Princess Juliana Airport

image This is a pretty amazing picture, and it screams 'Photoshop!' After all, where in the world would planes really land that close to sunbathers on a beach? It looks like the plane is landing right on top of them. Well, the place is Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten. And the airplanes really do come in that close to the beach. A collection of shots of planes landing at Princess Juliana is circulating as a powerpoint file via email. Jozee V sent the file along to me (Thanks, Jozee!). At first I couldn't believe that the shots were real, but after a little research I was convinced. The thumbnail shot was taken by the photographer Justin Cederholm. You can see more shots of planes landing at Princess Juliana Airport here, and here, and here. And if you don't believe this is a real airport, then check out it's website. Trust me, it's real. But personally I think those people sunbathing there are crazy. It seems to me like it would be a good way to shatter your eardrums.

Photos Places

Posted on Fri Feb 20, 2004


People actually stand in the jet wash here when a plane is taking off... I have seen people blown off their feet into the water from the hot wind!
BTW... we are there EVERY April...
If you don't believe it... go to Sint. Maarten yourself!
Posted by SXMRegular  in  NJ  on  Tue Dec 21, 2004  at  01:37 PM
If your the photographer of THAT photo, then I am the pope.
Posted by dave on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 07:48 PM

Dave, if you are the pope, then I'm President George Bush.

That photo is 100% REAL whether you like it or not. If you guys haven't been there, buy yourself a $400 roundtrip airfare and see for yourself, 'nuff said.
Posted by Kevin  on  Sun Jan 02, 2005  at  06:40 PM
Well... 4 those who think the pic is a FAKE all i can say is come 2 my lovely island & see 4 urself! I go down 2 the beach every sunday & the airport is right in front of the beach, there is also a beach bar there, so when the plane lands, it sets right above the ppl who choose 2 stand there.. So like i said, check it out 4 urself, i KNOW its real.
Posted by Norisha  in  St.Maarten N.A  on  Sun Jan 02, 2005  at  11:44 PM
ive been to st maartin. If this was fake than im G. Bush. I went for 3 days during thanksgiving just for the beach. Amazing site-especialy the daily Air France a340. 4 pina coladas+4 engines+a beach= me blown into the water with about 10 other people. heh,cant wait to go back
Posted by someone  in  somewhere  on  Wed Jan 05, 2005  at  06:39 PM
Those pictures are 100% real. I was there myself before. I sat on the beach and filmed planes coming in to land 30-40 feet over my head, even a KLM 747-400. This airport has been featured in airline magazines as the best place to view airplanes in the world.
Posted by Ray  in  USA  on  Sun Jan 23, 2005  at  07:16 AM
I have read everyone's comments with great amusement! First of all, the photograph is real! I am a former combat pilot and can tell you the landing gears in the photograph are in the proper position. The landing gears on a 747-200, as well as other 747's, are multipositioned, that is the back of the gear (the tires) hangs down lower and then the front levels off as the aircraft lands. This is to allow a smoother landing. Also, I have been going to St. Maarten for over twenty years, four and five times a year. When a heavy aircraft lands, in particular a 747, it needs every inch of that small runway to land. The runway at SXM is only 7000 feet long. I have personally seen an Air France 747 actually run out off the end of the runway onto the grass. Before Air France used to stop in Martinique to get fuel, they would take off for France with a full load of fuel, every seat taken and the luggage compartments fulled to the max. It must have taken nearly all the runway to rotate (lift off) and after crossing Simpson Bay, it flew over Port DePlaisance where I was staying. As the plane banked to the right, I was looking right into the face of the second officer (co-pilot), the engines were at 106% of power, in essence putting their guts out, and the aircraft was between 600 - 800 feet in the air. I never liked Air France pilots, and this is one of the reasons why. A plane that is landing, perhaps at 120 - 140 miles per hours, will not create an air vortex that will pick up a car or even a person.
People like to stand at the very end of the runway and hang onto the fence when the aircraft take off. Sometimes they will get blown across the road! The only time I ever saw the police make the people move is when a Concorde took off.
If you want to see fantastic photo opportunities, spend a day there!
Posted by Bruce Jacobs  in  Northern New Jersey  on  Thu Feb 03, 2005  at  01:08 PM
Bruce, well said and thanks for the insights!
Posted by SXMRegular  in  NJ  on  Fri Feb 04, 2005  at  08:25 AM
You're all wrong, the plane is real it's the beach that's fake. Notice how the grains of sand lean to the left, but the wind is blowing to the right. What a give-away, I mean really, you'd think they would have checked this one, amateurs!
Posted by The Oracle  in  The Heavens  on  Fri Feb 04, 2005  at  09:11 AM
Oracle... I'm there every April... It's real... believe it!
if u don't believe it... see picx from the Sunset Beach Bar which is located at the end of the runway...
Posted by SXMRegular  in  NJ  on  Fri Feb 04, 2005  at  11:19 AM
I am most certain the picture is real. I have stood right on that very beech and watched a prop plane come in with my son. We booth ducked.
Posted by albin  on  Fri Feb 11, 2005  at  09:18 AM
Want to see almost the same thing in the states? go to Reagan (old National) Airport in Washington, DC... you can park in the spectator lot at the beginning of the runway... not quite as spectacular as SXM, but it will give you a sense of what SXM is like...
Posted by SXMRegular  in  NJ  on  Wed Feb 16, 2005  at  08:04 AM
Of course its real! Ask the 75,000 people that live here on St. Maarten/St. Martin. Or the owners of the gajillion dollar business that sits at the end of the runway:
Posted by annie  in  st. maarten  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  03:55 PM
Hey all,
The photos and everything are real. I worked there, in the airport flying the police helicopter for the island. I have tonnes of photos and videos that would amaze most aviation enthusiasts. I think its one of the best places in the world to check out planes. The beach is great and the life is fantastic, and the people on the beaches dont give a shit about the planes and the noise, its all part of the atmosphere, and is fricking hilarious when they all stand on the beach to watch the airliners take off.
Check out some of the videos at this website.
Posted by scubasteve  on  Tue Mar 01, 2005  at  12:26 PM
Nah, don't even waste your breath. People are inherently stooopid and need to be there to believe it. Basically, people suck. Dammit, when is this waste of a world going to cease to exist??
Posted by Porklover  on  Tue May 24, 2005  at  07:07 PM
It's real...

heres some video
Posted by webologist  on  Wed May 25, 2005  at  12:18 PM
I wasn't doubting it, just saying people suck is all.
Posted by Porklover  on  Wed May 25, 2005  at  12:28 PM
We all have a choice to believe it or not. I personnaly do. My question here (and concern) is what about when the planes take off? If the aircrafts take off in the direction on the beach, then the noise would be deafning, wouldn't it be? And the same for the oposite direction, right? I could be wrong. Often am.

Y the way, thanks for the blessing, Pope Dave! cheese
Posted by Smrik  in  Canada  on  Thu Jun 30, 2005  at  09:13 AM
There's one born every minute ...
Posted by hehe  on  Fri Jul 01, 2005  at  10:55 AM
For the truly skeptical, this site has video footage of jets landing over the beach:
Posted by Russ  on  Thu Jul 07, 2005  at  10:25 PM
Check out this video if you want to see some spectacular St Maarten landings:
Posted by William  in  New Zealand  on  Thu Aug 18, 2005  at  07:42 PM
I am a Delta Air Lines pilot. I stumbled upon this site somehow and I am amazed that some of you don't believe this shot. I have never flown a 757 to SXM which is what Delta sends becasue my seniority isn't high enough but have been there on leisure. It does not look that low from inside the cabin but once you get on the beach it is quite amazing! Yes, the airplane is pretty much at idle when you come in on what we call 'finals'. We have to constantly adjust the throttle on finals to maintain a certain angle of attack and keep on glidesope. On minimums, which is generally right over the beach, we go to idle and ease her down. Great beach though! Visit and book your next trip.
Posted by Roy Davison  in  Atlanta  on  Sat Aug 27, 2005  at  08:05 AM
First Officer Davison here again. Here is a link to Delta's landings at SXM on Not quite that 747 but close. Air Lines&maxres=500&keywords=SXM&keywrange=all&nr_of_rows=24&first_this_page=15&page_limit=15&sort_order=photo_id+DESC&nr_pages=2&engine_version=6.0
Posted by Roy Davison  in  Atlanta  on  Sat Aug 27, 2005  at  08:21 AM
You obviously don't know what you're talking about - at least any of you who believe this is not true. How do you think these planes get down out of the sky? The don't magically appear on the runway! I have more pictures of this exact scene if you would like to see them. E-mail me @ "" Thank you - Scott
Posted by Scott  on  Wed Sep 07, 2005  at  04:37 PM
BWAHAHAHA!!!!!! its so funny to read these posts thinking they're so smart and outsmarting all of those who've actually BEEN there...just do a frieken google search....Princess Juliana International Airport....haha man i had such a funny time reading this.
Posted by chris g  in  budapest  on  Sat Oct 01, 2005  at  02:20 PM
The last time I checked a 757, 747 and an airbus 340 cant land at a 7000ft runway. Yes the airport is that close to the water, yes those are still fake pictures. You can cut and paste whatever you want, photoshop does wonders.
Posted by Doesnt matter  in  Reality  on  Sun Dec 11, 2005  at  08:02 PM
Well I think you are either trying to continue stir up the crap or you are just as naive and stupid as the rest of the people who dont believe it all. All you have to do is check the timetable or airlines that serve this airport at th Princess Juliana International Website and that will confirm to everyone that this is all true - you dont need photos to verify this kind of thing.
Posted by Steve  on  Sun Dec 11, 2005  at  10:00 PM
Lol, no matter what you do, you can't get through to these a-holes who can't believe it. I'd photoshop my ass to their face, but it would be an improvement.
Posted by porklover  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  04:28 AM
Don't suppose anyone's going to attempt to put an Airbus A380 down there raspberry
Posted by Webologist  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  05:50 AM
If you think it is photoshop... download the pictures in photoshop... examine the layers and then tell me the pictures were doctored...
I have landed at PJIA every April since 2000...
I have sat at the bar at Sunset Beach Bar many times to watch the planes landing in SXM...
Before you say it is not real... go there yourself... then tell me it is a hoax...
Posted by peconic  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  07:47 AM
I would love to see someone... anyone post a non-doctored picture of a plane landing at PJIA that contradicted any picture on this thread... to you non-believers... GO THERE YOURSELF!!!
If you don't...
Be content to live in your conspiracy laden, lied to, skeptical little world...
Posted by peconic  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  10:20 AM
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