25th July 2023

Aeroplane Crash History in Lukla

Lukla airport is also known as Tenzing-Hilary Airport. Lukla Airport is one of the most dangerous Airport spots in the world and has been a breeding ground for several accidents. The Airport is also known to be gateway to the Mount Everest; the ascent has taken the lives of hundreds of trekkers.  The real dangers began in the airport. More than 50 people have been killed during the take-offs, landings, or approaching the airport as the result of deteriorating weather and nonfunctioning of airplanes system.

History and Development of Lukla Airport

The airport was also built in 1964 which was made Sir Edmund Hillary. His vision was to make it at the flat farmlands, but local people were hesitating to give up their land, so now it sits at a high altitude of 2,859 meters above sea level and which is surrounded by 7,000-meter-high peaks. Hillary purchased the land for US$2,650, and the one runway, which had also offered significant soil resistance, was not paved till the year of 2001.

Where is Lukla Airport?

As per a 2019 safety study derived from Nepal ‘s Civil Aviation Authority, the uncomprising geography and diverse weather patterns of Nepal posses the risk to plane crashes.

Why Lukla Airport is so dangerous?

The airport isn’t known as the most dangerous in the world for no reason. There have been many accidents which is at Lukla and surrounding areas, and seven fatal ones killed over 50 men and women. Due to the high-altitude state, conditions at the airport have been quite difficult. In fact, about 50% of all scheduled flights at the afternoon are instantly canceled because of poor visibility.

One reason the airport is known for its danger is its no-go-around procedure. Most international runways are in excess of 10,000 feet long, but Lukla’s is just at 1,700 feet. The high altitude has also created thinner air and makes it hard for aircraft to get the enough thrust for a go-around, but reduced resistance means the plane has also doesn’t slow down as quickly, which makes very landing risky. However, the runway is on a 12% incline to assist the aircraft at slowing down faster.

Without the needed procedure available due to the rough and unpredictable terrain, landings must happen regardless of the external factors. This means if there is any sort of issue during landing, the lack of radar and navigation, at the top of bad weather which leads to frequent incidents.

Aeroplane Crash landing history in lukla Flight

Every airport has accidents associated with the name, which is the obvious nature of aviation. The first incident at 11 years after the airport was built at October 15th, 1973. There was a Royal Nepal Airlines DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 which has a crash and could not be repaired at any moment. While none of the three crew and passengers were hurt, this was the beginning of a history of deadly incidents which occurred at Lukla.

Two of the deadliest crashes at Lukla were in 2008 and 2012. The former also saw the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 which is operated by Yeti.  Airlines which is registered as 9N-AFE. It take off from Kathmandu Airport which is at 06:51 on Wednesday, October 8th, which is on domestic flight to Lukla. As the Twin Otter approached Lukla, visibility was poor and without radar signaling, the aircraft came into contact with rocks near the runway, crashed, and caught on fire. Out of all 19 passengers and crew, only the captain survived the deadly crash.

Deadly Crashed

The following deadly incident occurred at Friday, September 28th, 2012. While this was not at Lukla airport, it happened at Kathmandu-Tribhuvan Airport (KTM), not far from Tenzing-Hillary. A Dornier 228-202 passenger plane which was operated by Sita Air, was cleared for take-off from runway 20 at 06:12. As the aircraft approached 70 knots, the first officer had instructed the ‘Vee one rotate.’ The plane began the rotation but did not lift off at the ground.

The two seconds after the warning was halted, it was also pushed again and as the aircraft move down and untimely crashed into the small area for about 420 meters which is the south east of the runway. All the 19 onboard was also killed. As per investigation, the drag at the aircraft is also greater than the power and the pilot did not maintain the airspeed which is above the stall speed which also leads to insufficient height which is also needed to recover.

In the year of 2010,

the Dornier Do 228 101 passenger plane also departed from Kathmandu which us at 07:04 on its way to Lukla.

But quickly into the flight, the clouds were also closing in, and the pilot decided to return to Kathmandu. The captain also indicated the generator malfunctioning shortly after but didn’t state it was also an emergency. He had tried to switch to the backup generator, but this was also unsuccessful. Without the ability to divert to Simara Airport due to closures, the pilot also has to approach Kathmandu visually but crashed at a hillside which near Bastipur, Nepal. All 14 passengers on board perished during the accident.


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