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Tales from Kai Tak - 15 Years On

Fragrant Harbour A forum for the large number of pilots (expats and locals) based with the various airlines in Hong Kong. Air Traffic Controllers are also warmly welcomed into the forum.

Tales from Kai Tak - 15 Years On

Old 29th Aug 2015, 12:31
  #41 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Not in a Bus
Posts: 331
OP - No.

What I have always found.... surprising....? is how, whilst chaps like yourself, can Wax Lyrical, with absolute justification about the good ole days and how, comparatively challenging and in fact, absolutely challenging Airline Aviation was back then - Woe betide the Mil operator who shares a nugget of erstwhile fun. So I won't....

However, your comment which ended
any pilot could ever wish for
included me and I didn't agree. I would not have mentioned it until your post which included me, and I NEVER refer to it to others unless it is raised by them, but I and many others have had
hand flying fun
which would, comparatively, IMO, fry your bollocks.

Main thing is we have both previously enjoyed ourselves, that's good enough for me.
White None is offline  
Old 30th Aug 2015, 00:14
  #42 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Hong Kong
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Originally Posted by Ocean Person View Post

I have a sneaking feeling that you and I would agree that washing off speed over the stretch of water between the islands of Cheung Chau and Stonecutters was the most pleasant piece of hand flying any pilot could ever wish for.
Hand flying? Are you nuts?

STP
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Old 31st Aug 2015, 09:58
  #43 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Wales
Age: 78
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Angel tankertrashnav

Tankertrashnav.
Not me, I was much later. If you click on RHKAAF or The Auxies, you can possibly research who your pilot was.
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Old 31st Aug 2015, 11:55
  #44 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
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As one of the RAF C130 pilots who regularly visited Hong Kong in the late 60's I remember the rumour that someone, getting as close as possible to the Checkerboard as we all did, had actually left tyre marks on it. I never noticed any myself but perhaps I was concentrating too much on the upcoming hard right turn.

It was always challenging in the "Herc" but we took our hats off to the 707 and diesel 8 barons with their greater inertia and lower manouverability.

Mind you, they probably didn't have to be trained on the Harbour Circuits and the Sek Kong recce as we did.

Anyone remember the Japanair DC8 that landed short at San Francisco? When, shortly afterwards Air traffic cleared us to land on 31 with "One Japanair ahead", the co-pilots response "Roger, landing, rolling or undershooting?" was well received by the tower!
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Old 31st Aug 2015, 12:32
  #45 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Australia
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Mind you, they probably didn't have to be trained on the Harbour Circuits and the Sek Kong recce as we did.
Lou,
Too right we did, and I didn't work for Cathay.
Best week's flying in our company was an aeroplane (little B707, later big B707 in my time, earlier years,DC-3, DC-4, then Electra) as a dedicated trainer for a week, with 20/30 pilots to be Hong Kong qualified, and all before the runway was extended and the 13 threshold displaced. Touch and goes on 13 and 31, with plenty of harbour circuits, required for Captains and First Officers.
A wonderful fellow, that I only got to know years after he retired from Cathay was Phil Blown, he never made the transition from the Electra to the 880, as many pilots of the era did not adapt to jets --- was an absolute fund of amazing tales, all of them true. Upset Australian DCA one morning descending into Sydney, dropped down and did a low orbit of his son's school at Bathurst --- woke up the whole town.
Phil was the Captain of the Cathay DC-4 shot down. Phil passed away about a year ago.
Getting in and out in the tail end of a typhoon could get really interesting, one of only two places I ever had to use full aileron and a boot full of rudder on a 707 to keep the wings "sort of level" was going in through the gap for 31 on a "windy" day. Who say you don't use rudder on a jet, except for an engine failure.
Even places like Sanaa or Quetta were never quite like "old Hong Kong".
Tootle pip!!
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Old 31st Aug 2015, 13:23
  #46 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
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In the late 80's early 90's I worked for a Far Eastern 747 operation and as our customer did not have staff approved on our aircraft i flew with the aircraft as flight mechanic - flying spanner to the old hands. I flew into Hong Kong many times - sometimes twice in one day and sitting in the first obs seat behind the captain gave me a good insight as to how the approach should be flown. Twice I had the living crap scared out of me by bad approaches - the first time the chequer board was overshot by a fair margin and the turn became tighter and tighter until the wingtip appeared to be down among the washing lines then the GPWS started screaming Sink Rate the F/O pushed the captains hand off the throttles calmly said 'I've been here before' leveled the wings and climbed out again - the next approach was ok. The second time was a complete screw up and we again were well off - we ended up having a final turn left not right with a GPWS Sink Rate warning at a speed way over normal after touch down,max braking and reverse was held until we stopped on the runway end markings - I watched the light poles out in the water getting closer and was convinced we were going in the water.As a spectator to these incidents all I could do was sit and hope that the right thing was done-much harder than being involved in the operation of the aircraft.
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Old 31st Aug 2015, 23:00
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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going in through the gap for 31 on a "windy" day. Who say you don't use rudder on a jet, except for an engine failure.
Well said, Leady - you've zoomed in my esteem.

Only someone who truly knew Kai Tak would apreciate that landing on 31 in the "right" conditions could be far hairier than the IGS/13 could ever be.
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Old 1st Sep 2015, 00:12
  #48 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Hong Kong
Age: 72
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Originally Posted by bcgallacher View Post
In the late 80's early 90's I worked for a Far Eastern 747 operation and as our customer did not have staff approved on our aircraft i flew with the aircraft as flight mechanic - flying spanner to the old hands. I flew into Hong Kong many times - sometimes twice in one day and sitting in the first obs seat behind the captain gave me a good insight as to how the approach should be flown. Twice I had the living crap scared out of me by bad approaches - the first time the chequer board was overshot by a fair margin and the turn became tighter and tighter until the wingtip appeared to be down among the washing lines then the GPWS started screaming Sink Rate the F/O pushed the captains hand off the throttles calmly said 'I've been here before' leveled the wings and climbed out again - the next approach was ok. The second time was a complete screw up and we again were well off - we ended up having a final turn left not right with a GPWS Sink Rate warning at a speed way over normal after touch down,max braking and reverse was held until we stopped on the runway end markings - I watched the light poles out in the water getting closer and was convinced we were going in the water.As a spectator to these incidents all I could do was sit and hope that the right thing was done-much harder than being involved in the operation of the aircraft.
In the years I worked at Kai Tak, I watched many such incidents from the control tower with many many aircraft that should have made a missed approach, force a landing off an unstable approach. I've been in the Tower with a DC10 from an Asian Airline over fly the Tower with the main gear only 20 metres above the Tower in a right bank trying to get back to the runway. He landed. To this day, I don't know how. We had a B747 from an airline to the SSE of Hong Kong overfly the cockpit of a B747 at the 13B Holing Point by an estimated 10 Metres who landed off the approach. I've seen many aircraft overfly the Aviation Club and land off the approach. The main difference between the airlines was that if one of the major Western Airlines was unstable, they went around. Most of the Asian Airlines did not, with the exception of the Japanese airlines. I always found them very professional. I was often asked by pilot friends from Cathay and Dragonair over a beer at the Aviation Club, "why don't ATC send an aircraft around which was obviously unstable". From a legal standpoint, we could not do anything. Let's say we sent the aircraft around and on the next approach, it crashed? Who is responsible? Even if it made a normal landing on the 2nd attempt, the airline would ask the Captain, "why did you go around?" The Captain would then say that ATC made him go around due to being unstable. The Captain would deny it, and ATC leave themselves open to compensation to the airline. Very frustrating having to sit there and watch.

I had a 747 from a South Asian Airline famous for its flight attendants landing 13 one day. The aircraft floated and did not touch until well over half way down the runway. How the aircraft stopped before going off the end I'll never know. It was the only time in 45 years in ATC I've ever commented to a pilot about his landing. I said, " I would have thought it would have been better to go around that time Captain." I got no reply.
ClearedIGS is offline  
Old 1st Sep 2015, 08:12
  #49 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Australia
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Cleared IGS,
"Back in the day" when I had a bloke (they were all blokes then) on command training, and we had a day off in VHHH, I would always take them out to the airport, and we would sit on the top of the terminal for a few hours (when you could do that sort of thing).
We saw just a small sliver of what you saw, but it was always an "educational" experience, and an eye opener for the person under training.
We always took the place very seriously, and there are some pretty fierce shears at the new joint, don't ever underestimate VHHH, old or new.
Tootle pip!!
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Old 1st Sep 2015, 12:20
  #50 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Hong Kong
Age: 72
Posts: 38
Angry

I never underestimated either airport. I was the Aerodrome Controller on duty when the MD11 crashed at Chek Lap Kok in 1999. Not very pleasant to watch.
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Old 2nd Sep 2015, 11:08
  #51 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: outernet
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So, were you in the tower when the MD11 snapped of his left winglet and a bit of his leading edge on the concrete at Kai Tak which could have ended up in a cartwheel down the taxiway into a B747?
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Old 2nd Sep 2015, 20:24
  #52 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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No I wasn't in the Tower for that one. There were actually a couple of those incidents with MD11s when they first started operating into Hong Kong. After so many incidents over the years, I actually wrote a memo to CAD suggesting that cameras should be positions on the Tower looking down 13 and one at the runway end looking up 31 so that the footage could be used in incident or accident investigation. They said it was not needed and nothing was done about it. When the MD11 crashed at Chek Lap Kok, someone in CAD came up with the bright idea that perhaps they should install cameras along both runways to aid in accident/incident & general operational investigations. As usual, it needs a serious accident to get action.
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Old 3rd Sep 2015, 06:38
  #53 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Does anyone have some good quality charts for the pre-IGS Cheung Chau - Stonecutters approach that they could either post here or send me by private message?
If so, many thanks in advance.
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Old 8th Sep 2015, 06:59
  #54 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Hong Kong
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Thumbs up

Check your PMs
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Old 8th Sep 2015, 12:53
  #55 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by ClearedIGS View Post
Check your PMs
Any poss I might see same please??!!
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 04:11
  #56 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
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Originally Posted by goudie View Post
Probably apocryphal but a story did the rounds at Kia Tak in the early '70's, that a sign was painted under the checker board saying, 'Turn right!'
Like the left pointing arrow on the gasometer at RAF Northolt.
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 04:15
  #57 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
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Originally Posted by Lou Scannon View Post
As one of the RAF C130 pilots who regularly visited Hong Kong in the late 60's I remember the rumour that someone, getting as close as possible to the Checkerboard as we all did, had actually left tyre marks on it. I never noticed any myself but perhaps I was concentrating too much on the upcoming hard right turn.

It was always challenging in the "Herc" but we took our hats off to the 707 and diesel 8 barons with their greater inertia and lower manouverability.

Mind you, they probably didn't have to be trained on the Harbour Circuits and the Sek Kong recce as we did.

Anyone remember the Japanair DC8 that landed short at San Francisco? When, shortly afterwards Air traffic cleared us to land on 31 with "One Japanair ahead", the co-pilots response "Roger, landing, rolling or undershooting?" was well received by the tower!
I remember Japan Air Flight 2 and the famous Ahso Defense. A fine bit of aviation lore.
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 05:04
  #58 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Hong Kong
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Originally Posted by GVFlyer View Post
I remember Japan Air Flight 2 and the famous Ahso Defense. A fine bit of aviation lore.
And she flew again .... although not sure about the crew. Then there was the "Katagiri Defense" for the one Capt Katagiri plonked deliberately short at Haneda in the early 80's.
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 15:55
  #59 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
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Nearly banned

A certain european carrier bought 10 old 707s to enter in the charter market in the 70s. They destroyed two and nearly a third on the checkerboard approach which saw the threat of banning their imperial cousins who had been operating from the earliest days into Hong Kong.
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Old 18th Mar 2020, 14:02
  #60 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Aust
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque View Post
I was based at Kai Tak for a few years. One of the most scary things I ever saw:

I was waiting in dispersal in my SAR S-76 for departure clearance, looking northwest towards the checkerboard. The cloudbase was low, marginal for the approach, with a very even layer of cloud with good visibility below.

A (KA) 747 was on the IGS. The tone of their radio calls made us think that the pilots were finding it hard going. Nothing was seen of the aircraft when suddenly, the call "Going round!" was made.

At that moment, the port wing and No.1 engine (only) briefly appeared below cloud; the aircraft was very low and was rolling left. It should have been rolling right. The wing then disappeared back into cloud! This meant the aircraft was turning towards the steep, high hills just to the north of the airfield instead of carrying out the correct missed approach procedure, which was over the runway and out through the gap.

Mt finger was going for the transmit button but ATC were very quick off the mark and gave them a very terse warning! After a few intense moments they obviously got it sorted out but they flew well north of the runway. For a while we all held our breath because we thought we were about to witness a major disaster.
I think you will find KA were not operating 747s when Kai Tak was still opened, in fact it was after 2002.
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