It's an entirely different kind of flying, altogether.
January 9, 2014 7:33 PM   Subscribe

The History Channel ranked the world's ten most extreme airports in a program of that same name. The airports on the list are included because of their extreme locations at high altitudes, difficult approaches, or short runways, all of which make landings challenging, and some would say even dangerous. Folks in the Pilots of America forum discussed the picks, and the most extreme airports they've flown.

Here's the list, plus their International Civil Aviation Organization airport codes and the reasons, thanks to PoA user PJ Gustafson (main links go to Wikipedia pages for each airport):

10. KSAN - San Diego, CA - Congested airspace, busy single-runway airport - however, no mention of the 3 busy GA airports or 2 Naval Air Stations nearby - just talked about airline traffic to/from KSAN (landing video from a window seat);
9. LPMA - Madeira, Portugal - Location on island, wind conditions, runway built out into ocean on stilts (night landing from the cockpit);
8. KEGE - Vail, CO - Altitude and approach/departure through terrain (landing over snowy terrain, cockpit view);
7. LFLJ - Courchevel, France - Altitude, approach through valleys, short runway with an 18.5% grade (landing over snowy terrain, cockpit view);
6. VHHH - Hong Kong Kai Tak - Approach between tall buildings, make sharp turn to final at 300ft AGL (above ground level) (747 cockpit landing, 1998);
5. LXGB - Gibraltar - Spain won't allow departures/arrivals through their airspace, so makes the approach/departure pretty interesting, highway goes across runway (landing from a window seat);
4. TNCM - St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles - Short-ish runway, high terrain on departure end, proximity to beach on approach end, crazy people "riding the fence" when heavies power up to take off (previously, with various clips);
3. TFFJ - St. Barth's - Short, downhill runway, slam-dunk approach over a hill with automotive traffic at the top (landing video from the cockpit);
2. MHTG - Tegucigalpa, Honduras - High altitude, short runway, approach through surrounding terrain (jet approaching prior to May 2009 984 ft extension);
1. VNLK - Lukla, Nepal - High Altitude, 1700ft. runway with 12% grade (landing video from the cockpit).
posted by filthy light thief (65 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw this program a couple years ago after seeing the title of it, it seemed like such a ridiculous thing.. X-Treme Airports! Do the Dew!

But wow, some of those (particularly LXGB, VHHH, and TFFJ) are either insanely stupid to have ever built, or fantastic feats of engineering.
posted by mediocre at 7:50 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


The St. Maarten airport is awesome. The Sunset Beach Bar and Grill next to the beach has great food and you can watch the planes land and almost decapitate people on the beach close to the runway fence.

Landing and taking off, jets cause so much wind that everything on the beach blows around. Beach towels go flying. If you stand there during a takeoff, so much sand blows around at such a high speed that it actually hurts when it hits you. I swear some grains of sand were embedded in my skin.

Also, Guavaberry rum.
posted by mmoncur at 7:57 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


It's an entirely different kind of flying.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:58 PM on January 9 [8 favorites]


Hers a gem of a tripod site linked to in a comment in that pilot's message board.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:01 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


That approach to St. Barth's is really scary. Here is a video of a plane that crashed into the ocean there. That really steep approach over a hill to a short runaway below looks terrifying.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:05 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


I just want to tell you both "Good luck." We're all counting on you.
posted by SansPoint at 8:06 PM on January 9 [18 favorites]


And after watching that jet approach the runway in Honduras, I don't think I will ever fly there. Yikes.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 8:19 PM on January 9


Umm. Isn't the photo (in the first link) of Saba?
not sure if I can stand to selflink my own past comments.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:33 PM on January 9


Telluride in a driving snow squall. Talk about corkscrewing down final!

The only time I ever threw up on an airplane was on approach to Telluride. I had been ... celebrating ... the night before, it must be said.
posted by stargell at 8:34 PM on January 9


I flew into Hong Kong once in about 1993. I wasn't especially knowledgeable about flying then (or now) but I do tend to pay pretty close attention to things that happen in the air. That landing was the whitest-knuckled I'd ever experienced. Nothing went wrong, but it sure seemed like an unreasonable amount of maneuvering, unreasonably close to the ground and a lot of buildings and neon signs. I figured it couldn't possibly be as scary as it seemed, since HK was a big, unexotic destination that people went to all the time. I guess I was wrong!
posted by spacewrench at 8:39 PM on January 9


here, direct video link.

It's Saba alright.


TOO LOW....FLAPS....TERRAIN! TERRAIN!
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:39 PM on January 9


Telluride came to mind for me first, and I was surprised it didn't make the list, but I see it made multiple mentions in the thread discussion.
posted by ill3 at 8:49 PM on January 9


What the Hitler channel has broken free of WWII and entered the modern era with the dreaded LIST? Say it isn't so!
posted by edgeways at 8:59 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


The most extreme airport I found was when I was researching some flights to get myself into the Middle-East, going via Baghdad requires a landing involving a "high altitude corkscrew dive, where the plane approaches the airport at high altitude and then spirals downwards in a tight corkscrew directly over the airport to land so as to avoid a long low altitude approach which makes it vulnerable to missiles"

I can't find the travel website which described it to me that way, but it immediately put me off transiting via Iraq.

Wiki link for corkscrew landing, it mentions it's standard procedure for Baghdad
posted by xdvesper at 9:00 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


I remember looking out the 7th floor window in a Kowloon office tower in the mid-90s and suddenly seeing the side profile of a 747 at my eye level as it approached nearby Kai Tak. That was kinda surreal.
posted by praiseb at 9:06 PM on January 9


I've been a passenger to that Tegucigalpa airport a couple times now. The first time I really had no idea about the landing until other passengers who had been there started joking about it and then said I was "in for a treat".

It wasn't my definition of a treat.
posted by edeezy at 9:06 PM on January 9


Have flown into Vail on a 6 seater from Denver. The approach is exhilarating.
posted by zippy at 9:07 PM on January 9


I used to fly in and out of Kai Tak in the 70's on a regular basis. You could sit in your window seat and look directly into apartment buildings alongside. I didn't think much about it at the time. There was a Pan Am captain of my acquaintance who joked about having a relationship with a woman who stood on her balcony and waved at the planes.
posted by pjern at 9:19 PM on January 9


I flew into Hong Kong once in about 1993. I wasn't especially knowledgeable about flying then (or now) but I do tend to pay pretty close attention to things that happen in the air. That landing was the whitest-knuckled I'd ever experienced.

The Runway 13 Approach to VHHH was the most wrong thing in flying. Here's is the approach chart. Allow me to copy the warning verbatim.
                               WARNING
Missed approach is mandatory by the MM1 if visual flight is not achieved
by this point. In carrying out the missed approach procedure, the right turn
must be made at the MM (2.2 NM2 from 'KL'3 DME4 if MM is unserviceable) as 
any early or late turn will result in loss of terrain clearance5 (emp. mine)
After passing the MM, flight path indications must be ignored.6
It's a truly amazing approach chart, and the correct answer is NEVER fly this. And, well, you never will again -- Kai Tak is gone. It's been replaced by a new airport, also VHHH, on the merged islands of Chek Lap Kok and Lam Chau. It has two runways, not one, and it has one other important feature that makes it a vastly safer and easier airport than Kai Tak ever was.7

And that's a good thing.


1 MM= Middle Marker. There are three defined markers on an ILS approach. The outer marker was where you were supposed to meet the ILS beam, the MM is where you were supposed to see the runway, and the inner marker was 100' from the threshold. Since this is not an ILS approach, but an IGS approach, here, the MM means something else. We'll cover that in a moment, but for spoilers, it involves A FUCKING MOUNTAIN.

2 NM= Nautical Mile. Here, this is a backup to the MM -- if you're 2.2NM from the beacon, you should panic. Why? A FUCKING MOUNTAIN IS THERE.

3 KL, here is an identifier for the IGS, the Instrument Guidance System, that provides guidance to the first part of the approach. It uses the exact same technology as an ILS -- Instrument Landing System --, but unlike an ILS, where the MM would tell you "if you can't see the runway, execute a missed approach", here, the MM means "If you can't see the runway to the right, turn right and climb, because YOU ARE FLYING AT A FUCKING MOUNTAIN. If you can see a runway, turn right and land, if you can. It's kind of tough, though. BTW, don't turn left, because THERE'S ANOTHER FUCKING MOUNTAIN OVER TO THE LEFT.

4DME = Distance Measuring Equipment. This IGS system can also tell you how far you are from it. Thus, the direction for panicking, I mean, doing something at 2.2NM DME indicated, namely, turn right and climb, because HELLO, WE MENTIONED THE FUCKING MOUNTAIN, RIGHT?

5 Loss of terrain clearance = YOU HIT THE FUCKING MOUNTAIN WE'VE MENTIONED. DON'T DO THAT. BAD.

6 Because, well, the flight path indication, namely, the IGS for Runway 13, has quite literally been making you fly AT A FUCKING MOUNTAIN. If you keep following the IGS after the MM, you will HIT THE FUCKING MOUNTAIN. We've put a giant orange and white checkerboard on the FUCKING MOUNTAIN to help remind you to NOT HIT THE FUCKING MOUNTAIN.

7 It is in the middle of the bay, well away from THE FUCKING MOUNTAINS.




posted by eriko at 9:25 PM on January 9 [34 favorites]


I have flown in and out of LFLJ (Courchevel, France) in a small jet (about 19 seats) and it was AWESOME. Like lose your lunch on the craziest rollercoaster you have ever been on awesome. My Mom screamed on departure as the plane 'dropped' into the valley.

She has only flown a few times since and that was in 1987.
posted by msjen at 9:28 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


Everytime there is an aviation thread like this on Metafilter, I decide I'm never flying again.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:32 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]


Everytime there is an aviation thread like this on Metafilter I end up on youtube for two hours.
posted by MillMan at 9:38 PM on January 9 [10 favorites]


There's other videos on youtube, but if you're ever landing in San Diego and weather conditions are normal, sit on the left side of the plane. There'll be buildings out that side less than half a mile away that are taller than the plane is high (video is sort of wide-angle and mutes the effect).
posted by LionIndex at 9:38 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


also Paro, Bhutan
posted by oog at 9:43 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


IT'S AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT KIND OF FLYING
posted by sixswitch at 9:49 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


This one's a little better - start around 11:30.
posted by LionIndex at 9:50 PM on January 9


I once flew in to Namdrik airport or, as I called it, the beach. The landing strip was basically a stretch of sand, the only building was a thatched roof on top of four upright logs and there were chicken walking the runway. It was terrifying and awesome.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:51 PM on January 9


Catalina
posted by LionIndex at 10:09 PM on January 9


Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit YouTube.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:18 PM on January 9 [1 favorite]


But the right week to quit flying.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:21 PM on January 9


The craziest landing I can remember is the one in Cancun. A BIIIIG turn at seemingly warp speed followed by a rollercoaster-type drop. And that was a 747.

I know that pilots grumble about the Little Rock airport a lot as well. The whole area is basically reclaimed swampland, and around the airport it still is swamp. The approach is over the Arkansas River, which is at least a mile wide, and the planes have to hit the runway like a hundred feet from the water. Landing there you feel like you're going right in.
posted by zardoz at 10:34 PM on January 9


Now I regret all those aisle seats I requested when flying into Kai Tak but the last time I was sitting by the window and yeah, you could totally see what people were watching on tv as the wing tip scraped a few clothes off the clotheslines.

Madeira, I hear they lengthened it a few years ago... (watches video)... pshaw! The end doesn't even jut out over the water anymore.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:36 PM on January 9


I've never flown in to Kai Tak (have to the new airport which is uneventful). Seasoned travellers have described landing at Kai Tak as the scariest thing they've ever done, though. Especially in a cross wind.
posted by dg at 11:27 PM on January 9


Especially in a cross wind.

NOPE. Christ, I think they landed that plane by sheer force of will.
posted by book 'em dano at 11:38 PM on January 9


No Dutch Harbor? Flying in there on a jet was something else.
posted by fshgrl at 11:38 PM on January 9


I still think the pilot who chose the USS Lexington (CVT-16) won the Pilots of America thread.
posted by happyroach at 11:52 PM on January 9


What no El Alto International Airport (IATA: LPB / ICAO: SLLP), disappointing.
posted by zinon at 12:20 AM on January 10


if you're ever landing in San Diego and weather conditions are normal, sit on the left side of the plane.

That's seat A in whatever row you're in. Came here to say this. I fly into Lindbergh regularly and tell everyone heading there to do this. You come in alongside downtown because the airport is actually right in the middle of the city.

I was there last week and stopped at a brew pub on the far side of the airport. I was warned about the "takeoff pause"...the break in conversation that has to take place whenever a plane takes off.
posted by dry white toast at 12:21 AM on January 10


San Diego's approach is nuts, but my favorite are the takeoffs over the water which bank around and give a terrific view of Mission Beach and the Giant Dipper.
posted by Spatch at 12:23 AM on January 10


"USS Lexington (CVT-16). Short, narrow, and moving."

For the record, the USS Lexington had a 866-foot runway; it saw 20 years of service and sunk in WWII. I know there were smaller aircraft carriers but there are not a lot of people left to talk about landing on them, so I think that guy pretty much wins this round of "most extreme landings."

My favourite airport is Nice. The runways are built in the water and the approach is stunning when you stop thinking you're landing in the actual ocean and are about to die.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:30 AM on January 10


For the record, the USS Lexington had a 866-foot runway; it saw 20 years of service and sunk in WWII.

Different Lexington.
posted by LionIndex at 12:42 AM on January 10


I still think the pilot who chose the USS Lexington (CVT-16) won the Pilots of America thread

Wha?
posted by pjern at 4:05 AM on January 10


The best part about Toncontín was certainly not being in the plane as it slammed you onto the runway, it was climbing up the hillside and watching feeling the airplanes pass you just feet overhead.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:55 AM on January 10


USS Lexington (CVT-16). Short, narrow, and moving.

Which puts the image of an A-380 dropping a tailhook and going for the third wire in my head.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:58 AM on January 10


Also frightening: Ísafjörður, Iceland. Water on one side, a mountain on the other, nestled near the end of a narrow fjord with often brutal crosswinds and requiring a hairpin turn just before landing.
posted by naturetron at 5:15 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


What no El Alto International Airport (IATA: LPB / ICAO: SLLP), disappointing.

This was an interesting one to do in a simulator (just FSX, nothing fancy). Because it's so high up, you have to go a lot faster just to stay in the air. The instruments are affected the same way, so the airspeed indicator looks normal for landing, but you're actually going a whole lot faster than normal when you touch down on the runway. Which has interesting consequences for things like actually stopping the aircraft before you run out of pavement.

Also the cabin pressurization system has to do some weird things when your landing altitude is a good 5,000 feet higher than the altitude the plane is normally pressurized to in flight. Normally the cabin is pressurized to the equivalent of 8,000 feet or so, and pressure increases as you descend so that at landing it matches the pressure outside at whatever your landing altitude is. But in this case the pressure has to decrease as you descend in order to do that. And it has to match the outside pressure when you land, or else you can't open the doors because the pressure holds them shut.

Takeoff is similarly interesting since you have to actually go a lot faster than normal to get off the ground, and engine performance is substantially worse than normal at the same time. And you may have to avoid weird limitations like tire speed limits during the takeoff roll, that you normally wouldn't encounter when taking off near sea level.
posted by FishBike at 5:41 AM on January 10


If you enjoy stories about crazy flights, check out And Then The Engines Stopped: Flying in Papua New Guinea. My favorite was when the short runway was wet and the plane almost overloaded, so the pilot had everybody get out, so that the plane could loop around and scoop people up just before takeoff.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:44 AM on January 10


Woohoo! No. 1!

I actually flew out of Lukla airport in a Twin Otter back in 1997 before the thing was even paved. It went of without incident, but the whole situation felt pretty hairy. The strip was in bad shape, rough enough to really visibly shake the shit out of the planes on landing and takeoff.

Before takeoff, the pilots would taxi right to the top of the sloping strip where it met the mountain, and bring the engines up to max while remaining stationary. Then, once the engines reached full power, they would pop the handbrake and send the plane rocketing off down the strip. This, combined with the relatively steep grade, maximised the acceleration over the small takeoff distance and made the whole situation look like a succession of aircraft based drag-races.

When my Otter took off, it felt like being kicked down a rocky hill while sitting in a plastic toboggan. Absolutely shitscared. I remember a few moments when I'm sure we lost gravity in the cabin for a few seconds after the plane went off the end of the cliff at the end of the strip and took a big dip. Gurp. There was applause and hugging in the cabin afterward.

The night before a bunch of us were a bit pissed, and I remember we were stumbling across this rocky open expanse to get to a different guesthouse where a mate was. It was snowing pretty heavily at this point, and everbody was wobbling around and twisting their ankles on the ground because it was covered almost exclusively by these big smooth pebbles the size of coconuts. Eventually somebody pissed off with the ridiculous terrain asks "where the fuck are we anyway?" to which somebody else closer to the front replies "middle of the airfield."
posted by Thoth at 6:19 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


The runways are built in the water and the approach is stunning when you stop thinking you're landing in the actual ocean and are about to die.


The Kai Tak Heart Attack was like that too:


"We're going in the water? We're going in the water! We're going in the water! BUILDING! BUILDING! BUILDING!"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:33 AM on January 10


Thorzdad: Which puts the image of an A-380 dropping a tailhook and going for the third wire in my head.

It's no A-380, but you've seen the C-130 landing on USS Forrestal, right?
posted by hanov3r at 6:34 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]


you've seen the C-130 landing on USS Forrestal

More impressive in that video may be the end where you see the C-130 taking off from the Forrestal!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:02 AM on January 10


More impressive in that video may be the end where you see the C-130 taking off from the Forrestal!

Is it just me, or did they do that without a catapult? I went to an air show a few years back and seriously the most impressive thing at the show was a C-130 with a JATO made for super-short runways. The thing taxied for about 50 feet, then *FOOOM* just went up at 45 degrees. Insane.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:27 AM on January 10


Is it just me, or did they do that without a catapult?

Correct. No hook for the landing, either. It's amazing what you can do in a plane that's designed for operation from short runways, combined with a strong artificial headwind. And a certain level of disregard for the usual safety margins, I suppose.
posted by FishBike at 8:06 AM on January 10


I'm impressed that, with its wingspan, the 130 could still roll down on the centerline and clear the superstructure. Carriers be some big-ass boats.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:12 AM on January 10


> Seasoned travellers have described landing at Kai Tak as the scariest thing they've ever done, though.

Yup. I flew into Kai Tak in the late '70s, and it was terrifying. Thanks for the memories; I'll go hide under the covers now.
posted by languagehat at 8:13 AM on January 10


Personally I'm not a fan of any runway where you are over water until right before landing. Asiana Flight 214 didn't help. Probably not too rational, since landing short is bad news whether it is water or land.

And the Polderbaan runway at AMS is pretty extreme too. It's the one to the far left on this airport diagram. Miles away from the terminals.
posted by smackfu at 8:44 AM on January 10


So the LFLJ runway is on an elevated berm and there's no go-around procedure? Sounds easy enough.
posted by ckape at 10:48 AM on January 10


Worth noting this is 10 scary commercial airports. There's lots more frightening / bad idea GA airstrips out there. But then you probably only need 1000' to land the little plane and you're an idiot landing at the tricksy places if you aren't already familiar with them. It's a whole different kind of scary in a big jet with hundreds of people on board.

Aspen is up there with Vail for scary commercial mountain airports. Similar problem, lots of terrain. Also you pretty much only want to land to the south on 15 no matter what the winds are. I was approaching from the south and foolishly accepted a clearance to land to the north on 33, and that's the only time I've used a forward slip to landing in anger. Had to come down like 4000' in about 25,000' lateral distance to get from the mountain I was over down to the runway. No big deal for a 182, but I couldn't imagine doing that in a big plane. (In retrospect, I should have been down in the valley.)

smackfu: the main lesson I learned from Asiana 214 is to be scared to death of badly trained pilots who can't fly manually. Which apparently is a lot of them.
posted by Nelson at 11:45 AM on January 10


Is it just me, or did they do that without a catapult?

Yes. And they did it multiple times. The reason they didn't standardize it is that they need to absolutely clear the deck, and that's actually quite hard on US carriers, which used deck parking to increase the size of the air wing. Basically, you'd have to strike what you could to the hanger deck, and fly the rest of them off.

It did lead to the development of the smaller C5 Greyhound COD aircraft. (COD=Carrier Onboard Delivery)
posted by eriko at 12:37 PM on January 10


It's no A-380, but you've seen the C-130 landing on USS Forrestal, right?
Now that is impressive. There's of margin for error on that take-off at all, is there?
posted by dg at 12:49 PM on January 10


There's of margin for error on that take-off at all, is there?

It would be interesting to see the takeoff performance calculations, yeah. The usual standard is along the lines of "safe at all times even if an engine fails at any point during the the takeoff". So below a certain speed, you have room to stop, and above that speed, you have room to continue the takeoff on the reduced thrust of the remaining engine(s). Plus some safety margin on top of that.

It seems likely there would have been points during this one where an engine failure would result in going off the end of the deck without enough speed to fly. On the other hand, a guaranteed headwind sure is helpful. Even more so for a C-130 than for a combat jet, I suppose, as the headwind is a larger percentage of its flying speed.
posted by FishBike at 1:13 PM on January 10


Well, I guess there is a tiny margin in that, if you do drop off the end, your airspeed is going to increase quite dramatically, if only for a very short period ;-)
posted by dg at 1:48 PM on January 10


The worst I ever experienced wasn't at a particularly difficult place, except for the fact that the wind was blowing crosswise at about 60 MPH. We were in a six-seater float plane coming into Victoria BC, and you have to make a big sweeping turn to get into the harbor proper -- but our tiny plane was moving perpendicular to the way we were pointed. The thing about a water landing is that there's all sorts of whaddyacallem, boats out there. Somehow we didn't hit any of them. They closed it right after; we were the last plane in. Only time I've ever barfed; I felt so sorry for my fellow passengers who were practically on top of me and my little bag.
posted by Fnarf at 6:35 PM on January 10


Barra International Airport (IATA: BRR, ICAO: EGPR) is a short-runway airport situated in the wide shallow bay of Traigh Mhòr at the north tip of the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The airport is unique, being the only one in the world where scheduled flights use a beach as the runway.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:05 PM on January 11


I think Major Buang-Ly, fleeing the fall of Saigon, landing a two-seat Cessna, no tailhook, with his wife and five children on the Midway beats all. It was his first carrier landing; it was the first carrier landing by any airplane in Vietnam's Air Force.

He didn't know where the Midway was when he took off, evaded ground fire, and only saw American helicopters once he was out to sea. He reasoned that they would be heading to the carrier and followed them. Before landing, he circled the Midway and dropped a note on the deck:

"Can you move these helicopter to the other side, I can land on your runway, I can fly 1 hour more, we have enough time to move. Please rescue me. Major Buang, Wife and 5 child."

The Midway's Captain Lawrence Chambers ordered "millions of dollars of UH-1 Huey helicopters" pushed overboard, ignoring an Admiral's order that the plane should ditch in the ocean. "At the time, Chambers had only been in command of the USS Midway for four or five weeks and believed that his order would get him court martialed."

There's a contemporary writeup in Naval Aviation News, July '75 (pdf, pp 32-33)

Here is some footage of him circling and helicopters being pushed overboard as well as the landing, and still images of the landing, taxiing, and a modest welcoming committee as the family exits the plane.
posted by zippy at 9:34 PM on January 24 [7 favorites]


« Older Steam locomotives weren't always brute machines. A...  |  Thor Harris on keeping shit si... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments