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Tales from Kai Tak - 15 Years On

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Tales from Kai Tak - 15 Years On

Old 6th May 2013, 13:19
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Tales from Kai Tak - 15 Years On

Hi Folks

Is coming up on 15 years since I made my "Tales from Kai Tak" radio documentary. To mark this I've made the audio available on YouTube so it can reach a wider audience.

For those youngsters who might not know this is what it is about...
A Radio Documentary about landing at the old Hong Kong Airport with contributions from pilots who flew this challenging approach on the IGS-13 making a sharp right at the checkerboard at 500ft over the Kowloon buildings with just seconds to line up and land on the runway often in treacherous weather conditions. Over 1000 hours production time went in this project which features three flight deck landing (one in a simulator training for an engine fire on take off. Contributors include captains David West, Dick Duxbury, Chip Crosby, Ralph Requa, Barry Schiff, Manny Puerta, Tom Erikson, Chip Crosby, Randy Sohn, Tim Olson, Jim Hancock, Nick Bristow, and from Hong Kong Airport GM Tony Norman. Produced by John MacCalman and first broadcast on Radio Clyde in 1998 with special thanks to British Airways, Northwest Airlines (now part of Delta), Cathay Pacific and the most excellent team at Hong Kong Air Traffic Control.

So that we are not going over old ground, previous threads can be found here and here.
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Old 6th May 2013, 13:33
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So sad that Kai Tak will turn to a place for ocean liners later this year.
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Old 6th May 2013, 23:36
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Not so sad in MHO..at least the transport connection with possibly greater majesty, will remain!! I believe a small archive museum to Kai Tak is envisaged..maybe we should all push the appropriate buttons to ensure that happens!!
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Old 7th May 2013, 10:34
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Agree! Let's save the checkerboard! The paint of the checkerboard is fading now...sad to see that
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Old 7th May 2013, 10:38
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I second that Motion
Climbing up to the Chequer Board was a lot of fun
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Old 8th May 2013, 23:05
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To the 'oldsters'

How'd it compare to say........a night trap on a pitching deck in 'treacherous' weather?

Just curious
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Old 8th May 2013, 23:53
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How'd it compare to say........a night trap on a pitching deck in 'treacherous' weather?


I'm sorry, but not even close: the only similarity would be that both were done in an aircraft. Beyond that, forget it.
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Old 9th May 2013, 00:52
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Stand by for pi$$ing contest
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Old 9th May 2013, 01:32
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Hello Sailor. What a wanky question. Of course it doesn't compare. Personally, I would have loved to have flown the checker-board approach.
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Old 9th May 2013, 20:15
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Trevor, they told me when I joined there wasn't any such thing as a wanky question!?
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Old 9th May 2013, 20:18
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Sorry, I meant Trebor......
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 19:07
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I reckon the checkerboard should be preserved like the Hollywood sign in LA.
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 20:47
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I think the checkerboard is best honoured by putting up a massive shopping mall right on top of it with direct rail access to Guangdong. I think a few hundred luxury time piece shops ought to do the trick. In dire need of few more of those, I know.

The crowning jewel of this memorial should be a massive tower with 300 "Imperial" luxury units complete with trimmings fit for royalty: tiny balconies, recessed small windows, 5-closet sized bedrooms barely fit for hobbits.

But hey, it's "Imperial."

This is how we commemorate things in Hong Kong chaps. Get with the program.
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 21:18
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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!'
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 21:28
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Smile

Hi John,

Thanks for making your great documentary available on youtube, brought back many memories.

I well remember being on the flight deck of several arrivals to 13 (never 31 strangely), thanks to the crews of several friendly airlines. Thankfully, I never experienced an arrival on one of the more "challenging" days from the flight-deck, only from my 16th floor flat on Argyle Street, Kowloon and that was scary enough when the weather wasn't being too compliant and go-arounds were the order of the day. Hearing an aircraft on full power and knowing it is heading in your direction but being unable to see it has a funny "bowel-loosening effect". Strangely, the crews I flew with weren't as well acquainted with the chequerboard as I thought everyone flying the 13 IGS approach would be. I had to point it out to several of the crews.

Having visited "the chequerboard" a few times when it was in active service, I can vouch for its good placement, well apart from some local miscreants, who either didn't know its whereabouts or thought it had to be slalomed around! It was a great place to view arrivals to 13, and it should be preserved so that future generations can ask what it was for and us "Old Fogies" can tell them how it was the pinnacle of 20th century technology. Okay, maybe 19th century technology. But I bet there were very few 1st officers that could pick it out and sitting in the wrong seat on the wrong side of the aircraft doesn't count as an excuse!

Sadly, I never worked in the "tower" at Kai Tak, only down in the "engine room" (where real controllers used to lurk!) and my one visit to the tower was highlighted by all the staff ducking as a K..... A....... aircraft made an attempt at an approach via the "slaloming technique". It was that arrival that convinced me that 747s are virtually indestructible! And that being in a room with no windows makes for a much less stressful life.

Great memories, thanks John.
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 23:19
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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.
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 23:27
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And probably not the only dodgy approach by KA over the years.

They shouldn't be flying.

Go make cars 'n phones.
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Old 24th Sep 2013, 22:28
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OTB et al,
Just to clarify for those not familiar with Kai Tak ops
When you say KA (l'air de dragon), don't you mean KE ?
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Old 24th Sep 2013, 23:48
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Checkerboard? Just an obstruction hazard imo.

I never looked at or for it. You go where you look so I was more interested in seeing lead in cues and the runway.
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Old 25th Sep 2013, 08:32
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Cool

K....... A.......?

I couldn't possibly say.
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