The World’s Most Dangerous Approach – Paro, Bhutan


– I’m going to fly on Bhutan
Airlines 8319 on a flight to Paro. – Our boarding time is 8:13, and after the immigration checks, on the right-hand side, there is the Radisson lounge and you can use the Radisson lounge, okay? Have a nice flight, sir. – [Sam] Thank you. (upbeat music) You can use your credit
card, a Lounge Key or a Priority Pass to come to the lounge. (upbeat music) Good morning from
Kathmandu Airport Lounge. And today I’m going to
fly to Paro, Bhutan. If you don’t know where Bhutan is, it’s a landlocked country in the Himalayas between China, India, and Nepal. But as an Aviation geek, Bhutan
is very special because Bhutan is well known for its dangerous and unique approach in to their airport. The airport is situated between
the mountains in the valley. So guys, I’m very excited,
and let’s go and fly. (aeroplane engine roaring) – This is our plane, welcome aboard. – Hot towel sir ? – [Sam] Thank you. – What would you like to drink sir? There’s a drink menu. Please turn to the list, sir. – [Sam] Orange juice. (upbeat music) – Hello, and welcome aboard, Sam. My name is Chenga, and I’m the Chief Pilot
of Bhutan Airlines. Today, the flight will be
from Kathmandu to Paro. The flight time will be just about approximately about 40 minutes. And today we are expecting
to climb at least around, subject to traffic, around
33,000 or maybe 35,000 feet, and we’re expecting good
weather on this route. And as we, maybe after 15 minutes or so, we might see Mount
Everest, so as we go I’ll, I’ll point them out to you. Thank you, welcome aboard. (upbeat music) – Cockpit? – [Cockpit] Yes, sir? – We’re just scanning hand signals
on the right, thank you. (cockpit responds) Bye-bye. (upbeat music) – Bhutan Air 774 to depart next (tower responds) Next to all the plane, the
co-run is 02 Bhutan Air 774. (Chenga speaking softly)
Clear, I said. Next to all the plane a
co-run is 02 Bhutan Air 774. Are we clear to Paro, Gulf 34872708. This one ground departure,
Smoke 2510 Bhutan Air 774. (plane engine roaring) Before takeoff check list. – Right.
– Flight controls? – Check.
– Check. Flight instruments?
– Check. – Check, briefing?
– Confirmed. – Flaps setting?
(Chenga speaks softly) V1, VR, V2, flex temperature?
– 1-2-7, 1-2-7, 1-40-8. – What?
– Flex 50. – 1-2-7, 1-2-7, 1-4-8, flex 5-0. ATC, set. ECAM Memo?
– I don’t know who. – Down with the 90. – Today, we are lucky. Fortunately, not much traffic, But, most of the time, because of the traffic conditions and the parking stands, we end up holding sometimes for almost 45 minutes or at least one hour. We can end up waiting for that long
but today we are fortunate. – [Tower] Bhutan Air
774 line up on the 02. – [Copilot] Line up on
the 02, Bhutan Air 774. (upbeat music)
(plane engine roaring) [Cheng] So we have the backs all green. (audio from tower)
(copilot speaking) – Runway 02, confirm.
(audio from tower] Cabin crew?
– Advised. (Copilot speaking)
– We are ready. (Cheng and copilot speaking) – Packs?
– On. – Before lift off checklist?
– Done. – Okay, done. (upbeat music) – [Tower] Bhutan Air 774,
clear (muffled instructions) Runway 02, clear for takeoff. – [Copilot] Take this one (muffled speech) Clear for takeoff, Runway
02, Bhutan Air 774. – [Cheng] Are you ready? Ready?
– Ready. – Ready, go. – Stabilised.
(plan engine revving) (audio from tower) – Check. We’re all set. (plane engine roaring) – [Tower] 4519 (muffled instructions) (Copilot and tower conversing) (plane rattling) – 3-1. Rocking. (plane engine rattling) All systems light up. – Yep. Check. (audio from tower) – [Cheng] (speaking softly) Bhutan Air 774 (speaking softly) – [Tower] Bhutan Air 774 Continue climb to flight level, 2-7-0 continue to climb. – Correcting the plan level
2-7-0-8 Bhutan Air 774. (upbeat music) – [Tower] Bhatan Air 774
input crossing level. – [Cheng] Crossing 8,300 Bhutan Air 774. – [Tower] Bhutan 774 identified. – Between Kathmandu and
New Delhi you see almost the top 10 highest mountains
in the world, except K2. – On the centre, just between the… within
a span of less than two hours, you almost see the top 10 highest
mountains in the world. So exactly left of me, that is Cho Oyu. That is the 6th highest
mountain in the world. And you can see a pointed peak there with some snow getting blown off. That is Everest. That is the highest point
around Mount Everest. The height is measured at 8,850 metres. And just close to Mt. Everest
you see another mountain. That is Lhotse. That is supposed to be
the 4th highest mountain in the world, Mount Lhotse. And the height of Mount
Lhotse is 8,516 metres. The last one that you see is Mount Makalu. That is number five, 5th
highest mountain in the world. And the height of Mount
Makalu is 8,463 metres. (upbeat music) Around twenty years back, we used to find that this
area had a lot of snow. A lot of snow between
this Himalayan range. But as you can see, you know, now we don’t see much snow. Sadly, I think that clearly shows that global warming is
taking a big role here. (upbeat music) – It’s a 40-minute flight. This is very nice. This is like a chicken
pie here, very nice. Cheers. – I’d like to welcome you on board. – Wow. – This is something just yours. – Wow, so nice, thank you so much. – This is a welcome gift
to welcome you to town. – Wow, look at this. It says, “Bhutan Airlines
welcomes you on board.” Beautiful cake. Let’s enjoy this cake
together with all the crew. The captain, first officer. You guys are so kind. Lets share with everyone
later when we land in Paro. – Sure, sir. – Yeah? Alright, excellent. Thank you so much. (soft music) – [Cheng] There, that’s Bhutan Mountain. The left one is Jomolhari, that is the second highest mountain in Bhutan. – [Sam] Oh! – [Cheng] Yeah,and slightly
to the right is Jitchu Drake. Then we have Masangang,
then it’s Balonchista. Sam, so what we are going to do now… We have just about 14 miles to go and then we will have the visual. So normally, once we have the
visual, we always turn this GPWS system off. Because normally it’s a known standard. We’re supposed to follow the
instruction of what the… That means we are close to the mountains. Since we have the visual, we
always turn this one off. (signal beep) – GPWS off?
– Yeah. (plane engine roaring) (beep) Once you push it, the GPWS will fall. (mechanical whining)
Gear down. (plane engine roaring) Bhutan Air 774. – [Tower] Bhutan Air 774
(muffled instructions). – So the airport is just here behind this. Just behind this cloud. So what we’re doing is
we’re landing on Runway 3-3. So Sam, our viewer is just
over the hill, just over there. The reason why we had to keep this viewer is just to get the signal. Normally, the viewer is right at the airfield next to the runway. Here, in order to get the signal, the concept people are quickly going in order to get the signal. So we are just over the hill, and the airfield is just behind the hill. – [Sam] Right. – [Cheng] So what we’re doing is we’re trying to lose the height and trying to fly between the valley. And then our aim is to… You can see there’s a bridge there. – [Sam] Yeah. – That’s where we’re aiming there and we’re looking for about 12,000 feet. And we call this a confluence because this is where two rivers from Thimphu
and Paro meet. So we are heading towards the bridge, and then we’re going to
make a slight left turn and head towards the airfield. You can see the airfield just now. Now you don’t see it. You’ll see airfield
only at the last minute. Only at the last moment
will you be able to see over there, because of the hills. – [Sam] Ah, it’s hiding. – It’s hiding, yeah. – [Sam] Yeah. – Let’s do it, the landing checklist. – [Copilot] Landing checklist. Cabin crew? – Advised.
– Cabin crew. – Advised.
– Autothrust? – Speed.
– Autobrakes? ECAM MEMO?
– Steady. – And I’m a Buddhist so
I have to pray to God. And we have a lot of monasteries here. Can you see there’s a
lot of monasteries here? There, one monastery there, one monastery, and one is below here. We have a lot of monasteries here. (plane engine roaring) – [Electronic Voice] 2,500. – [Copilot] Bhutan Air
774 (speaking softly). (plane engine roaring)
(mechanical whirring) – We have a… you can see
there’s another monastery here. There, one more monastery,
there’s Paro Taktsang. It’s a very popular monastery. And, further left, you
can see another monastery. (plane engine roaring)
(solemn music) – [Electronic Voice] 1,000. – [Copilot] Flight, stabilised. – [Electronic Voice] 500. – [Electronic Voice] 500. – [Electronic Voice] 200. – [Electronic Voice] 50. – [Electronic Voice] 40, 30, 20, retard, retard, retard, retard. – [Copilot] Spoilers. GUSB? It’s in. (plane engine roaring) (Copilot speaking softly) (Audio from tower)
(Mechanical clicking) (Audio from tower) (upbeat music) – I never could dream of doing a landing into Paro, the world’s
most challenging airport. I just want to know, is it only captains that can land
at this airport, I heard? – Yes, only captains are allowed here. – Only captains allowed. – Yes, captains are allowed, and it will take a minimum of at least, a minimum of eight to 10 years
to qualify for the captains. – Eight to 10 years for first officers- – Minimum. – to become a captain
to land at this airport. – Yes, that’s minimum. – I heard also, like,
there’s only like 15 captains certified and qualified to land here. – Approximately, we have local pilots, about 15, approximately 15 local pilots. – Thrilling. It’s thrilling, really thrilling. Until last minute, you turn
and you see the runway. – [Cheng] Welcome to Bhutan. – [Sam] Amazing, thank
you, sir, thank you. – [Cheng] I’m sure more than landing, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Bhutan, as well. – Thank you so much
for the cake, everyone. It’s so amazing and such an honour to come to the beautiful
country of Bhutan. (speaking foreign language) (clapping)
– It’s a beautiful cake. (speaking foreign language) (powerful music) – I’m already doing plane spotting, 10 minutes after landing. So this is the beautiful
Paro International Airport. From this view point here, really high up, you can see the whole terminal. Beautiful day, and you
can also see da tzong, which is like a palace museum of Paro, and then you can see the
mountains with snow cover. (plane taking off) (birds chirping)
(plane engine roaring) (whooshing) (ding)


100 Responses

  1. Jens Buche

    September 21, 2019 3:04 am

    Fantastic explanation. The comment about global warming and the clouds was really informative. Keep flying safely, we are depending on you!

  2. LB Stih

    September 24, 2019 2:32 am

    Wow,wow,wow,pilot seems to have such a beautiful personality,knowledge and he is so proud of his country.I'd love to visit Nepal,Butan,Laos& ex Burma now Myanmar .Great video Sam ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ž

  3. Charl Cornelissen

    September 24, 2019 5:02 am

    Amazing part of the world. Love Nepal, definitely also want to visit Bhutan. Namastรฉ. What a tight approach, excellent pilot skills. Great video. ๐Ÿ™

  4. Almira Taino

    September 24, 2019 7:41 am

    Bhutan ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡น is on of my bucket list to visit. See u soon beautiful country of Bhutan greetings from Philippines ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ

  5. Vivek Krishnan

    September 24, 2019 6:25 pm

    He is flying two carbon exhaust machines over the snow caped mountains talking about global warming… nice..

  6. Nov W

    September 26, 2019 1:38 am

    Humble pilot. Beautiful people and beautiful land and country ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ i hope i will go to Bhutan one day.

  7. Sinclair Jones

    September 26, 2019 7:32 am

    First the pilots are extremely professional, knowledgeable, respectful, friendly with positive attitudes. The country looks very beautiful. Praying before landing is a sign of respect. This has to be an airport the only allow flighrs during daylight hours. Navigating the terrain is truly amazing. Those pilots have an outstanding skills. The pilots conduct themselves like they receive military training. Great cideo.

  8. Anonymously Alimi

    September 27, 2019 6:12 pm

    My dreamland Bhutan..I just want to settle down there๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ
    I'm from India

  9. Darren T

    September 28, 2019 5:17 pm

    This is the most thrilling and exciting videos I have seen. I feel proud of the captain and first-officer for their professionalism and expertise. They are very proud of their country. Thank you @Sam Chui for showing the world this amazing airport.

  10. OnkelBenz

    September 28, 2019 5:45 pm

    10:52 the moment when the pilot starts to pray I will get in panic ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฏ๐Ÿฅถ๐Ÿ˜ฑ
    But he is an amazing Pilot with amazing skills. Well done.

  11. Fatimah Bin Halimah

    September 28, 2019 6:53 pm

    I may be of a different religion but it's always a good thing that pilot prayed before landing such a dangerous/challenging strip. Great job to the pilot.

  12. adhi tama

    September 29, 2019 8:12 am

    Sam thank you so much for this video!
    It reaply shows how challenging it is to land in that airport. Even still have to make a turn so near before landing.
    Salute to the captain for his skills!

  13. _AURASA_

    September 29, 2019 8:48 pm

    Sam: It's thrilling. It's really thrilling. Until the last minute, you turn and you see the runway
    Cheng the pilot: Welcome to Bhutan

  14. Hitesh Bhati

    September 30, 2019 3:55 pm

    This is a risky maneuver as pilot may get distracted and cause a serious consequences. Same had happened in past. Pilot must followsterile cockpit rule.

  15. ุชุญูŠุง ุฅู…ุจุฑุงุทูˆุฑูŠุฉ ุชูˆู†ุณ ุงู„ุนุธู…ู‰ ุงูƒุณูŠู„ ุงู„ู…ุธูุฑ

    October 1, 2019 11:28 am

    This pilot is a pro

  16. ์ฃผ์ฃผ์—˜

    October 2, 2019 10:09 am

    I can say just WOW! What a professional with beauty.
    Thank you Sam.
    Love from Bangladesh

  17. tobber08

    October 3, 2019 1:47 pm

    The prayer before the approach was great… To call it the worlds most dangerous approach is debatable….

  18. Triple x 110

    October 3, 2019 6:21 pm

    Love you ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡น bhutan from ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต nepal respect โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

  19. C Smith

    October 4, 2019 5:03 pm

    Very cool, notice he had his finger on a switch explaining that it would need to be turned off, he took his finger off the switch, and told the copilot to turn it off, he could have easily done it himself, but they have set way of going through a checklist, and that would deviate from the way it's always done, very disciplined.

  20. Arya Rangga Fadhila

    October 5, 2019 3:54 pm

    how are you there greetings from Indonesia I am a fan and love to watch vudeo I have watched it all very exciting and educated and educate me to offer flights to Indonesia precisely to the city of Palembang Warm greetings from me success

  21. Internet Marketing Auckland

    October 6, 2019 1:25 am

    WOW – stunning and spectacular and what an experience for you. GG. Wow the final right bank and then straighten her up and lay her down, and the added pressure of the camera ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Emelio Salazar

    October 6, 2019 11:59 am

    OMG! I love the pilot. He is very skillful, goodlooking, articulate and very friendly. I wonder what is his nationality.

  23. rul halfelven

    October 6, 2019 3:23 pm

    My question is how does Sam gets access into the cockpit while the aircraft is airborne? It takes a real Avgeek to do that.


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