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1/09/2008 – Cathay Pacific Lets You Experience Landing At Some Of The World’s Greatest Airports
Have you ever wondered what it looked like to peer out of the cockpit of a Boeing 777-300 as it approached New York’s JFK airport? Have you ever wanted to look out the cockpit window of a Boeing 747-400 as it approached one of the steepest and most dangerous airports in the world (Hong Kong’s old Kai Tak airport)? Well now you can………sort of.
Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) has recently added an interesting online experience for visitors to its interactive web site. This feature allows you to go into a flight simulator with CX‘s Captains and First Officers as they train for landings in the Boeing 747-400 and 777-300 simulators.
While it is fun to watch to the arrivals through the simulator cockpit window at Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport (HKG), New York’s JFK (JFK), Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International (SYD), London Heathrow (LHR) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the real thrill is to be able to watch both day time and night time approaches into the now abandoned Hong Kong Kai Tak International Airport.
Why is watching the approach from a pilots point of view into the old Kai Tak International Airport so thrilling? Because the approach into this airport was amazing, world famous and appeared to be a controlled “suicide dive” towards the airport.
The end of Runway 13 (the end most aircraft landed from) had a slight problem with direct approaches, the heavily populated area of Western Kowloon, the crowded Victoria Harbour and the minor inconvenience of a Mountain Range (who builds a runway in the middle of a busy international harbour and facing a mountain range? I have no idea).
Pilots would need to fly fairly low looking for a red-and-white ‘checker-board‘ sign facing up at them from the ground then make a very steep right turn less than 2 miles from the runway, followed by a final right turn at an altitude of less than 700 feet.
Sounds challenging, right? Now add in the normal inconsistent cross-winds coming down off a mountain range into a large busy shipping harbour and you might get the idea of why watching landings at the old Kai Tak Airport were SPECTACULAR!
So want to experience landing at Kai Tak for yourself from the front seat of a Boeing 747-400 on a steep downward approach?
When watching the video watch the incredible steep turn in the approach guidance lights on the ground!
–Click Below To View An Actual Approach into Kai Tak Airport–