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Feature: Get Real 2



Feature: Get Real 2

By Ron Blehm (October 4, 2011)



Welcome to "GET REAL" where we are asking sim pilots to tell us the story (through their sims) of a memorable REAL WORLD flight they have taken. This time we are hoping to successfully complete the famous Runway 13 approach into Kai Tak Hong Kong!


It was ten years after my last story, 1983, and I was on another church-related trip, this time to the Far East. We had flown from Los Angeles to Taipei (my first 747 flight) and after several days on the northern end of Taiwan we were moving down to Hong Kong. I had my perfect seat, on the right side, just behind the wing. The plan was to get the full experience of a Kai Tak approach! I did not realize at the time that this was to be my last-ever ride on the great 707. We departed Taipei under clear skies at mid-day and in that decade could still expect a decent snack, even on a flight of under 500 miles.






When I load the flight plan into FSX, I am careful to select the former Kai Tak airport for this feature. I went ahead and downloaded real-weather for this first portion of the flight and screen shots. In due time the captain announced that the weather in Hong Kong was wet, rainy and very windy and we should expect a pretty rough descent and landing. The flight attendants brought around warm towels for us to wash our faces with (so we looked rested for the coroners I'm sure) and then everything was battened down. We sank into the clouds and began the buffeting! (Really not conducive to screen shots is it?) Having never been to Hong Kong before I really wasn't sure what to expect, I didn't really have a geographical bearing as to how the approach would look but I had my face plastered firmly to the little window looking for anything recognizable. As the plane bounced back and forth and the wings flapped up and down my forehead kept banging into the plastic window frame.










I caught glimpse of a green hilltop. Then an island peaked through the clouds before being instantly smothered again (above, left). Dark green water intermittently popped into view through scarce holes in the cloud and then we were out of the clouds and into some of the heaviest rain I had ever flown in! I craned my head to look ahead and right for the airport, anticipating the sharp right turn. All I could see was water below, some boats, and STEEP green mountains that rose into the clouds (above, right). Still we were being battered by gusty winds and pounding rain!










Lower we sank, skimming junks and sampans (above, left). Suddenly there were tall buildings visible, I felt some quick rudder corrections and then (above, right), rocks ... runway ... bang! We were down (below, left). The spoilers popped up, the brakes grabbed and the reverse thrust powered up as we ground to a halt having safely landed on runway 31. DOH! (below, right)










We parked out on the tarmac somewhere and had an interminable wait for the airstairs. We then scurried through the tremendous downpour onto the waiting bus. "Welcome to Hong Kong" someone commented. "Yea," I muttered "what a grand disappointment."






What real world aviation story can you share with us through your simulator?


Ron Blehm

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