This Falcon 50 Business Jet’s Ultra Low-Level Departure From St. Martin Is Pretty Nuts

Princess Julian International Airpot on the island of Saint Martin is a mecca for plane spotters and photographers from around the world. It’s also an incredibly gorgeous vacation spot, so it’s a double draw for the biggest aviation buffs among us. Visitor pastimes like playing on Maho beach as the big jets come in for a landing, nearly grazing onlookers in the process, or holding onto the airport perimeter fence as the airliners throttle up to full-power just a few dozen feet away, have been immortalized in incredible imagery and videos splattered all over the net.

The vast majority of these images and videos show aircraft operations when the winds blow out of the east. On the more rare occassions when the winds blow out of the west, the jets can be seen taking off head-on, and sometimes in spectacular fashion.

Some of the long-haul intercontinental flights use a lot of the airport’s comparatively short 7,550 foot runway, especially on hot days with only a slight breeze. But this triple-engined Falcon 50 business jet, an aircraft well known for its short-field performance, had other plans: it looks like the flight crew wanted to do their best impression of a fighter jet’s low-departure in a warzone, rotating off the runway, tucking the gear up and flying in ground effect down the runway as the speed mounts. When this Falcon three-holer eventually did climb, it probably did so at a pretty impressive rate!

Here is a Harrier executing a similar departure in Afghanistan:

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Tyler Rogoway


Tyler's passion is the study of military technology, strategy, and foreign policy and he has fostered a dominant voice on those topics in the defense media space. He was the creator of the hugely popular defense site Foxtrot Alpha before developing The War Zone.