Landing at the old Kai Tak Airport (633squadron, take note)

633squadron will like the music. :wink:

Not a pilot, but it was no joy as a passenger either.

My first trip overseas, I thought we were going in the drink, damn. My heart was racing when we touched down.

I flew into Kai Tak a couple of times. Both times, it was on Cathay Pacific, and i figured the “hometown” pilots probably knew the airport better than anyone. Still, i remember looking out of my window as we made that last right-hand turn, and seeing people in the upper floors of the apartment buildings, only a few hundred feet away. Scared the crap out of me the first time.

Looks really scary because it is big airplanes. Well, it is scary for passengers…

What amazes me is the abuse the landing gear on big birds can take…

There were good reasons why they replaced that airport. Would have been done years before if the Chinese had agreed.
For some views of Kai Tak and Hong Kong in the 1950s before the building started see the movie The Night My Number Came Up

I flew in there as a passenger a few times in the 1990’s and was astonished how the pilots could shoehorn those jumbos into that smallish airport. What a thrill/nightmare for a pilot on his first approach there, especially in rough weather!

I’ll see your Kai Tak and raise you a Sint Maarten

If you survive that, try Courchevel, in the French Alps.

Is that where the opening bit in Tomorrow Never Dies was filmed?

Some more fun airports

Man we need video of planes approaching those places

As one of the youtube comments said, surreal.

I suppose if you asked the locals, they’d just say you got used to it :dubious:

I loved flying into Kai Tak and did so at least dozens of times. It was great going with a newbie and making them sit in the window seat. bwahahahaha

I remember the china air that went off the end of the runway into the water. A day later, we watched from our office tower when the airport dynamited off the tail. The tail was sticking up at the end of the runway and causing a flight hazard. Awesome.



A friend used to fly 747 freighters, and got to Kai Tak about twice a month. He said it was rarely dull.

He told the story of a nearly new Airbus that overshot the runway and wound up in the water, with only minor damage. The airline was making complex salvage plans when they were informed by the airport authorities that they had an hour to do as they wished, at which point a demolition crew would be on board to plant charges that would blow off the tail of the Airbus, which was deemed to be sticking up high enough to make it unsafe for heavy aircraft to depart.

Landing at Kai Tak was fun (stand it on it’s ear, dive, flare, brakes, full reverse engines, pray like hell you stop before the water), but taking off was kind of neat, too.

They would often tow the big airliners out to the runway before they fired up the engines, but once they started the engines, the pilot would stand on the brakes while winding up the engines to full power. The planes would be shuddering like mad before they got off the brakes and let the plane roll out. At the end of the runway it was sharp climb, roll, level out, roll the other way, and then climb.

Yee haw.

The apartment buildings at the end of the runways were high enough, but on top of them, there were another two or three stories of makeshift “squatter”-type apartments added on even higher.

How they avoided major disaster for all that time is incredible.

see my post :slight_smile:

I posted this comment on the YouTube video:

Sorry - don’t know how I missed it. (I’m usually good about reading before posting. Really. I swear.)

That’s the YouTube video we really want to see.