Old Kai Tak | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Old Kai Tak

Old Kai Tak
Photo courtesy of Greg Fripp
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Sunday, January 1, 1950


This is a B.O.A.C. Argonaut, built by Canadair, as a derivative of the DC4.  B.O.A.C. had a fleet of about 21 Argonauts.  The Argonauts had more powerful Rolls Royce engines than the standard DC4s, giving them a significantly higher crusing speed, but they were also rather noisy.  After a three day flight out to Hong Kong my hearing was affected for several days! They were introduced in the late 1940s along with the British built Hermes.  The Argonaut fleet successfully operated mainly on the Far Eastern and African routes but was sold off in the late 1950s to several small independent operators when longer range, quieter and faster aircraft such as the Britannia became available.  The three day flights to Hong Kong were then reduced to, I believe, less than two days.  I'm not sure why, but the Hermes had a shorter life with B.O.A.C., being sold off to several small independent U.K. airlines in around 1953/4.  I have heard that they and their R.A.F. sister planes, the Hastings, had rather a poor reputation for mechanical reliability.  (Andrew S)