Lanzarote generally enjoys a northerly breeze, which means aircraft land over the sea on runway 03, with a pretty straightforward approach. When the wind blows the “wrong” way, however, incoming aircraft have to come in over the mountains, dropping onto runway 21, just over the main road at Playa Honda. To add complication, there is no instrument landing system from this direction, which means pilots must land the aircraft manually, using instruments when there’s cloud (as it often the case with a southerly wind) and visual references when it clears.
We found this excellent video on You Tube, shot from the jump seat in a Boeing 737 and looking right over the pilot’s shoulder. You can see how high his workload is on the approach, how close the aircraft gets to the mountains, and how much rudder is needed on the roll out to keep the aircraft running straight.
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