Skiathos landing: Video shows Wizz Air plane skimming yards over tourists’ heads

The is the heart-stopping moment a Wizz Air passenger jet skimmed just yards over tourists' heads as it came in to land at a Greek airport


This is the heart-stopping moment a Wizz Air passenger jet skimmed just yards over tourists’ heads as it came in land on a Greek island, in what some said was the lowest ever landing at the airport.

Dramatic footage of the landing was uploaded last week by a jet enthusiast who was positioned to watch planes touch down on Greece’s Skiathos island.

The island’s landing strip, built just yards from the sea, has become a draw for thrill-seeking tourists looking to capture spectacular landings. But even the seasoned plane spotters appeared shocked as the Airbus jet barrelled towards the tarmac and narrowly cleared the airport’s perimeter fence.

The is the heart-stopping moment a Wizz Air passenger jet skimmed just yards over tourists' heads as it came in to land at a Greek airport

The is the heart-stopping moment a Wizz Air passenger jet skimmed just yards over tourists’ heads as it came in to land at a Greek airport

As the Wizz Air-operated Airbus A321neo approaches, it quickly became clear to spectators that the pilot was bringing it in at a low altitude, with one onlooker even moving out of the way

As the Wizz Air-operated Airbus A321neo approaches, it quickly became clear to spectators that the pilot was bringing it in at a low altitude, with one onlooker even moving out of the way

As the Wizz Air-operated Airbus A321neo approaches, it quickly became clear to spectators that the pilot was bringing it in at a low altitude, with one onlooker even moving out of the way

As the jet lands, it clears the perimeter fence by a matter of yards, with the force knocking some of the gathered spectators backwards

As the jet lands, it clears the perimeter fence by a matter of yards, with the force knocking some of the gathered spectators backwards

As the jet lands, it clears the perimeter fence by a matter of yards, with the force knocking some of the gathered spectators backwards

The video opens by showing the plane in the distance cruising towards the Skiathos Alexandros Papadiamantis Airport over the turquoise Mediterranean waters.

Several people are shown to have gathered on the beach and a road that runs along a narrow bit of land between the sea and the runway.

As the Wizz Air-operated Airbus A321neo approaches, however, it is clear that the pilot is bringing it in at a low altitude. One onlooker even begins to move out of the way in anticipation of a low landing.

Others are heard shouting out in surprise over the roar of the engines as the pink and white jet swoops down until it is just a matter of yards over the heads of the plane spotters, and even wobbles slightly as it prepares for touchdown.

As it narrowly clears the perimeter fence, it is so low that it kicks up dust and sand into the air and ruffles the hair of one man who is seen in the footage flinching.

In another angle from a second camera, people’s clothes are shown being buffeted by the gust caused by the jet. One young girl is even shown falling over backwards – knocked down by the force of the jet – while a woman loses her hat.

As this happens, the wheels of the plane make contact with the tarmac, and the pilot successfully lands the jet on Skiathos.

Pictured: A man holding a camera flinches as the jet comes into land on Skiathos island

Pictured: A man holding a camera flinches as the jet comes into land on Skiathos island

Pictured: A man holding a camera flinches as the jet comes into land on Skiathos island

In another angle from a separate camera, people's clothes are shown being buffeted by the gust caused by the jet. One young girl is even shown falling over backwards - knocked down by the force of the jet - while a woman loses her hat

In another angle from a separate camera, people's clothes are shown being buffeted by the gust caused by the jet. One young girl is even shown falling over backwards - knocked down by the force of the jet - while a woman loses her hat

In another angle from a separate camera, people’s clothes are shown being buffeted by the gust caused by the jet. One young girl is even shown falling over backwards – knocked down by the force of the jet – while a woman loses her hat

Pictured: Another camera angle shows the plane flying in low over the beach and road where spectators have gathered

Pictured: Another camera angle shows the plane flying in low over the beach and road where spectators have gathered

Pictured: Another camera angle shows the plane flying in low over the beach and road where spectators have gathered

One aviation buff, commentating underneath the video posted to YouTube by GreatFlyer on August 5, explained why the conditions meant such a low landing was necessary.

‘High temperature and very short runway, you have to do a deep landing to maximise the available runway for stop,’ they wrote.

‘Low cost airlines operates with short turnaround times, if you overheat the brakes you mess up the schedule if the plane.’

One person joked: ‘How many of the spectators do you think needed new pants?’. Another jested: ‘A powerfull hair dryer, isn’t it!?’

Others congratulated GreatFlyer for being able to keep his cool and capture the low landing from so many angles – while those around him were buffeted by the force.

‘That was absolutely insane! Wonderful capture mate, awesome job!’ one person wrote. ‘Amazing capture and thank you for the multiple angles, that’s exactly what I wanted to see as an aviation geek! Perfect,’ another said.

Amid some suggestions that the landing was reckless – and that the pilot may have deliberately approached at a low altitude to play up to the gathered crowd – one commenter hit back.

The airport's runway (pictured in this aerial photograph) is found in the north-east of Skiathos island, and is built in-between two hills that flank the stretch of tarmac. The runway runs north-to-south and from coast-to-cast, meaning pilots have to approach as low as possible in order to give themselves enough runway to come to a stop

The airport's runway (pictured in this aerial photograph) is found in the north-east of Skiathos island, and is built in-between two hills that flank the stretch of tarmac. The runway runs north-to-south and from coast-to-cast, meaning pilots have to approach as low as possible in order to give themselves enough runway to come to a stop

The airport’s runway (pictured in this aerial photograph) is found in the north-east of Skiathos island, and is built in-between two hills that flank the stretch of tarmac. The runway runs north-to-south and from coast-to-cast, meaning pilots have to approach as low as possible in order to give themselves enough runway to come to a stop

‘Before jumping to conclusion, let’s just say we don’t know why the plane ended up so scarily low on a fairly routine approach but I doubt it was “intentional” “showing off”,’ the person wrote on YouTube.

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‘However, the people standing there were definitely standing there intentionally despite of the warning signs and traffic lights. You cannot get injured if you’re not standing there. Glad to see the plane eventually touched down without any damage.’

GreatFlyer, whose YouTube channel features dozens of dramatic plane landings and take-offs, suggested that the Wizz Air pilots landing in Skiathos was the lowest ever at the airport. 

The airport’s runway is found in the north-east of Skiathos island, and is built in-between two hills that flank the stretch of tarmac.

The relatively short runway runs north-to-south and from coast-to-cast, meaning pilots have to approach as low as possible in order to give themselves enough runway to land on and come to a stop.

Because of the short runway, some planes even have to take off with less fuel. Many flights then have to touch down minutes later in nearby Thessaloniki to refuel.

In 2018, a British schoolboy was injured after he was blasted through the air by the turbines of an Airbus 320 after visiting a controversial tourist attraction.

The 12-year-old was with his father watching planes land just above their heads when he was fired more than 30 feet through the air on a Greek island. He landed on the sand.

Earlier that same year, a man who was stood filming planes take off from Skiathos got the shock of his life when he was also knocked off his feet by the powerful thrust of an aircraft’s engines. 

Pictured: A British airways flight is seen coming in for a low landing at Skiathos' airport

Pictured: A British airways flight is seen coming in for a low landing at Skiathos' airport

Pictured: A British airways flight is seen coming in for a low landing at Skiathos’ airport

Pictured: Another passenger jet is seen performing a low landing in Skiathos

Pictured: Another passenger jet is seen performing a low landing in Skiathos

Pictured: Another passenger jet is seen performing a low landing in Skiathos

GreatFlyer compared last week’s Wizz Air landing with another low approach from an Air Italy landing in 2013 on the same island.

As with the Wizz Air flight, the Air Italy plane cleared the airport’s perimeter by a few yards, leading to some to claim it was the lowest landing ever captured on video. 

Some suggested last week’s low landing may have been even lower.

Its geography has made Skiathos a popular destination for plane watchers. 

There can be up to 100 people surrounding the runway on a busy day and the airport has been dubbed the European St Maarten – an island in the Caribbean which is also famous for its low-landing planes. 

The Caribbean airport has a short runway of just 1.4 miles, forcing planes to approach at low altitude. 

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Plane spotting is a popular activity at the island’s Princess Juliana international airport but it can also be dangerous. In 2017, a woman was thrown to her death after a low flying plane blew her off her feet.

Skiathos has been dubbed the European St Maarten - an island in the Caribbean which is also famous for its low-landing planes (pictured). Plane spotting is a popular activity at the island's Princess Juliana international airport but it can also be dangerous. In 2017, a woman was thrown to her death after a low flying plane blew her off her feet

Skiathos has been dubbed the European St Maarten - an island in the Caribbean which is also famous for its low-landing planes (pictured). Plane spotting is a popular activity at the island's Princess Juliana international airport but it can also be dangerous. In 2017, a woman was thrown to her death after a low flying plane blew her off her feet

Skiathos has been dubbed the European St Maarten – an island in the Caribbean which is also famous for its low-landing planes (pictured). Plane spotting is a popular activity at the island’s Princess Juliana international airport but it can also be dangerous. In 2017, a woman was thrown to her death after a low flying plane blew her off her feet

Another airport famous for its precarious landings is the Tenzing Hillary Airport in Nepal (pictured). The runway is built close to the edge of a cliff, meaning pilots have no room for error when coming in to land

Only small planes can land and take off from the Tenzing Hillary Airport (pictured), and pilots are required to have at least a year's experience and 100 missions flying STOL (short take off and landing) aircraft

Only small planes can land and take off from the Tenzing Hillary Airport (pictured), and pilots are required to have at least a year's experience and 100 missions flying STOL (short take off and landing) aircraft

Only small planes can land and take off from the Tenzing Hillary Airport (pictured), and pilots are required to have at least a year’s experience and 100 missions flying STOL (short take off and landing) aircraft

Pictured: People take selfies as a plane comes in to land at Arrecife airport on the Spanish island of Lanzarote, July 2022

Pictured: People take selfies as a plane comes in to land at Arrecife airport on the Spanish island of Lanzarote, July 2022

Pictured: People take selfies as a plane comes in to land at Arrecife airport on the Spanish island of Lanzarote, July 2022

Pictured: People gather on a beach to watch a low-landing plane in Phuket, Thailand

Pictured: People gather on a beach to watch a low-landing plane in Phuket, Thailand

Pictured: People gather on a beach to watch a low-landing plane in Phuket, Thailand

The New Zealand woman joined hundreds of other tourists at Saint Maarten to watch planes taking off at the beach-side Juliana International Airport.

She was holding onto the fence when she was blown from her feet before hitting her head on the rocks and suffering fatal injuries.

Tourists visiting the picturesque beach regularly climb up onto rocks to watch planes come into land, despite signs specifically warning against the danger.

Police on the Dutch territory make daily visits to the beach, which is popular with plane spotters from around the world, to warn tourists of the dangers.

Another airport famous for its precarious landings is the Tenzing Hillary Airport in Nepal. The runway is built close to the edge of a cliff, meaning pilots have no room for error when coming in to land.

Only small planes can land and take off from the airport, and pilots are required to have at least a year’s experience and 100 missions flying STOL (short take off and landing) aircraft.

Other airports known for their low-landing planes include Arrecife airport on the Spanish island of Lanzarote and Phuket International Airport in Thailand.



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