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Tales from Kai Tak - 15 Years On

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Tales from Kai Tak - 15 Years On

Old 27th May 2021, 09:19
  #121 (permalink)  
Rie
 
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There were some great stories that came out from the old boys. Unfortunately I have had news of the passing of Killa. I heard some amazing stories of his over the years. Thoughts go out to his family. He was a big part of Cathay and many will remember him.
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Old 27th May 2021, 09:27
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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So this may interest some of the folks on this group. I am playing a rugby match next week for the 28th Squadron Old Boys vs Police old boys. 28th squadron is an RAF squadron that was based in HK before the handover. I am a member of the Flying Kukris RFC, which has its roots in the Shek Kong barracks and airfield. I am also a member of the HK Aviation Club and was a regular flying member until all flight ops ceased due to Covid. I am the only member of the team that is both a Kukris and HK Aviation club member. I was never in the RAF, but I find it interesting that the old boys team of the Flying Kukris keeps the 28th squadron name going. I have not played a full contact rugby match in over 30 years (have coached a lot and played touch) so i may not survive! If anyone wants to come by (or indeed play for us!) the match is Thursday 3 June at 19h00 at the Police Sports and Recreation Club on Boundary Street.
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Old 27th May 2021, 14:21
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Mike has passed on? How very sad. A good man, raconteur extraordinaire and gift to all that knew him.
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Old 27th May 2021, 15:17
  #124 (permalink)  
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Unfortunately he has. He helped and encouraged many people both during his time with CX and afterwards. One of those great pilots you look up to knowing they had something special.
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Old 28th May 2021, 21:04
  #125 (permalink)  
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Used to do a Kai Tak turnaround from Bangkok with Lauda Air.staying at Rama Gardens Hotel for two days before back to Vienna.
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Old 28th May 2021, 23:25
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Ah, the Rama Gardens.....
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Old 30th May 2021, 18:26
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The last time I stayed at the Rama Gardens was when we operated into Don Muang. The crew bus would take us initially away from the airport (only one way after you leave the hotel), drive a few kilometers, do a u-turn, then head towards the airport. Must admit, I always found the Bangkok Stonehenge interesting….never knew why it was never torn down.

Apologies for the thread drift.

As far as Kai Tak, after an exciting 47 degree turn onto R13 and landing, I distinctly recall the aroma of sewage mainly throughout the cabin; you knew you had landed in Kai Tak.
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Old 30th May 2021, 20:08
  #128 (permalink)  

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Sometimes the smell from the “nullah” between the runway promontory and the taxiway was powerful enough to make you retch at the first sniff. I don’t know what it was, but it could turn shiny new brass padlocks a dark purple in colour within a few days. It was also capable of causing problems with gold plated contacts on avionics boxes.

Allegedly, Bob Hope stepped off an aeroplane on his first visit to Kai Tak, took a breath, pulled a face and asked “What IS that smell?” The answer came, “Well, it’s $hit, Bob!” His immediate response was “OK, but in that case, what the hell did they do to it?”
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Old 30th May 2021, 20:16
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I wouldn't want to perform the Kai Tak landing even if they paid me well.
What an awful approach design and an even worse airport location/layout.

A short runway in the middle of a built up metropolis with water either end of the threshold.
Mountains to the N and water everywhere else.
Not the safest place in terms of degraded aircraft performance.
I'm just surprised there were not more accidents at that field especially when the IMC rolled up.

I would say one thing though. The men and women who flew those approaches down with white knuckles deserve my respect.
It's a shame the field is now a cruise terminal. The least China Hong Kong could have done was kept it as an airport museum or what-not.
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Old 30th May 2021, 20:46
  #130 (permalink)  

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A320,

Kai Tak in its final form evolved, rather than being actually designed. The airfield used to be on the area that became the apron.
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Old 30th May 2021, 23:29
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The stagnation of harbor water played a large role in such over developed aromas. I am not sure if it has been rectumfied by a civil engineer, simply opening circular flow by tunneling a drain under the runway may have alleviated most of the problem…..
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Old 31st May 2021, 00:18
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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that's pretty funny
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Old 31st May 2021, 01:28
  #133 (permalink)  
 
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Couple of stories about the Kai Tak nullah (storm drain). In the bad old days Diamond Hill, where the nullah originated was a squatter area where much illegal sewerage dumping ended up in the nullah as did the outflow from some illegal textile dyeing factories. The nullah not only stank but was forever changing colour!

One sunny afternoon when the HK harbour was at its most fragrant, I was handling a BOAC 747 that landed on 31. On plugging in the headset the Captain asked me to witness the opening of the aft cargo door as the cabin crew had reported a nasty odour in the aft cabin on final approach and BA had recently experienced a bad spill in a rear hold that had been detected by the cabin crew. I replied wilco but I think you’ll find the foul smell is external to the aircraft. Nothing in the aft cargo hold and the Chief Purser met me at L1 door as I entered the aircraft and laughingly apologised for the false alarm having stuck his head outside and taken in the fragrant harbour. Actually, that day was the worst foul odour I can remember from the harbour.

On another occasion, BA 747 again, parked on bay 8 which put the right wingtip over the nullah. Unfortunately, the right nav light was inop on taxi in (only 1 lamp per wingtip in those days) and next sector was a night flight to Oz so what to do as no way external ladder or steps could be used. Ended up going out on the wing via R3 door and laying down with head over the nullah and carefully removed the light cover, relamped it and put the cover back without dropping anything. Much use of sticky tape to tape screw to screwdriver and screwdriver to wrist.

On another evening a HK Auxiliary Air Force chopper took off on a rescue mission only to suffer a tail rotor failure shortly after lift off crashing into Kowloon Bay just off the end of the nullah. Crew were uninjured but were held in hospital for about 3 days as a precaution to make sure they didn’t catch anything after coming down in the nullah’s outflow.

Diamond Hill was eventually cleared of squatters and illegal factories and at some point the nullah was covered over to create more ramp space.
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Old 31st May 2021, 03:25
  #134 (permalink)  
 
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Meeting with government representatives and civil engineers in about 1999 over the future of Kai Tak, we asked about the nulllah and how it could be cleaned up. They offered an oxygenation system of water pumps for starters, which I believe they installed, but when it came to dredging they said no.

Apparently as well as the pig farms and dye factories of Diamond Hill and the catchment area for the nullah, there had been many early electronics factories who washed their effluent straight into the drains. Core samples had shown levels of Cadmium, amongst other noxious metals that were so far in excess of world standards for mud extract that there was no technology in the world that could process it. So they left it there.

We didn't get our GA airport anyway...
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Old 31st May 2021, 09:31
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A320 Glider

Was fun in a 90kt typhoon !
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Old 31st May 2021, 21:44
  #136 (permalink)  
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I was fortunate to be a pax into and out of Kai Tak a number of times, not yet into the new. On one arrival it was very frustrating to have been unable to change my seat and I was in the middle section of a United 743 economy. Usually I nabbed a window. Never had a go round, they nailed it every time. Only interesting moment was a BA 744 on a night departure out over the bay. I was in Club on the right hand window and, about 20 seconds or so after rotation, there was a loud bang from the Starboard wing, sounded like a compressor stall. A few hours later when I was able to visit the flight deck, I asked the FC if that was what I had heard and they said No. But course, fully laden on a hot evening, the Queen just carried on sailing out through the gap no matter what the bang was!

The project I was working on was based at the Kwai Chung container port for HIT. So I had a good view through the window of approaches in towards Stonecutters where they turned off to Starboard and headed for the Chequer Board. One Sunday, I walked from my hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, followed the approach line up to the chequer board and then down to the fence. Great afternoon to be underneath the big turn.
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Old 1st Jun 2021, 00:41
  #137 (permalink)  
 
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There must be many stories of "hairy" approaches to 13 but the potentially most dangerous one I am aware of occurred in the early 70's before Malaysia Singapore Airlines had split into MAS & SIA and maybe before the IGS was operational.
Dark night with typical tropical downpour. I was sitting in our ramp office at Bay 5 waiting for next assignment to land when the tower controller said in a most urgent tone "MSAxxx turn right and go around immediately" repeating it once or twice. I stepped outside to see what was up and the MSA 737 went directly overhead (at Bay 5!!) wobbled a bit then swooped over to regain the runway centreline and climbed out through the gap. MSA then requested an ILS for 31 with a tailwind and landed normally. Apparently they had missed the point at which they should have commenced turning onto the runway heading and their landing lights were seen by the tower through the heavy rain heading toward Choi Hung at which point the tower issued his urgent instruction. I heard the next day the chequerboard flood lights had shorted out in the heavy rain but don't know if this was true or just speculation.
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Old 1st Jun 2021, 03:57
  #138 (permalink)  
 
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Meikleour

I think what you have described is the 13 NDB approach. We would overfly CC NDB towards SC NDB then turn right towards the airport. I can't remember the DH as it was too long ago. Take a look at this Swiss Air video. The approach starts at 5:45 min.

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Old 1st Jun 2021, 04:00
  #139 (permalink)  
 
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OK4Wire

Rama Gardens... a blast from the past.
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Old 1st Jun 2021, 04:23
  #140 (permalink)  
 
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Sqwak7700

Hong Kong doesn't need an airport. Shut down CLK and sell the land to the developers. How many skyscrapers can they build at CLK? If anyone wants to travel, just use the airports in Shenzhen Bao'an and Macau.
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