I love finding features about the world’s scariest, dangerous looking airports — like this one at Travel + Leisure. The fact is, if a major carrier is running commercial service into it, it’s got to be pretty safe, no matter how scary it may look to the layman. Hell, if it’s paved it’s better than the vast majority of the bush airstrips you’ll find dotted all over the globe. And as a glider pilot, I’m used to the idea of landing in places where there aren’t any airstrips at all. So I think I’m relatively unflappable when it comes to runways.
Recently, though, I flew out of a small airstrip in Belize that had me thinking: “Holy crap!” As you’ll see in the video above, we barely made it off the ground before we ran out of runway, and as we cleared the line of trees at the end the stall horn briefly sounded, meaning we barely had enough speed to stay airborne. We were flying a small Australian bush plane from the dirt runway at Lamanai, in Belize. The good news: the runway is slated to be replaced by a new one that will be paved. The bad news: the new one will only be 1500 feet long. Yee-haw!