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a VirtualTourist member asked on Aug 7, 2013

Madeira Island

Dangerous landing?

I am scared of flying and Madeira is known for its dangerous airport.
Have you ever experienced a difficult landing in August? Should I be worried? My parents are also scared, they suggested I should cancel the trip. :((

20 Answers

answered on 8/7/13 by
a VT member from Manhattan Island

the alternative for you would be to do a cruise to Madeira

answered on 8/7/13 by
a VT member from Hesperia

Hello Diana and welcome to VT.......d:o)

Please do read your post again. "Have you ever experienced a difficult landing in August..." No but I had a rough one in January........d:o)

You are not being rational. To a point of not realizing that what you are writing is practically gibberish. I mean that in the best way. No worries though, your irrational train of thought is very much normal. Let me assure you, that any airline that worries about a landing going wrong, is not going to let any planes fly there. I know that trying to make you see the reality is not easy. That's why they call it irrational fear.

No worries. Yes you are afraid, but look at it as I described it, and then you OWN it. You know it is not the fear itself that makes a man/woman, it is how they handle it. So you take a deep breath and own your fear, and get on that plane and proceed to have a ball........d:o)

answered on 8/7/13 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Come on....

Do you really think Madeira would be such a very popular package-holiday and holiday destination, with hundreds of thousands of visitors year-round every year, if the airport was really so dangerous?

It's a tricky airport, granted, but not so tricky for experienced pilots (as mainstream airline pilots are) And the runway was extended in 2003...and how many crashes have you heard of at Madeira airport since the 1970s? I landed at San Francisco a couple of weeks ago...and there was a very, very nasty crash there a few weeks beforehand. Should that have worried me?

I think the fact that you are scared of flying is making you over-inflate the 'danger' you have read about. And maybe your parents are more worried about how you will react as you begin to approach the airport rather than about any real danger of an accident? The chances of anything going wrong are absolutely are in far, far more danger just crossing the road.

If someone has experienced a difficult August landing at Madeira airport that does not mean that you will...any more than someone (like me) experiencing a a scary emergency landing at Milan, or a very-late-aborted landing at Birmingham means that you will experience the same thing at those airports.

Perhaps it might be a good idea to visit your doctor and ask for something to help calm you during the flight? It would be a very great pity to cancel a holiday for this reason...and entirely unjustifiable on safety grounds.

answered on 8/7/13 by
a VT member from Great Missenden

I have landed at Madeira airport and it was fine. Honestly. It's an airport used regularly to transport thousands of holidaymakers.

If you are a nervous flyer, I suggest you sit in an aisle seat.

answered on 8/7/13 by
a VT member from Lisbon

oh my GOD!!! :) Keep calm... What a shame waste a trip like that!.. Well the airport had a terrible reputation because it was very scary to land there. Not only because the tiny runway (1700 meters), but also because the wind. Sometimes the wind blows and there's nothing you can do (and the flight is moved to Porto Santo island or CanĂ¡rias). In 2002, the runway was extended in 1000 meters, and landing there, could be more soft. And i say could be, because the pilots, everytime i went there (and is about 2-3 times a year) they like to test their skills. So, they make an huge effort ir order to use only the 1700meeters of the old runway. It's like a prize for them "yes i can do it". So they use the brakes thoroughly... :)

I have some fotos of Madeira and Porto Santo at my flickr web page, take a look if you still consider cancel the trip!!

answered on 8/7/13 by
Mary Smith from Leicester


> Well the airport had a terrible reputation because it was very scary to land there

is *not* the same as 'it is very *dangerous* to land there! :-)

answered on 8/7/13 by
a VT member from Province of Ontario

Having landed there, it is not scary, The sensationalist press may make such comments, but it is no more or less safe than other major airports. It used to be more dangerous over 30 years ago; but that was due to the length of the runway. It was lengthened (doubled in length I believe) but the old stories persist.

Driving in Madiera is a lot scarier than landing at the Funchal airport.

I suggest you get a grip and either enjoy the very beautiful Madiera, like tens of thousands of others vistors or let your imagination ruin your holiday plans.

answered on 8/7/13 by
a VT member from Dorset

Have flown into and out of Madeira many times ,usually in October,and it is not a problem.The weather in August should be fine with light winds,so go and enjoy this lovely island.

answered on 8/7/13 by
a VT member from Atlanta

Safety statistics show that if you did fly every day of your life, probability indicates that it would take you nineteen thousand years before you would succumb to a fatal accident. Nineteen thousand years! [original link]

Relax, it's going to be OK.

answered on 8/7/13 by
a VT member from Hesperia

Well it has long been said that if one wants to be as safe as possible on this planet, then one gets off of it. The safest possible way to live, - is to buy a perpetual airticket and stay on a plane at 30K feet forever.


Methinks that Diane is aware of all the reasons it is perfectly safe to be on a plane. That's why this fear is called irrational. A fear that makes no sense, but is still very real. Diane, - like I said, everyone is afraid of something. It is how one handles it that defines a man or woman.

Own your fear, and move on.

answered on 8/7/13 by
a VT member from Torino

Isn't it more thrilling to land in a crowded airport such as Chicago or Frankfurt, when pilots have very limited options in time and space and "must" fly though turbulent areas they would rather avoid.....?

answered on 8/7/13 by
a VT member

Wow..thank you so much!! Thank you for responding to my questions so quickly, you all have been very helpful! I really didn't expect to receive so much useful means a lot to me..:-) So...I'm going to take the trip..despite my anxieties.

answered on 8/7/13 by
a VT member from Hesperia

Good for you girl!!
Now when you return, you must let us know how things went, and if you had fun.....OK?

answered on 8/7/13 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

I am so pleased...and so very pleased that we could all do our bit to keep you on track!

I was serious about the doctor though. If flying really is stressful for you, it may well be worth taking a mild sedative beforehand...your doctor will help out.

And if you do end up with a window seat, just don't look out of the window when your plane starts to lose height. That way you won't frighten yourself even more (and totally unnecessarily). :

And Odinnthor is right...your 'payment' for us cheering you onward is to come back to this thread and tells us what a brill time you had in Madeira. OK? :-)

answered on 8/7/13 by
a VT member from Manhattan Island

It's all good then

You'll be just fine flying to Madeira especially with all the suggestions and good remedy to help you enjoy your flight. It would be a shame if you cancel your trip knowing that these days it's infinitely safer to fly than taking a walk in the street anytime

The island of Madeira is so worth it, you'll forget your fears.

answered on 8/8/13 by
claus andersen from Denmark

I fly to Medeira a few times every year because i work there from time to time and it'
s not a scary airport i think and more importantly it's not dangorous either.
It looks wild cause it's standing on pillars half way out in the ocean, but they made it like this in order to make the landing safer and they have not had fatal crashes there for decades and seevral hundred planes land there every week.

Only thing you should be ware of when you fly out of Funchal airport is that the plane will take a sharp right turn right after takeoff.
This is not dangorous at all but a security measure in order to make sure the plane steers safely away from the nearby mountains, but it can feel a little weird if you are not aware of it.

And enjoy your trip to Madeira.
It is in my humble opinion one of the most scenic islands in the world.

answered on 8/8/13 by
a VT member

Thank you for being so polite and supportive! :)
I feel more comfortable with the thought of getting on that plane..

Thank you leics! My doctor already gave me a mild sedative, but I'd rather not take it.. unless it's really necessary. A bit of chocolate usually helps me a lot! :D
Thank you Odinnthor, GrumpyDiver, smonteiromota, SOLODANCER, SallyM, CDM7, hiflya, cachaseiro!! You are amazing! VT is great!

By the way, I don't know how this actually works, I guess I should rate the best answer..? Cause I would have to rate more than one! Am I allowed to do that?

Anyway...I will definitely come back to this thread to let you all know how it was!! :)) Madeira here I comeee:))

answered on 8/8/13 by
a VT member from Manhattan Island

T'was our pleasure to be able to help you. Especially glad we've reassured you about your trip. Now go conquer Madeira and be rewarded by so much!

answered on 8/8/13 by
a VT member from Hesperia

Nice to hear that we are polite, considering the rudeness on many other websites. Yes, you are allowed to rate any response or every response.

yeah come back here and tell us how it went, but we would really like to see you put this stuff on your Home Page as well.

One thing here is different than most other websites, - when you click on our photo/screen name, you get to know just exactly who responded to you and why they are a good resource. It kinda makes us more real than virtual.

Further, we have a very active membership, who have VT meetings all over the planet. Having met a bunch of members, I will say, that they all have been pretty much as they are here on VT. A bunch of really nice folks from all over the world.

answered on 8/8/13 by
Mary Smith from Leicester

You can only pick one 'best answer' in a thread but you can certainly rate as many answers as you like.

Like Erik (Odinnthor) says, this is a very friendly and courteous website...and we really are all real people, pretty much exactly as we appear to be on VT (except that i'm not a talking bridge, obviously). :-)

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