As a pilot I am always in awe of those professional pilots with exceptional skills, particularly those land at airports that require short-takeoff and landing (STOL) with little margin for error. I also love taking photographs and below are some images I shot during a recent trip to St. Barth.

The St. Barths Gustaf III airport (IATA: SBH) is a great example of a STOL airport and it is ranked as the third most dangerous airport in the world due to the short runway, proximity to local traffic and the steep hill on the final approach. Pilots landing at SBH also need to have a special endorsement to land due to the complexity.

Most aircraft will land on Runway 10 as the winds primarily come from the North and through a small valley from the direction of St. Jean. This requires you to fly in over a steep hill above a traffic roundabout and then descend rapidly down to the numbers, landing has to be accurate as the runway is only 2,000 ft. Departing traffic flys directly over the sunbathers on St. Jean beach.

The largest aircraft that is permitted to land at the airport is the de Havilland Dash 7, which can carry up to 48 passengers, though most operators such as Tradewind Aviation, St. Barth Commuter, Trans-Anguilla and Air Antilles are using Pilatus PC-12, Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, and Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander.

Leaving SBH, we took a charter across to Nevis on a Britten-Norman Islander operated by Trans-Anguilla. The pilot Captain Tony Webster, had over 17,000 hours mainly flying these Islanders, around the Caribbean. These pilots are really the unsung heroes of the Caribbean and I am sure he certainly has a few stories and experiences.

These photographs were taken near the traffic circle on the final approach to Runway 10 at SBH.

Photographs by James Henderson.