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Friday, July 19, 2013

Why Kai Tak, Hong Kong's Old Airport, Closed Down

Duck! Incredible pictures show EXACTLY why the world's most dangerous airport in Hong Kong was shut down 15 years ago

  • Kai Tak airport was shut in 1998 after deadly incidents became more frequent and airport was overcrowded
  • Pictures taken between 1992 and 1998 by teacher Daryl Scott Chapman, 41, who moved to Hong Kong from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire aged 16
With a perilous runway that jut out into the sea, and a descent through skyscrapers and craggy mountains, Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong was seen as the ultimate test of a pilot's skills.
The airport- which was shut down in 1998- was the site of botched landings that included planes crashing into the water and clipping buildings on their descent.
These spectacular images show the moment experienced pilots grappled with the notoriously dangerous landing, before the ariport was closed by the government in 1998 for its poor safety record.
Fasten your seat belts: The images show just how perilous the Kai Tak flight path and landing was. A JAL aircraft flies through high-rise buildings as it approaches the runway
Fasten your seat belts: The images show just how perilous the Kai Tak flight path and landing was. An aircraft flies through high-rise buildings as it prepares for landing
Spectacular: The small airport became dangerously overcrowded in the 90s. Its beautiful surroundings belie the danger involved in landing a plane here
Spectacular: The small airport became dangerously overcrowded in the 90s. Its beautiful surroundings belie the danger involved in landing a plane here
Washed up: A jumbo-jet crashes into the water when landing at Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong. Planes would sometimes run over the landing and plunge into the sea
Washed up: A jumbo-jet crashes into the water when landing at Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong. Planes would sometimes run over the landing and plunge into the sea
Calamity: This aircraft missed the mark on its low-descent by crashing into a TV aerial
Calamity: This aircraft missed the mark on its low-descent by crashing into a TV aerial
Dramatic: A jumbo-jet from Kai Tak Airport takes the notoriously challenging 'Hong Kong' turn which is taken after the aircraft flies over a marker
Dramatic: A jumbo-jet from Kai Tak Airport takes the notoriously challenging 'Hong Kong' turn which is taken after the aircraft flies over a marker
The action shots were taken between 1992 and 1998 by English teacher Daryl Scott Chapman, 41, who has lived in Hong Kong since he was 16.
The dramatic images show planes land on the 11,000 foot-long runway against the dramatic backdrop of the densely-populated city.
The Kai Tak landing required special training as pilots had to take a challenging last-minute manual turn known as a 'Hong Kong Turn' after they saw a checkerboard reference point above Kowloon Tsai Park.
The alarmingly steep descent over the harbour and crowded high-rise tower blocks meant Kai Tak was hailed as the sixth most dangerous airport in the world


Risky: 270 people were killed in 12 air accidents at Kai Tai. It served as Hong Kong's main airport until it was shut down by the Government in 1998 for overcrowding and its poor safety records
Risky: 270 people were killed in 12 air accidents at Kai Tak. It served as Hong Kong's main airport until it was shut down by the Government in 1998 for overcrowding and its poor safety records
U-turn: A Cathay Pacific from Kai Tak Airport aborts its landing in Hong Kong due to stormy weather. Pilots were aware of the difficulty of the landing
U-turn: A Cathay Pacific from Kai Tak Airport aborts its landing in Hong Kong due to stormy weather. Pilots were aware of the difficulty of the landing and the conditions required to do it successfully
Tight squeeze: This remarkable image shows the moment a Cathay Pacific aircraft from Kai Tak Airport flies through the city's buildings that are densely-populated
Tight squeeze: This remarkable image shows the moment a Cathay Pacific aircraft from Kai Tak Airport flies through the city's buildings that are densely-populated
Scrapped: The airport is now the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, for cruise liners. It is 15 years since the dangerous site was used as an airport
Scrapped: The airport is now the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, for cruise liners. It is 15 years since the dangerous site was used as an airport
Built-up: A Cathay 747 700 from Kai Tak Airport gets ready to fly from the infamously perilous runway that juts out into the sinking harbour
Built-up: A Cathay 747 700 from Kai Tak Airport gets ready to fly from the infamously perilous runway that juts out into the sinking harbour
Kai Tak was Hong Kong's main airport until 1998. It had suffered a shocking 12 air disasters with 270 people killed during this time - yet was handling nearly 30 million passengers per-year by 1996.
The deadliest incident was a US Marines Hercules flight which plunged into the harbour shortly after take-off in 1965, killing 59 passengers.
24 passengers were killed during a typhoon landing in 1967 and, in 1993, a Boeing 747 overran the runway during a typhoon.
The site of those dramatic flights has now been repurposed as the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, for crusie liners.
Unsafe: A low-flying jet dives over the heads of stunned onlookers
Unsafe: A low-flying jet dives over the heads of stunned onlookers
Document: The breathtaking images show the range of landings that took place on the treacherous runway
Document: The breathtaking images show the range of landings that took place on the treacherous runway

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