in the world are Lukla in Nepal (super short runway—1,729 feet long compared to the average airport landing strip of 7,000-8,000 feet); the Madeira in Portugal, known for its narrow runway and high sea winds; Courcheval International in France which has a slope to it and is only 537 meters long; Barra in Scotland because the runway is simply a beach; and the three ice runways at McMurdo Station in the Antarctic where it's often dark and pilots need night vision glasses to land.

ABC News reports that the 10 scariest U.S. airports are Aspen/Pitkin County where pilots must be certified to land due to the swift decent from a high altitude; John Wayne in Santa Ana because pilots have extreme noise restrictions and must take off like a space shuttle; Midway in Chicago due to its short runways; Sitka-Rocky Gutierrez Airport in Alaska because it's mostly surrounded by water and boulders wash up on the tarmac all the time; Yeager in Charleston, West Virginia, because its short runway is located between two cliffs; San Diego International in California because pilots land downtown amid high-rises and often with strong tailwinds; LaGuardia in New York due to high traffic with jets often circling in low patterns waiting to land; Catalina (also in California) due to potholes in the runway and pilots having trouble seeing other planes around them; Telluride Regional in Colorado where "touch and go" landings are prohibited; and Regan National in Washington, D.C., where commercial pilots must maneuver through two no-fly zones over the Pentagon and CIA and, when taking off, must make a quick left turn so as not to crash into the White House.

Might I add to this scary list the South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan, Utah? It might not be frightening to pilots who take off and land in the middle of the Salt Lake Valley but, for residents, it's becoming more and more of a nightmare to see the planes come and go. Last month, a small plane came down out of the sky into a neighborhood and killed a 72-year-old woman sitting on her back porch, along with three people on the plane. It missed hitting the Bingham Highway full of cars and an unoccupied elementary school.

The airport is owned and operated by Salt Lake City and frankly, Salt Lake County has grown in the past few decades to the point that this place needs to move away from homes, just like the Utah State Prison has had to do. Given how close Tooele is to Salt Lake these days, let's give Tooele the business. I love small planes, and my grandson is a helicopter pilot, but eight crashes in 10 years from this airport are not acceptable ever. Development is not going away, and pilots have families, too!