Documentary: SD Airport Among 'Most Extreme' In World

Lindbergh Field 'Illustrates The Principal Of Air Traffic Congestion'

An internationally televised documentary on the History Channel is calling San Diego's Lindbergh Field one of the 10 most extreme in the world.

The documentary takes airports from all over the world and highlights what makes some dangerous and others challenging, but calls all of them extreme.

According to the documentary, "San Diego perfectly illustrates the principal of air traffic congestion."

The documentary uses the only deadly air traffic accident in Lindbergh Field's history to illustrate the point. In September 1978, PSA flight 182 was making its approach into Lindbergh Field when a Cessna crossed into its flight path. The crash claimed the lives of 144 people.

At the time, the incident over San Diego was the most deadly commercial aviation accident in U.S. history. It led to what is called terminal control areas at all airports -- restrictions on where planes can fly near airports.

According to Lindbergh Field executives, at peak traffic, the airport has 55 flights coming and going every hour. The airport is the busiest one-runway airport in the country, with an average of 550 flights per day.

The History Channel documentary refers to San Diego's airport as "the one runway wonder."

"The challenge in San Diego is not so much the mountainous terrain; the challenge is more the surrounding community," according to the documentary.

There's also a 100-foot tall parking garage less than 200 yards from the end of the runway. The History Channel documentary said this shortens the runway.

Frank Tullo was Continental Airlines' chief pilot in Los Angeles and Honolulu. He flew commercially for 33 years and told 10News San Diego's airport is challenging, but not dangerous.

In 2006, San Diego taxpayers voted against building a new airport away from the city center.