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Faro
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Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:29 am

Given that landing at Hong Kong's old Kai Tak airport required special pilot qualifications, were Cathay's pilots back then considered the most proficient in the industry seeing that they landed there 50% of the time?

Faro
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jayeshrulz
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:23 pm

Well, even other airline's pilots landed excellently at the same airport given that they dont fly there all the time. So shouldn't they be considered even better?
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KPDX
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:49 pm

Quoting jayeshrulz (Reply 1):
Well, even other airline's pilots landed excellently at the same airport given that they dont fly there all the time.

Indeed! Never ceases to amaze me when I see the video of the Concorde landing at Kai Tak.
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sq_ek_freak
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:57 pm

Quoting jayeshrulz (Reply 1):
Well, even other airline's pilots landed excellently at the same airport given that they dont fly there all the time.

Just don't add Alitalia MD-11 pilots to that list  
Keep Discovering
 
col
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:40 pm

CX pilots did not always get it right. One time flew MAN-CDG-HKG, we made two attempts at HKG, but ended up going for some more juice at SZX. Something to do with no being able to see the runway approching the mound at minimum height. Still made my connection down to Sing, so that wasn't bad. I do miss Kai Tak though, heaviest landing I did was on a TG MD11. I also had one landing coming the other way on a UA 744, just wasn't the same. But to answer the post, CX were pretty slick at Kai Tak, they also would cheat and fly closer to the range and get more time on the turn.
 
aa61hvy
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:48 pm

Quoting col (Reply 4):
I also had one landing coming the other way on a UA 744, just wasn't the same

I heard the landing for 31 was a little 'boring' but the take off was fun.
Go big or go home
 
Airbus_A340
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:06 pm

Quoting col (Reply 4):
CX pilots did not always get it right. One time flew MAN-CDG-HKG, we made two attempts at HKG, but ended up going for some more juice at SZX. Something to do with no being able to see the runway approching the mound at minimum height.

I wouldn't really say that "pilots did not always get it right". Not being visual with the runway at minimums and going around is doing exactly the right thing.

I agree, Kai Tak was great, and there were some very interesting approaches made into HK, as sq_ek_freak suggested, Alitalia did put on an interesting show at times!
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kaitak
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:52 pm

Certainly they were among the best, but also the luckiest. I know a retired 744 captain with CX and he flew 707s, 747s, L1011s and 744s (and indeed, VC10s with the RAF, into Kai Tak) ... what a career!

Quoting Airbus_A340 (Reply 6):
Alitalia did put on an interesting show at times!

Boy, they did put on a show! I don't know what it was about them - perhaps the MD11 was a handful, but so many people have said that and the video evidence certainly supports it. I don't think the following is an isolated incident; in one incident, they scraped the wing and seriously dented the winglet!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1w4KEnkWIg

I really like the new airport and there are some superb photo opportunities, but I will never forget Kai Tak (hard to, given that it's my username!)
 
JBirdAV8r
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:54 pm

Cathay Pacific pilots are respected by the aviation community as being some of the best trained crews in the world, but I don't think that has much (anything?) to do with Kai Tak.
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futureualpilot
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:00 pm

It takes a lot more than flying an unusual approach to be considered a good pilot. I don't doubt that they were good, and safe, but the best? There is a lot more to that equation than flying an unusual approach.
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jfk777
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:06 pm

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 8):
Cathay Pacific pilots are respected by the aviation community as being some of the best trained crews in the world, but I don't think that has much (anything?) to do with Kai Tak

Pilot friend of mine says the checks at Cathay are hard and its like applying for your job every time. Tough.
 
jayeshrulz
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:26 pm

Quoting KPDX (Reply 2):
Indeed! Never ceases to amaze me when I see the video of the Concorde landing at Kai Tak.

Ah.Sad they dont make those heros anymore!

Quoting sq_ek_freak (Reply 3):
Just don't add Alitalia MD-11 pilots to that list

Exceptions are always there! 
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Max Q
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:19 am

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 10):

Pilot friend of mine says the checks at Cathay are hard and its like applying for your job every time. Tough.

Welcome to the life of an Airline Pilot, that is not exclusive to Cathay.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
AR385
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:54 am

I do not believe there is an airline with the best "pilots". I´m sure winter operations in Europe in the Alpine regions for example are as exacting and difficult as landing at Kai Tak on a sunny day, for example. So then you would have to consider Swiss, LH, AF, Austrian and others as having the best pilots. Operating in regions that are 12,000 ft. above sea level routinely, and surrounded by mountains of over 19,000 ft. for example, must be no easy feat either, so I would put LAB pilots or Aerosur pilots in that category too.

What about pilots landing at DCA in weather minima, or on certain LGA approaches?

Rather, I would say there are more airlines out there with incompetent pilots, than a single airline with the BEST pilots.
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:59 am

Quoting col (Reply 4):
CX pilots did not always get it right. One time flew MAN-CDG-HKG, we made two attempts at HKG, but ended up going for some more juice at SZX. Something to do with no being able to see the runway approching the mound at minimum height.

So what in your opinion would be getting it right then? Continuing with a landing when the weather was below minimums, disregarding go-around requirements and landing (or crashing) onto the runway?
 
col
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:06 am

Quoting Airbus_A340 (Reply 6):
I wouldn't really say that "pilots did not always get it right". Not being visual with the runway at minimums and going around is doing exactly the right thing.

That was tongue in cheek remark, it was never good at Kai Tak when you couldn't see the laundry hung out to dry. You knew you were going elsewhere for an hour while it cleared.
 
B737900
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:03 am

Quoting KPDX (Reply 2):
Indeed! Never ceases to amaze me when I see the video of the Concorde landing at Kai Tak

Would love to see that video. Can you guide us a.netters to it?
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B737900
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:14 am

Quoting AR385 (Reply 13):
I do not believe there is an airline with the best "pilots".

I agree. If we are talking about difficult approches in difficult weather then let's talk about Alaska Airlines operating in the dead of winter on the North Slope or shooting approaches in Southeast Alaska in fog and snow and heavy rain. I love this thread. Carry on!
Sounds like a Beaver on floats..........we're saved!!
 
brianhames
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:51 am

Quoting B737900 (Reply 17):
let's talk about Alaska Airlines operating in the dead of winter on the North Slope or shooting approaches in Southeast Alaska in fog and snow and heavy rain

Truth. Alaska gets my vote.
 
KPDX
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:06 am

Quoting B737900 (Reply 16):
Would love to see that video. Can you guide us a.netters to it?

Sure can.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBtLix4xqdI


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqTjAh10flw&feature=related
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VS239
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:07 am

Quoting B737900 (Reply 16):
Would love to see that video. Can you guide us a.netters to it?

One video here of a British Airways Concorde landing on Runway 13.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqTjAh10flw&feature=related
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ThirtyEcho
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:34 am

Quoting VS239 (Reply 20):
One video here of a British Airways Concorde landing on Runway 13

Amazing! They make it look like putting a Cessna 140 down on the family farm's strip in Kansas. Pilot skill is, sometimes, best shown when it makes the very difficult seem very easy.
 
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:55 am

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 9):
It takes a lot more than flying an unusual approach to be considered a good pilot. I don't doubt that they were good, and safe, but the best? There is a lot more to that equation than flying an unusual approach.

There are also other airports with unusual approaches requiring special skill. I think there are a number of airports in northern Norway including Alta that are as difficult as Kai Tak but also in icing conditions that would mean that SAS pilots are special. Also the Canarsie approach to JFK:s runway 13 is about as difficult as the approach to Kai Tak. It does not have the same type of obstacles but it requires an equally tight turn with heavy jets. And what about Tegucigalpa... Rio Santos Dumont... I agree that the ability to fly an unusual approach is not the only criteria for good pilots. Equally demanding is stall recovery and manual aircraft handling etc
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FlyboyOz
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:05 am

Well...Landing Kai Tak is extremely diffcult for the newbie and less-experienced pilots. That's why the airlines must have the senior first officers and/or two captains to fly on a huge plane (such as B747s) to HKG.
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spencer
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:02 am

Quoting col (reply 15):
It was never good at Kai Tak when you couldn't see the laundry hung out to dry. You knew you were going elsewhere for an hour while it cleared.
How very true! Only made Kai Tak once but I'll never forget seeing into people's homes!!

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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:00 am

Quoting FlyboyOz (Reply 23):
Well...Landing Kai Tak is extremely diffcult for the newbie and less-experienced pilots. That's why the airlines must have the senior first officers and/or two captains to fly on a huge plane (such as B747s) to HKG.

If you were trained to fly a 744 as a captain or first officer you were also automatically qualified to land at Kai Tak even if the first landing for a pilot, (captain or first officer, no matter what), at Kai Tak was made as observer only. The second time pilots were allowed to land. This was the case at a major european airline operating 744:s at Kai Tak. This procedure was not only used at Kai Tak but at many airports regarded as difficult for pilots.

But as you say the airlines probably only scheduled pilots to Kai Tak after they had been on the type a while   Typically a first flight with passengers as pilot on a 744 would not be to Kai Tak or even to Chicago O´Hare...
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kaitak
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:42 pm

Quoting FlyboyOz (Reply 23):
Well...Landing Kai Tak is extremely diffcult for the newbie and less-experienced pilots. That's why the airlines must have the senior first officers and/or two captains to fly on a huge plane (such as B747s) to HKG.

Present tense? How I wish it were so!
 
futureualpilot
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:24 pm

Quoting FlyboyOz (Reply 23):

Well...Landing Kai Tak is extremely diffcult for the newbie and less-experienced pilots. That's why the airlines must have the senior first officers and/or two captains to fly on a huge plane

Not necessarily, it has more to do with seniority. The best paying airplanes and the better schedules usually go to the guys that have been there the longest, i.e. the bigger the airplane, the more it pays, the more senior it is likely to go. At least in the US. Some airlines have Captain only approaches, however. I don't know if Kai Tak was or not.
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Trucker
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:50 pm

Wouldn't any pilot going to Kai Tak have practised the approach dozens of times on the simulator?
 
tcasalert
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:00 pm

While we're on the subject of the amazing airport that is Kai Tak, does anybody have a video from the passenger perspective of landing on runway 13?

There are many flight deck videos of landing there, even more external views and a few from Flight Simulator, but haven't seen a passenger perspective video of landing there - would love to see this!

My Grandad, sadly passed a long time ago, flew into Kai Tak once and had me hooked as he described seeing into peoples homes on approach! One of the very reasons I am into aviation to this day.
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FlyboyOz
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:52 pm

Quoting kaitak (Reply 26):
Present tense? How I wish it were so!

lol... yeah that's why i LOVE kai tak!! I DO NOT want to hear that Kai tak to be "disappeared"! Keep the history alive!
The Spirit of AustraliAN - Longreach
 
VS239
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:53 am

Quoting TCASAlert (Reply 29):
but haven't seen a passenger perspective video of landing there - would love to see this!

One here from the starboard side of a CX B747.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peHOVw0Sz-0

Another one from the port side of another approach

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgPir9zAEUg&feature=related

Not bad videos, brings back some happy memories. Many a Saturday or Sunday would see me on checkerboard hill at Lok Fu watching the planes go by. Marvellous times
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tcasalert
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:14 pm

Quoting VS239 (Reply 31):
One here from the starboard side of a CX B747.

Wow! Amazing videos, thanks for sharing! Strangely its not the turn that makes it surreal, more the proximity to buildings at such a high speed!
Next flight: Feb 2012 - BHX-CPH-BHX - SK MD87 / CRJ900
 
malioil
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RE: Kai Tak Era Cathay Pilots: Best In The Profession?

Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:21 pm

A pilot's ability has a lot more to do than just plain approaches, although CX's pilots are very highly trained.

In terms of approaches, don't forget the Wideroe pilots and some of the landings they have to make, which are very challenging and some quite unusual. The Air Iceland pilots serving Ísafjörður also have to execute some challenging approaches/landings. Winair to Saba is also quite a challenge.


Ísafjörður
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gERjlitM4Ps



Saba
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