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Fielder

The Old Hong Kong Airport? Kai Tak ?

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I noticed a paragraph from an old webpage of 2002 talking about landing in HongKong (as a commercial airline passenger) 8 years earlier, that would be 1994 (Hong Kong belonged to Britain at that time).

 

Anyways, here it is below, I wonder if there are youtube videos of landings at the old airport in Hong Kong? 

 

" This time, the airplane landed at a NORMAL airport -- one with a straight-on approach path for the plane to follow. If you never flew into the old Kai Tak airport, you probably don't know what I'm talking about. The approach path to the Kai Tak airport required incoming passenger aircraft to fly a terrifying, low-level, zigzag path onto the runway. I sat by the window that first time into Kai Tak, and it was terrifying. Buildings went by at our very wingtips, it seemed. But the new airport is much more viewer-friendly than that. A lot less scary, I mean. "

 

http://sloperama.com/hk/hkmj.htm

 

 

 

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There are loads of YT videos of Kai Tak landings.  I was lucky enough to have been a passenger on a Kai Tak landing in the 1980's. The right hand window seats gave the best view if you wanted to see what the occupants in the high rise buildings in Kowloon were having for dinner.

 

"Terrifying zig-zag" is not accurate. The descent on the IGS was a normal straight line descent to 660 feet. Only then was the aircraft required to perform a low level turn from HDG 088 to 135 degrees to land on the runway. In windy conditions this did produce some spirited landings !

 

In flightsim world i use Fly Tampa Kai Tak, so for me "Nine Dragons" is forever still open.

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Aha Mr. Sloper was exaggerating. I had to wonder how a modern busy airport in a major city could be as he described there. 

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The approach itself required special recurrent training just to initiate. To say it would be challenging while IMC in turbulence is an understatement and I can only imagine the anxiety a first timer would have doing it.

 

"Terrifying" might be hyperbole, but exhilarating or at least pucker-inducing comes to mind!

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For FSX there is also free scenery by Jim Vile:

http://library.avsim.net/download.php?DLID=109953

 

For FS9 there is the 9Dragons free scenery that should still be available on AVSIM. It is excellent and very detailed.

 

It is possible to modify the navdata of some addons to enable them to fly to Kai Tak and to detect the IGS approach to runway 13. Jock McIntyre has provided manual

installation instructions for PMDG and Level-D (note that he has withdrawn the autoinstallers he mentions

early in the page):

 

http://www.vapap.com/kai-tak-airport

 

Mike

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The FlyTampon Kai Tak scenery is also pretty nice and worth a look.

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Aha Mr. Sloper was exaggerating. I had to wonder how a modern busy airport in a major city could be as he described there.

No exaggeration. Kai Tak was not a "modern" airport. It was built on a semi-island close to the heart of downtown Hong Kong many decades ago when aviation was just beginning. It was designed for the slow piston engine aircraft of that era.

 

The approach was as described. Incoming aircraft would make a circling approach whose last segment had the aircraft flying directly at the side of a hill, which had a large red checkerboard sign on its side as a warning. The aircraft would then make a 90+ degree turn at about 400 feet AGL, directly over a cluster of high rise buildings, to (hopefully) get lined up on the runway centerline. Adding to the "fun" was the fact that there were often severe cross winds, making the landings very challenging.

 

There are numerous YouTube videos of 747s making bad landings at Kai Tak... Landing almost sideways, scraping engine pods on the runway etc.

 

These issues are why Hong Kong eventually built a brand new truly modern airport of an artificial island several miles west, and closed Kai Tak.

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I Flew to Kai Tak several times in late eighties and early nineties. Very scenic approach with the impression in the turn that the wing is close to the building tops. But i would not say "terrifying". I walked down one afternoon the Kowloon district under the approach and Wow, i just loved the feeling of having a plane flying low over buildings every few minutes....

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747 landing at Kai Tak with a crosswind

 

 

Looks like fun ;)

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I just want to mention two approaches still in effect that require similar low-level turns (but do not involve flying toward a hill or hills until the last moment or flying in between high rise buildings):

 

1)  KJFK Canarsie (CRI) VOR or visual approach to runway 13L, approach is 41 degrees, turn to a 135 degree runway heading below 1000 ft.

 

2) KDCA runway 19 two LDAs and a visual approach, low altitude turn from between 145 and 147 degrees to 185. 

 

I recently heard a story second hand about an airline pilot who had never done it before, was quite nervous about it and practiced it quite a bit before his first landing (which went fine). 

 

Mike

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747 landing at Kai Tak with a crosswind

 

 

Looks like fun ;)

 

That's some MLG flying right there  :lol:

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