The Maho Beach Experience: AAL 687 – MIA to SXM

By popular demand, my recent flight was from Miami to St. Maarten. I always enjoy flying to this unique airport. My last flights in the sim to SXM were on KLM MD-11 from AMS and some Island Hopping on DHC-6 some time ago. This time it was on American Airlines flight 687 from Miami. Scheduled aircraft on this flight is a Boeing 737-800.

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After take-off on runway 08R in Miami, we will be following SID SKIPS1. Before flying over water for the rest of the flight, we will overfly downtown Miami. FL is 37,000 feet and approach into SXM will be the only option available: a visual approach for runway 10 with the stunning and famous final over Maho Beach.
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The pushback-truck is connected. We’re ready to start our journey from gate D19.
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The sky looks nice. Certainly better than the crappy, winter-like “summer” we have in Europe right now.
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Miami is clearly AA-turf.
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Ready to go on 08R.
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Spectacular take-off with the skyline ahead.
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It’s gonna be a lot less busy in St. Maarten.
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I want summer! And that beach. Now!
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1,065 nm to go.
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Still climbing out. From now on we’ll be flying over a lot of water.
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As we’re closing in on SXM, some nice Caribbean islands appear below us.
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It’s relatively cloudy around here.
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We’ll take the VOR Z approach to final course.
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SXM to our left. This was between JUICE and ULUBA.
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Runway ahead. Perfect conditions for a visual.
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Landing config.
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Getting closer.
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Did you ever wonder how this spectacular approach looks like from the flight deck? Here’s the answer.
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And I guess that’s what you’ve been waiting for. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
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A little video of the final approach.

We’re back at the gate.
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It’s beach-time now! And Margarita-time. It’s just 01:40 PM…but it’s five o’clock somewhere…
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I hope you enjoyed this flight, I sure did.

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4 thoughts on “The Maho Beach Experience: AAL 687 – MIA to SXM

  1. Great report! That beach approach is always nice. What are you gonna do next, some Caribbean hopping or just a long flight over to good ol’ Europe? Or are you maybe gonna go back to the States and try to catch the River visual again? Many possibilities! And one other thing, I hope you haven’t forgot my RTW trip! 😉

    Cheers, Sveinn

  2. Thanks Sveinn. I’m gonna head back to Miami for now. After that I’m gonna do the short trip to Port-au-Prince on B763, since that destination has been on my To-Do-list for a long time. Then back to MIA again and we’ll see what’s after that. Probably some more flying to Caribbean destinations or some more intra-US-flights. AA has a great network out of Miami, many interesting destinations.

  3. Great Stuff Max! Did this flight for real back in March (KMIA-TNCM) and in the sim this April. They use the 752 in winter and the 738 in the off season.

    http://altstiffsim.blogspot.ca/2012/04/bermuda-triangle.html

    The sim is almost as cool as the real deal. The take off shots you took are exactly what it looks like flying over Miami Beach (only I was in a 752!)

    (real deal video I shot of the landing at SXM in March)

    The only diff between your video and mine is mine has more people on the beach!

    Never gets old coming/going from TNCM. I could read about it and watch it all day. Great post…(I gotta drag my ass in to TNCM in the MD11 for sure soon).

  4. Thanks Al! Yes, I remember your report. Great stuff, too. It is really amazing, how good and real the sim can be, if you have the right addons. Even the now 9-year old FS9. I hope that Carenado will be successful with their new strategy. They’re converting FSX planes back to FS9 – they have found a new way of doing this. Would be great to see other developers following them.

    That video of your landing is fantastic. It seems as if this was a relatively high approach though, compared to the fence-clipping low one’s sometimes.
    You should fly the KLM MD-11 out of AMS to SXM. Who knows, how long they’re still gonna operate that beauty on this route. It’s a completely different experience, if you come in on a smaller a/c, or a heavy.

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