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Kai Tak Operations Query  
User currently offlineMirrodie From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 7443 posts, RR: 62
Posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3732 times:
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OK, we have all seen the videos of those larger birds twisting and swerving to land on that infamous runway.

My question is this. If that runway 13 was such a hasssle, why didn't they just use 31 and approach from the other end? I don't think I have ever seen photos taken from the other side!

Also, in this photo, see the 737 on the ground that is about to turn on to the runway? Who will get/got clearance first?? THe 777 that is about to land or the 737?


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Thanks for your insight.


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22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDC-10 Levo From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 3432 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3688 times:

Was the airport closed because of moments like these?

Why didn't they just use the other end of the runway? Would this affect aircraft taking off?

DC-10


User currently offlineStephen007 From Singapore, joined Mar 2000, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3673 times:

i reckon that if rwy 31 is used, it would have proved truly dangerous and catasrophic for the dense urban population. remember that kowloon city is built around kaitak. (man, u should have seen kai tak when it was still in use, a winding expressway just a few hundred metres from the threshold and dense housing right behind and around it)

should an aircraft take-off failed and couldnt climb out of danger, there would have been a major disaster considering during take-off, thats where the fuel tanks of a/c are potently full. using rwy 13 would have been a hell lot more safer. remember the CI B744 (B-165) accident? should it happened while using rwy 31, i think there would be loss of lives esp on the ground!


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that is my assessment on the banned (i think) usage of rwy 31.
anyone can confirm?




User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3669 times:

Hello Mirrodie.

Regarding who will get clearance first (the China Southwest Airlines 737 or the Cathay Pacific Airways 777), the 737 would, and has obviously already received clearance for take off when this photo was taken --- because it's moved past the "Hold Short" line for rwy 13 and is entering that active rwy.

The most likely scenario for this situation is that the 737 crew anounced to the tower controllers that they were "ready to roll" while they were still taxiing toward the end of the runway and were close to the rwy's Hold Short line.

At this point, if the controllers felt there would be no conflict between the 737 and the 777 turning onto final approach (if the 737 could do a rolling takeoff), the controllers would have instructed the 737 crew that they were cleared for take off "WITH NO DELAY!!!". If the 737 crew could not continue to roll across rwy 13's Hold Short line and begin their take off roll while they were still moving, then they would be required to refuse the take off clearance and Hold Short of the rwy.

I believe that the 737 in this photo is performing a rolling takeoff and the crew has already began to apply takeoff power.

PS, I could be wrong though. Perhaps the 737 has only been cleared to taxi into postion on the rwy and hold, while the 777 crew flys right over top of it and lands. Then the 737 would be cleared for takeoff. Is this how the tower controllers worked at China's Kai Tak Intl? Big grin

Chris  Smile



"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offlineBellerophon From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 583 posts, RR: 59
Reply 4, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3674 times:

Mirrodie

...If that runway 13 was such a hasssle, why didn't they just use 31 and approach from the other end?...

Perhaps the prevailing wind had something to do with it?  Smile

R/W 31 was frequently used for landing, and as it had an ILS, it had much lower landing limits than the IGS approach to R/W 13.

Taking-off from R/W 31 however was a very different matter, due to the high ground immediately to the North of the runway, and so quite often, when R/W 31 was in use for landing, aircraft would still take-off, with a tail wind, on R/W 13.

This obviously posed a considerable problem for ATC, with aircraft heading towards each other, and resulted in a large reduction in the number of aircraft movements per hour that could be accommodated.

In general, provided landings were possible on R/W 13, that was the preferred runway, in order to keep the movement rate up, and to allow the larger aircraft to take-off at much higher weights than was possible from R/W 31.

The approach on R/W 13 was not actually "such a hassle" most of the time. Cathay Pacific pilots were probably the experts, with some Cathay pilots having flown it literally hundreds of times in their career without incident.

Most pilots I know used to look forward to flying the IGS approach onto R/W 13, and only when the weather turned bad - and it could turn very bad in HKG - did it become more challenging.

The photos of some of the worst approaches are indicative of what can happen when inadequate planning and briefing is coupled with poor piloting technique and inadequate monitoring. Put bluntly, poor flying.

Most of those unstable approaches should have resulted in a “Go-Around”, and the photos of those that were continued to a landing are generally indicative of the worst possible flaw in an airline pilot, that of poor judgement.

Regards

Bellerophon


User currently offlineStephen007 From Singapore, joined Mar 2000, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3649 times:

on searching through the kai tak photos, ops from rwy 31 was actually used!


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User currently offlineAirbus_A340 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2000, 1560 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3648 times:

Wind was the main factor why planes took off and landed on Runway 13.

Capacity was the main reason why the airport was shut down, it just couldn't cope with the amount of traffic. Go-arounds were infact quite common at Kai Tak, not because of situations like those in the picture, but more so because of misjudged approaches.

The Kai Tak runway had a very large displacement threshold, so I'm not sure if the Cathay 777 could have cleared the 737, however, since I don't recall this as standard operations, so the 777 should have gone around. The 737 would never have cleared the runway in time for the Cathay 777 to land, which is about 10 seconds from touchdown.

Airbus_A340



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User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 3641 times:

Hi guys.

In response to Airbus_A340's comments, I want to mention that because I'm not a 737 pilot I don't know the performance capabilities of the 737 regarding a rolling takeoff and how much time it would save during a takeoff roll before reaching V1. I was also wondering how long it would be before that 777 would be over rwy 13's threshold. Only 10 seconds seems to be cutting it very close, even if the 737 in the photo was infact starting a rolling takoff.

Finally, it appears to me that the 737 in the first photo is on a taxiway that is angled toward the runway .... so perhaps rolling takeoffs were very common.

Chris  Smile




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User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 3625 times:

Hi guys.

As mentioned by Stephen007 & Bellerophon, regarding takeoff from rwy 31, I also believe that an engine failure (especially in a twin), or any other serious malfunctions during initial takeoff and climb could result in a disaster when you have high terrain in front of you (I don't know the height of those mountains), and a large city below you.

It would be better to ditch it in the drink if you couldn't climb, instead of flying into solid rock or people's homes.

I understand that prevailling winds and airport operations regarding the volume of air traffic is also a likely reason why their isn't any/many photos on A.Net of airliners landing or taking off from rwy 31.


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Chris  Smile



"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offlineAA61hvy From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 13977 posts, RR: 57
Reply 9, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3604 times:

Airports do not use runway direction for the convience. They do it because of the wind. They used 31 every so often, but the wind was in favor of using 13 most of the time.


Go big or go home
User currently offlineCPH-R From Denmark, joined May 2001, 5981 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3567 times:

As for the photo, I seem to recall that aircraft would land quite far down rwy 13, which leads me to think that the 737 is holding short.

User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6588 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3553 times:

Lots of suggestions here....some of them wrong.

Runway 13 was used over runway 31 partly due to the winds, but partly because the useable runway for takeoff on 31 was shorter than that of runway 13. Using 13, you can rotate at the end of the runway. I have seen aircraft rotate so late, that as they passed over the sea at the end of the runway, the engines caused the sea to splash up! Do that on runway 31 and you'll be dead....along with hundreds if not thousands of people.

I don't have the figures on the TODA for 31 vs 13, but I can assure you on 31 is significantly shorter. They used to use 13 up to around a 7-8 kt tailwind. Often a heavy had taxied out for 13 only to have a runway change and taxy back to the ramp to offload cargo because they were far to heavy for a 31 departure, even with the headwind. Sometimes ATC would let a heavy depart off 13 even though 31 was in use.


User currently offlineCCA From Hong Kong, joined Oct 2002, 830 posts, RR: 14
Reply 12, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3503 times:

The runway was 10,930' long but 31 only had a usable length of 9,490' for Takeoff. As you can see the takeoff on the right wouldn't look so good off 31.

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The telephoto lens has made the 777 look closer than it actually is, he is also around 300-400' high and with a descent rate of around 700 fpm means he is around 30 second from touchdown, enough time for the 737 with a rolling start to get down the runway.
The CX 777 would have been given the all to familiar "expect late landing clearance"

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User currently offlineAirbus Lover From Malaysia, joined Apr 2000, 3248 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3497 times:

Also, I believe Rwy 31 was used during early mornings when noise restrictions did not allow planes to land on rwy 13. so all CX long hauls that arrive early in the morning lands on rwy 31.

User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6588 posts, RR: 55
Reply 14, posted (11 years 4 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 3491 times:

There is no way that the 737 could have taken off when there is an aircraft on finals at 300-400ft!!! The 737 is not even lined up yet, and taxying at a speed of 10kts it would take a while to line up, spool the engines up, then hit the TOGA buttons, all the time rolling at 10 kts or so, while the 777 closes in at around 140kts. With the aircraft already just rotated, the 777 on finals would have already been told to expect a late landing clearance. Even if it was possible for that 737 to be airborne within 30 seconds of crossing the holding point line (Which it isn't), it would be 30 seconds behind the departed traffic, and if you know Kai Tak, this rarely happened, besides the A330 that departed is a heavy. The 737 is not.

User currently offlineCPH-R From Denmark, joined May 2001, 5981 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3467 times:

I seem to remember reading, that when the weather made it impossible to use 13 for departure, some of the very heavies would fly over to Macau to top of the fuel and then use their whole runway for takeoff. I believe it was just as long as Kai Tak's.

User currently offlineAirnut From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 5 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3445 times:

having lived in HKG between 1992 and 1998 and travelled at least once a week, my only experience with 31 was on two flights:

CX flight from Vancouver and SQ flight from LAX. Both use to be either 1st or 2nd flights into HKG in the morning around 6am. I had taken both flights frequently and had experienced coming in over water into kai tak once on each flight. i thnk it has to do with prevailing winds and with the lack of activity at the airport at that hour. Maybe also has to do with noise restrictions over kowloon city at that hour too.


User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 3425 times:

Hi guys.

I have a question regarding the taxiways at the end of Kai Tak Intl's rwy 13, and the fact that the rwy is displaced. This question involves all displaced thresholds everywhere.

Do taxiways that are located before the threshold of a displaced runway NOT have "Hold Short" lines? If the answer is YES they do .... then I'm very curious as to where these Hold Short lines are located. The reason I'm curious is because I've never seen an airliner (in this case the 737), holding short of a runway while it's nose is clearly hanging out over the active runway's pavement.

Whether the threshold is displaced or not, regarding SAFETY, do you think that 737's nose would be over the runway unless it's begining it's takeoff roll? Why wouldn't that 737 be holding short at the line much farther back?

If I'm missing something here, please let me know, because it would be great to learn about why it's OK to cause a safety hazzard!

What if that 777 suddenly began to sink towards the displaced threshold and drift to the left of the centerline (for what ever reason - winds, mechanical, etc). I wouldn't want to be sitting in that 737 while holding.

PS, Great photo search and information CCA.  Big thumbs up

Chris  Smile






"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6588 posts, RR: 55
Reply 18, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3387 times:

Chris,

It is not ok for the 737 to be where it is. The photo shows that the 737 has either erroneously been given a line-up by ATC, or it has failed to hold short. No airport allows aircraft to land on a displaced threshold but allows aircraft to be already lined up. This wouls clearly be a safety hazard as you have pointed out.

In Geneva once I saw an aircraft that had lined up but because the previous was slow to vacate, they had to hold the aircraft on the runway and tell the TBM700 that was on finals to go-around. He flew level over the traffic on the runway then asked whether he could now land. ATC said yes, so he landed on the remainder of the runway!


User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6588 posts, RR: 55
Reply 19, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3388 times:

Sorry, Chris. I realised I was replying to CCA, and not you!

User currently offlineN754pr From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3372 times:

That 737 is 100% in the wrong location, I assume its just missed the holding point (by about 30 meters). I just wonder if the CX 777 landed or did a go-around.



User currently offlineMirrodie From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 7443 posts, RR: 62
Reply 21, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 3345 times:
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Thank you all for your help in answering my pondering.

I am sorry that I did not mention it before, but I only meant to ask why they didnt use 31 ONLY for the landings. But I can see the problems there too.

Again, thanks so much.

respectfully, mirrodie



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User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6588 posts, RR: 55
Reply 22, posted (11 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 3359 times:

The problem with Hong Kong is that there is a lot of terrain around. Unlike places like Heathrow, where one departing aircraft does an immediate left turn allowing an immediate takeoff by another aircraft turning right, departing aircraft from Hong Kong must stay on the same flight path avoiding the hills. At Kai Tak, you would have to wait for an aircraft to fly out through the Yau Tong gap before vectoring another aircraft to land on runway 31. This would be hugely inefficient and hardly any flights would be handled.

Besides, the IGS wasn't really dangerous, and very few aircraft ever had an accident where the IGS played a contributing factor. It was more difficult than other approaches, but not really more dangerous.


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