On this airport, it seems the runway end with a wall followed by a mountains. Thus the pilots physically can't overrun the runway and if they decide to interrupt the landing, the go-around maneuver seems to include a very tight turn to avoid the mountain unless performed very soon during the approach. Is it possible to perform a go-around, and a which point it becomes impossible for this particular airport?


No, it is almost impossible.

The only runway (06/24) Lukla Airport is just 1500 feet long. This article lists some interesting facts:

The topography of the place makes any go-around impossible. At the south, the runway is the end of an angled drop of about 2000 feet. This cliff is fenced off as a precautionary measure. At the northern end of the runway there is a huge mountain terrain. It leaves no room for error.

A pilot mentions the same here:

"Because there is no way to go around again, we have to calculate many things like air speed, tail wind, fog. If you don't do the proper calculation or proper exercise, then it (an accident) happens."

Planes land on runway 06 (Heading 060 or ENE) and takeoff from runway 24 (Heading 240 or WSW). This picture shows the cliff on North:

Lukla Airport from air

There have been several accidents at this airport.

  • $\begingroup$ Please be a bit more specific. What kind of plane are you asking about? Helicopter? What is a go around (i.e., the pilot can make the decision to divert and go elsewhere. At what distance do you consider that to be a go around and not just a diversion?) To get a good answer to an interesting question, you need a bit more specificity. $\endgroup$ – Skip Miller Sep 29 '14 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ @SkipMiller It appears that OP is familiar with most of the clarifications you are asking. Mostly airplanes land on that airport. If we talk about go-around vs diversion, I feel that it would become off topic on this thread. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Farhan Sep 29 '14 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed with @farhan - the question is clearly regarding a go around (ie an aborted landing while on approach) rather than a diversion. $\endgroup$ – Jon Story Dec 12 '14 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ This is not quite correct - it is possible to go-around at Lukla. I've seen it done. That said, by the time you realise you need to go-around it's often too late, the tricky bit is just before the threshold (lots of shear there) and your options are very limited at that point. $\endgroup$ – os1 Jul 11 '17 at 7:35
  • $\begingroup$ @sp1 I said the same thing. You just reworded my premise and down voted. $\endgroup$ – Farhan Jul 11 '17 at 17:29

Hi guys few days ago a twin otter did make an aborted landing and made a "go around" at the airport and headed back to Kathmandu. This is the first time such an incident happened although there has been numerous crashes in the past.

Here is a link to the video.

  • $\begingroup$ Scary move! Back to Kathmandu for a change of underwear. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima May 4 '16 at 7:54
  • $\begingroup$ That's a flight delay I'd be happy to accept. Yikes!! $\endgroup$ – FreeMan May 4 '16 at 15:59

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