Greek interlude - Skiathos airport landing/takeoff and Mirage crash and recovery Samos
Back from our hols last week - here we are having just landed at Skiathos airport in the Aegean sea. Skiathos lies only a few miles off the Greek mainland and has some beautiful beaches and green scenery - and a big enough runway for a 757, but with sea at both ends, landings and takeoffs can still give the impression of being a little hairy to the uninitiated ! The end of the runway is just a five minute walk from bus stop no. 1 and provides great viewing and filming opportunities. It's not quite St. Maarten but still impressive. Not that I bothered overly - the beaches on Skiathos are just too good to waste time..superb.
" Skiathos Airport is Europe’s equivalent to St Maarten in the Caribbean, where aircraft literally pass right before your eyes while landing...".
One or two interesting facts; only aircraft Captains can land their aircraft here - if the Captain is incapacitated for whatever reason then the First Officer must divert. As it is airliners often have to make a refuelling stop-over on the Greek mainland because of the weight issues involved at Skiathos. The biggest aircraft to land at Skiathos was an Air Italy B 767 in June 2011 (while I was there) - special dispensation had to be sought from the local aviation authority after the original aircraft planned for the sector went technical. The aircraft was flown in by one of the airline's most experienced Captains. The local authority are planning a 300 foot extension which will presumably encroach on the beach at the far (sea) end of the runway.
And here's the travalogue
Eslsewhere in the Aegean islands while we were away, the HAF were busy retrieving a two-seat Mirage 2000 BGM that came down in the sea off Samos on 9 June 2011 after experiencing a technical malfunction while on a low level maritime patrol. Both crew ejected safely. The aircraft was retrieved from a depth of 250 ft