Plane Spotting on Maho Beach

When I was young my friends and I used to have a spot near LaGuardia airport where we could be right underneath planes as they came in for a landing. It was a rush to see the huge metal birds, landing gear down, hurtle right over our heads. And it was a physical experience, too - the rumble and roar would shake you to the bone. I imagine being on Maho Beach, on the Dutch side the Caribbean island Sint Maarten, is like that but a hundred times more intense

People standing on the beach may also be blown into the water because of the jet blast from aircraft taking off from runway 10. The beach can also experience large waves which makes it popular with windsurfers and skimboarders. The local government warns that closely approaching and departing aircraft can “result in serious injury and/or death.” An additional fence has been added recently behind runway 10 to prevent irresponsible tourists from hanging on to the main fence surrounding the runway to be “blasted” by the aircraft engines’ flow.

Photographer Thomas Prior has some excellent photos of planes coming in low at Maho Beach… and of people being scattered by the jet blast. Click here to check out his portfolio.