Wednesday, April 04, 2007

This is pretty cool. It's cockpit footage of the final 3 1/2 minutes of landing at Hong Kong's old Kai Tak airport. This is a Boeing 747 shooting the famous checkerboard approach and landing in rain. The instrument approach was set 45 degrees away from the airport, so when the pilots broke out of cloud instead of seeing the airport they'd see a large checkerboard sign set into a hill. Rather than hit the hill, the crew would turn 45 degrees to the right at 2 miles from the airport, then land. I imagine that would be tough to do in a large jet. The airport has since closed and been replaced by Hong Kong International Chek Lop Kok, an airport with a conventional instrument approach.

6 comments:

Flyin Dutchman said...

It was calling 30 feet and for me it looked as though I was still at circuit height. That is impressive stuff.

Aluwings said...

And I notice it's a right turn so the visibility for the Captain on the left side of the flight deck is even harder. A nice job.

For comparison, have you seen This One!

Aluwings said...

Sorry - that link didn't work - I say again:
This One!

Jim Howard said...

Awesome! That's one of the rare cockpit videos I've seen where the music added value, rather than distration.

Notice that at about 1:46 the airplane rolls out on short final with a perfect PAPI light display.

Good hands!

Dave Starr said...

You are one of the best "video catchers" I have ever heard of, Sully. Thanks for this one. I had the opportunity to fly into Kia Tak several times back in "steerage" and one time when we landed on 13 it was a lovely sunny day and I had a window seat on the right side. The video just doesn't show how close the wingtip was to the apartment houses at the end of the "checkerboard" turn. Airshow type stuff and my hat is off to all the crews who used to make that approach routinely.

BTW, the accident history of Kia Tak is pretty good ... a 747 overshot off the far end into the bay on that approach, (they sawed the tail off to get the (only) runway back in operation quickly),a couple "failed to clear the hills" incidents from the piston engine days and very little else. So far as I can find, no one ever busted one up on that approach ... an excellent testimony to the skills of those who did the job.

The actual approach the guys in the video were flying would be very interesting even if it were a normal ILS ... remember this came into being back in hostile Red China days and "shoot to kill" zones are within a few miles of the complex teardrop path onto final. If any one's a Microsoft Flt Sim aficionado write me at davestarr (at) gmail (dot) com and I think I have all the files to install the old Hong Kong airport along with the new.

Anonymous said...

In 1975 a 4 prop Brittania took off to seaward when the port inner engine failed. As they turned to go back to the airport the port outer also failed.They never recovered from the turn and dived into the harbour. 2 Pilots and the Load Master died. She was bound for Stanstead with a load of T shirts