Article: Reno Home to One of America's 'Scariest Airports'
Ever grabbed that airplane armrest a little tighter during takeoff? Well you may have been taking off or landing at one of the scariest airports in the country. And that would include….Reno-Tahoe International Airport?
Standing in the middle of the action underneath the skier statue, the airport's Brian Kulpin shook his head a bit and said, "You know, being in the aviation business, I had to chuckle a little bit." He's talking about an article on Yahoo Travel, listing the airports most difficult to land or take off from. Reno's in the top 10. The article generated hundreds of comments. One says, "I heard it's extremely scary flying in and out of Reno. They have sharp descents and ascents."
Brian Kulpin's response? "Well, we have people that ski for basically that. That's part of the culture. That's why we have a ski statue in the middle of the airport." A warm-up, to skiing a jump? "You know, pretty much."
Ok, so maybe we should call this one of the more "thrilling" airports to land in or take off from. The fact is, this is still the safest way to travel, besides maybe your own 2 feet. But it just sometimes doesn't always seem that way. In his 51 years as a pilot, William M. Ardies has flown commercial jets in and out of Reno countless times. He calls our airport, "tricky." As he told us, "I believe that's because of the mountains. You come in fairly high, and then you have to kill a lot of altitude to get down to the deal."
Reno-Tahoe has a runway elevation of over 4,000 feet. The high elevation, combined with low air density from summer heat affects lift. Kulpin says Reno has already compensated for that, with long airstrips for planes to get up in the air. "One is 11,000 feet, the other is 9,000 feet. They're longer than the typical, yes, by far."
And passengers like Amir Pishdad, visiting from Florida, understand that pilots also compensate. You know, they are the experts, so we put our lives in their hands and I'm sure they know what they're doing, so we don't hesitate to come."
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