They just dont make em like they used to… seems to be a regular phrase coming out of my mouth. Some of these things are obscure objects, some, like Kai Tak Airport, a complete part of a city. Some of these things you may remember, some you may have never had the luxury of hearing ever existed. But as long as they aren’t forgotten, they can remain a part of the fabric of my mind’s memory and maybe yours too.
… On to Kai Tak!
Kai Tak Airport was Hong Kong’s International hub from 1925 to 1998 when it was finally closed and replaced by the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, 30 km to the west. Kai Tak was located on the west side of Kowloon Bay in New Kowloon, Hong Kong. It was one of the worlds most deadly of airports due to the high volume of sky scrapers and mountainous surrounding terrain.
There was a specific way one had to enter to land at Kai Tak due to these configurations. First Hong Kong installed a big red and white checker board wall that was used by the pilots to plot their trajectory to line up to the landing strip. The pilot had to fly straight in until they reached the checkerboard wall and then the pilot had to make a 47 degree visual turn to line up to land at runway 13. This bay was also known for its heavy cross winds which added to its difficulty in landing.
The planes had to fly so low to the 6 story high rises that it is said “that people could see the flickering of tv’s in peoples apartments upon decent.
I personally have never been to Hong Kong and unfortunately am now unable to actually experience seeing a plane and buildings work together so closely (pun intended). I imagine living under the noise of the constant overhead jet may not have been super fun after the novelty wore off, but for me, having never been and never living underneath, it is the coolest factor Hong Kong had going on.
At least thanks to Youtube, i can spend hours watching footage, imagining that i was actually there. It really puts man’s amazing ability of engineering on display in every great way!
Here’s to you Kai Tak! May you live on in the minds of many!