Innsbruck - One of Europe's Trickiest Airports
Flying into beautiful, picturesque Innsbruck in Austria is a captain’s only landing. That’s because it’s one of the most challenging airports in Europe. Airports are mostly categorised as A; no special procedures necessary, B; a little more out of the ordinary, C; only flown by captains who have undergone specific simulator training and have also sat in the jump seat for takeoff and landing.
The Alpine town of Innsbruck is a category C airport for many different reasons. Situated at the bottom of the Inn valley it’s surrounded by terrain - mountains - rising to nearly 8000ft. The visual manoeuvre means no autopilot which can be made even trickier by low level wind shear and turbulence associated with high winds and the mountains. So even with the best visibility, the approach requires years of experience in the cockpit. The approach lighting, usually found on the ground, is on the roofs of local buildings due to the proximal town.
However, as a passenger the views are spectacular either at night or equally in daylight as you can see from this time lapse video I took recently. So you can sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery.