By Cailey Rizzo
December 19, 2017
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In this day and age, it’s increasingly impossible to go somewhere untouched or be one of the first to experience something.

But it's now possible to become one of the first people to fly into the remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean.

The island was first discovered by the Portuguese in 1502, but it was only a few months ago that methods for reaching the island changed. Up until this year, the only way to reach the island was a five-night sailing voyage from Cape Town aboard the RMS St Helena.

But in October, what was formerly known as “the world’s most useless airport” opened up to commercial flights.

The airport was supposed to open last year, however wind shear (gusts of wind that came in off the ocean and pushed planes down) made landing aircraft extremely unsafe. It wasn’t until May of this year that aviators figured out how to land safely. In fact, there are currently only four pilots in the world who are certified to fly into the airport—all of whom have undergone extensive training.

Related: The 19 Scariest Airport Landings in the World

Telegraph writer Emma Thomson was onboard the second flight to land at the airport since its opening, and she documented her experience as one of the first people to view the island of St. Helena.

She described the island as an “emerald interior of mist-laced, fern-filled forests. The only chink in her armour is a candy-coloured clutch of buildings squeezed into a 1,000-ft-deep ravine—the capital, Jamestown.”

But she also warned that with the arrival of commercial flights—and a suboceanic fiber-optic internet connection coming in 2020—the remote island will likely change over the next few years.

Flights to St. Helena are only available from Johannesburg or Cape Town, starting at about $1,080 for a round-trip.

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