Friday, February 11, 2005

Hong Kong Follies

Some aviation fun. A friend e-mailed this, with photo attachments. I've linked the pictures below. Here is the e-mail forward I sent to my pilot friends:


These photos and descriptions are pretty cool. I remember landing at this airport in an airliner in 1990. Pretty scary. On short final I was looking down on the city streets. As we passed a McDonald's I remember thinking to myself, "Well, it looks like that guy's having the Hot Mustard Sauce with his McNuggets." That's about how close we were.



Subject: Hong Kong Airport

Below are the memories of an unidentified retired airline pilot:

"Fond memories? I showed the Jepp approach plates for Hong Kong to an air traffic controller at the Denver Center. His comment was close to, "You gotta be kidding!" There were a few other words in there that I have deleted. The ILS approach was to a hill, not the runway. If you followed it all the way, you wound up in that checkerboard pattern in #3. The drill was to fly to minimums, and then crank it over into a hard right turn and dive for the runway. There was usually a cross wind, which explains some of the other pictures. It was pretty easy to get a wing tip, or an outboard engine.

Some of the lucky ones got both outboard engines, the first at impact and the second trying to recover from the first engine strike. And you couldn't cheat by going below glide slope or turning in early. Large buildings downtown. And if the approach wasn't enough fun, note that the runway is short. More than one went off the end, or the side, into the bay.

Missed approach? Note the hills. Yep, another hard right turn and climb, baby, climb! The weather was usually not clear. Clouds were the norm, with a bit of fog or mist, and sometimes heavy rain. It's tropical there. There was an approach to the other end of that single runway. It wasn't much better. More hills and the missed approach was a hard left turn to avoid the hills and the big buildings.

Yeah, just another day at the office.

The new airport is almost easy. There are still the hills all around the bay, but at least the ILS takes you to pavement. And you don't have to look up at the people in the higher floors. You don't really appreciate flying in America until you have flown out of it. There were some airports in South America that were almost the equal of Hong Kong.

Did I mention what braking was like on a rainy day on that short runway? Or the huge puddles that formed because the airport was sinking?


Photo links:

Are you sure this is the right street?

You lowered the gear, right?

Tray tables should be in the upright, locked position.

Okay, I'm almost on the centerline. Did you lower flaps?

Should I be aiming for the gray or the green, here?

Where's the windsock? I think I got a crosswind!

Plenty of time...Plenty of time...

Should have "kicked" a little sooner.

Who needs brakes? I've got the outboard left engine!

I love the smell of Goodyears in the morning.

I saw a skateboarder do this.

You were right. It won't skip.

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