One of the things that I’m still bummed about is the fact that I never got to see the old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong during it’s prime. I became interested in aviation photography in the summer of 1999, which was about a year after Kai Tak was closed. I really missed out on an aviation legend, and to this day I use that as justification to experience as many current “legends” as I can.
Last month I embarked on what was the longest trip of my life up to this point: a week long visit to Hong Kong, and I travelled there on United Airlines via ORD. ORD-HKG-ORD was the routing and both flights were on 747-400’s (of course). They were long flights, and unfortunately, I didn’t take any pics along the way. Silly me…it didn’t occur to me to do so, but I really wish I would have grabbed a few images.
Overall, the trip itself was excellent – and it is still probably one of the most memorable trips of my life. It was my first trip to Asia, and being the sheltered midwestern American white-boy I am, it was quite an experience. I loved every minute of it.
On the day of my departure from HKG, I arrived at the airport a bit too early. Not because I wanted to get a little aviation photography in, but mainly because I really didn’t know how long it would take to get there due to the chaos of Hong Kong motorways. It was a surprisingly short trip – and I found myself at Chep Lap Kok and checked into my flight to ORD several hours before the scheduled departure time. With several hours to spare, and a bit of space still left on my camera’s memory cards, the choice of what to do with my time was easy.
Over the course of the next few hours, let’s just say that I was in aviation photography heaven. Yeah, the weather was dreary and dull but wow…Chep Lap Kok’s terminal windows are big and clear, and it seemed just about every aircraft on the ramp was a wide body. I mean really – it blew my mind. Compare that to the sea of CRJ’s that I was used to seeing at ORD, and this was really cool.
The pics aren’t that great, but you can see that I managed to get a lot of interesting stuff: a Cebu Pacific 757-200, KLM Asia 747-400, DragonAir A330, etc.
I want to go back, only this time with a better camera. Night shots would be epic from those big terminal windows…