I just replied on a Linkedin discussion on this subject, links below. My reply:
Hi, this was indeed an interesting subject!
As a possible expert I am not too happy about “showcasing” or ranking airports like this. It tends to glorify the aviators and scare the public. I flew the UN/ICAO Twin Otter on all the STOL ports in Nepal for 3 years, in the mid eighties. This included the famous Lukla, which is often ranked as number 1 on these lists. There are however other “exiting” airports there as well. A part of the ICAO mission was to certify the STOL ports with regard to Twin Otter operations.
These airports do indeed require “Will and Skill” based on insight and discipline, to be flown safely. Necessary assessment and training is hence needed. “Will and Skill” is my preferred definition of Airmanship as it is short and simple. It points to the fact that piloting an aircraft is demonstrated through attitude and behavior based on insight and discipline. It is not only an academic exercise and/or about system operations. A good metaphor is Seamanship as in the proverb: “A Sailor do not scream against the wind, but learn to sail to the shore”.
I was lucky enough to be an Aviator when pilots first and foremost where considered craftsmen. This does not mean that technology is not beneficial to flight safety, if used the right way. If however it is used to replace the pilot(s) to the extent that they are not piloting the aircrafts anymore, Lukla and the rest of the airports in the World are all potentially dangerous.
I have just started my own website Airmanship.com which will present the Nepal flying, including airport most people have never seen. We are currently working on converting and sorting the videos. One “teaser” with Manang Airport at 11 000 feet, is already there.
Regards Captain (Retired) Stein Arne Fossum (Lukla Survivor ☺) www.airmanship.com