Kai Tak International Airport in Hong Kong

Even though Kai Tak was closed in 1998, many people still remember the famous Hong Kong Turn or the so-called Hong Kong Heart Attack. It meant a sudden, 47º turn that a pilot had to make there. This maneuver was made about 4 km before landing.

However, this is not the only challenge that a captain had to face – the airport was surrounded by skyscrapers and mountains up to 2000 meters high! Moreover, the runway itself enters a bay and a busy harbor. The maneuver had to be made 200 – 300 meters above the ground (which, for spectators, can seem to be just over one’s head). In phase one, an aircraft followed ground signage. In phase two, a pilot can count on their skills and experience only. It was a huge challenge even during fine weather conditions. It may seem that such a risky maneuver must often (at least more often than in case of usual maneuvers) end up with a catastrophe. This wasn’t the case. On average, aircraft accidents happened twice a decade.