February 21, 2006

You are on the invidual archive page of Kai Tak landing photos. Click Simon World weblog for the main page.
Kai Tak landing photos

For the nostalgia buffs, some photos of planes landing at the old Kai Tak airport below the jump. Feel free to share your own white knuckle experiences.

Click each thumbnail to enlarge.










posted by Simon on 02.21.06 at 01:31 PM in the Hong Kong category.


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Kai Tak white-knuckle nostalgia
Excerpt: Anyone who remembers making landings at Hong Kong's old Kai Tak airport should hop on over to Simon World...
Weblog: Imagethief
Tracked: February 27, 2006 07:59 AM


Ah memories... recall vividly as a child when visiting a friend of the family that lived in Lok Fu in Wong Tai Sin district where I would stand on the roof of the 18 floor building and watch 747's fly past after the sharp right turn at the checker board below eye level no more than about 300m away!

Pity that as a pre-teen, I didn't have the foresight to use the family SLR and take some photos for posterity! Likewise on the times my family and I flew in and out of Kai Tak.

I also know that there are a couple DVDs floating about on the Net available, footage shot from the days camcorders weren't banned in the take-off/landing phase of the flight.

Oh... one last thing, .bmp are never very good for serving as images online, might want to use the source .jpg/.jpeg ;)

posted by: Jonathan Stanley on 02.21.06 at 11:18 PM [permalink]

On one evening flight into Kai Tak in 1996 or 1997, I was allowed to sit in the extra seat in the cockpit (on the left side in the back) during landing. It was very dramatic -- I was gripping the seat very hard during the last minute or so. It was kind of funny, too -- atop one hill in Kowloon, there was a giant flashing yellow arrow pointing to the right, apparently signalling pilots that they should bank hard to the right in order to get to the runway.

posted by: I Lamont on 02.22.06 at 01:25 AM [permalink]

If I had the technical prowess, I would have saved them as JPEGs!

I once met a pilot who told me the Kai Tak was the only landing that made pilots pay up on their life insurance. Not very re-assuring....

posted by: Simon on 02.22.06 at 08:23 AM [permalink]

the kai tak heart attack.

wow, i never thought I would long for something I had never seen before.

post modern nostalgia?

i feel that if kai tak were opened again, hong kong would finally have something worth distinguishing itself from other cities. as it is, hong kong has become a bland place.

in some respects.

posted by: doug on 02.22.06 at 10:52 AM [permalink]

"If I had the technical prowess, I would have saved them as JPEGs!"

You've got mail! :D

The thing that still surprises me though is that after nearly a decade... very little has actually happened as far as redevelopment goes.

posted by: Jonathan Stanley on 02.23.06 at 01:19 AM [permalink]

Many people think the decline of Hong Kong started with either the rise of Shanghai or the return to Chinese control in 1997. But I actually date it to the opening of the personalityless and unfortunately named Chek Lap Kok airport. Hong Kong lost its soul when it lost the Kai Tak tenement-shaker landing. For visitors, it was really the perfect introduction to Hong Kong. I was lucky enough to have window seats a few times for landings there, and you count the roaches in Kowloon kitchens on the way in. I do miss it. Of course I don't miss having to launder my underwear after every landing.

You really have to respect any landing approach that requires a big "don't crash here!" checkerboard to be placed on the side of a sheared-off hill.

posted by: Will on 02.23.06 at 09:46 AM [permalink]

I only got the chance to experience Kai Tak in its final years of life: 97-98, but I loved it. Definitely the best flight experiences ever.

posted by: dishuiguanyin on 02.23.06 at 11:58 AM [permalink]

Fantastic photos! The thing that always spooked me about that landing (beyond the crazy banking turn) was the giant Double Happiness cigarette ad to the right of the runway as you were landing from over Kowloon. When you were on the ground for take-off, that ad seemed far down the runway, but almost every time you landed, you passed the Double Happiness ad still noticeably *not* on the ground. A few times, I was convinced we were going to end up in the water.

I remember talking to pilots who said that the standard approach called for a 45 degree bank on the turn. More experienced pilots knew the approach and took the turn a bit wider, but every so often you'd get someone new who followed the landing by the book.

And talk about nostalgia, that Canadian Airlines 747 made me long for the days of a Canadian airline with decent food and relatively pleasant service!

posted by: Andrew on 02.24.06 at 09:48 AM [permalink]

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