To experience some real thrills in air travel, you do not have to wait until you land. Some of the world's airport runways will have your heart racing as soon as you see them from your plane window! 

Imagine landing so close to a beach that you can see people waving, or making a sharp turn between mountains just to line up with the runway.

These are where every landing and takeoff tests the skills and nerve of the best pilots out there. There's one that ends right by the ocean, another where planes zoom over sunbathers' heads.

Read on and see the five thrilling airport runways in the world that will have your heart racing.

Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten

5 Thrilling Airport Runways That Will Have Your Heart Racing

(Photo : Lawrence Lansing on Wikimedia Commons)

You might think twice about spreading out your beach towel at Maho Beach because planes land just above your head! This beach sits at the end of the runway of Princess Juliana International Airport. 

The airport runways are notorious for how close they get to sunbathers. Because the runway is only 7,150 feet long, planes need to get as close as they can to the start of it. Tourists get a rush from the roar of the engines, but it comes with a sign warning about the dangers of jet blasts.

Gibraltar International Airport, Gibraltar

5 Thrilling Airport Runways That Will Have Your Heart Racing

(Photo : Screengrab image from efbeVideo on YouTube)

Landings and takeoffs at Gibraltar International Airport are an unusual sight, thanks to its unique location. The runway stretches across the width of the peninsula, with water on both sides. But here is the real kicker: a popular road crosses right over the runway. 

Cars and planes are stopped alternately by signal lights, a rare sight at any airport. Pilots really have to keep their cool, navigating both air and road traffic.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport, Nepal

5 Thrilling Airport Runways That Will Have Your Heart Racing

(Photo : Screengrab image taken from Ryan Van Duzer on YouTube)

Ever wanted to start your hike at Everest Base Camp with a heart-pounding landing? Tenzing-Hillary Airport, also known as Lukla Airport, is your starting line. Perched at an altitude of 9,000 feet in the Himalayas, this airport has one of the most extreme airport runways. 

The runway is very short, only 1,500 feet long, and ends with a drop into the valley below. Weather conditions like high winds and cloud cover add to the thrilling landing experience.

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Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba

5 Thrilling Airport Runways That Will Have Your Heart Racing

(Photo : Screengrab image taken from ETC Wings on YouTube)

If you ever fly into Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, the approach will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is tucked on a cliff surrounded by the sea on three sides and steep hills on the fourth. 

The runway is incredibly short, just 1,300 feet long, making it one of the world's shortest commercial airport runways. Only small aircraft can manage this airstrip, making every landing a precise maneuver. It is a breathtaking introduction to the stunning island of Saba.

Courchevel Airport, France

5 Thrilling Airport Runways That Will Have Your Heart Racing

(Photo : Screengrab image taken from Razgriz Flight & Spotting on YouTube)

Skiing right off the plane sounds like a dream, but at Courchevel Airport, it is a brisk reality. This airport is located in the French Alps and features a downhill runway. The airport's runway is short, at just 1,760 feet, and it also has a downward gradient, which makes stopping a challenge. 

Pilots must be highly skilled to handle both the landing and the immediate takeoff, as the airport runways also deal with frequent fog and snow. This spot truly combines extreme sports with extreme landings.

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