Kai Tak Airport landing sequence-panorama | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Kai Tak Airport landing sequence-panorama

Kai Tak Airport landing sequence-panorama

The components of this image were taken in 1997 using a basic roll-film camera without automatic focusing, or a film-transport motor-drive or auto-light metering.

It was mounted on a heavy tripod.

The individual negatives have recently been scanned and joined by software.

It is displayed here at low resolution to enable it to fit onto Gwulo.

To view it, use the ‘Full Screen’ button, zoom in and then use the controls to move it horizontally to see the full length.

The original is a much higher resolution and could be printed on a roll of banner paper, 10 feet long X 12 inches wide.

The precursor of this image was originally made around 1995 by joining individual 3R size prints glued onto a cardboard backing. These were taken by just a hand-held sweep of a 35mm camera. This original panorama was reproduced in the ‘Wings Over Hong Kong’ book published in 1998.

Many more negatives/slides of different aircraft types and airlines arriving at Kai Tak are still waiting to be processed into panoramas’, 20 years or more after they were originally taken.

The viewpoint is now blocked by new hi-rise buildings, and by trees in public gardens created on the hilltop. When walking up there in 2014, after ascending the familiar very steep access road, restricted to authorised vehicles, I found the area I photographed from virtually unrecognisable.

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Sunday, June 15, 1997


Very impressive view skillfully put together, and the clarity of the photos!  I like looking at distant landscapes of the past. Thank you. Regards, Peter

Very apt as Cathay Pacific will be withdrawing their B747s from passenger service in October.

Thanks for posting this, it looks great!

My Kowloon geography isn't so great - please could you let me know where we're looking at on the left edge of the photo?

Regards, David

Hi David,

There is a white patch on the slope on the very left.  A bit to the right hand side of the patch (about on the same level) there is a public houseing estate.  That appeared to be Chak On Estate.  If you use Google Earth to look it up and tilt your view, you should be able to see the general outline and shape matched.  The road in white in front of Chak On Estate should be the upper section of Nam Cheong Street, going up to meet Lung Cheung Road.

In this respect, the larger and greyish public housing estate lower on the slopes should be Pat Tin Estate.


Thomas is correct, the estate next to the white patch is Chak On Estate. I suspect the white patch is due to the rerouting of Lung Cheung Road when the Tai Wo Ping Interchange was removed.

Next, to the right, is an estate under construction, you can see the cranes under the first plane image. That's Dynasty heights and to the right of that is Beacon Heights. The slope in front of Beacon Heights is actually on the south side of Lung Cheung Road (Beacon Heights is on the north side) and on its top is the Shek Kip Mei Reservoir playground. Most of this view is now obscured by the additional buildings belonging to CityU that have been built up along Cornwall St.

Great picture!

Greetings.  The two water ponds at Dynasty Heights  could be the same location where I ventured/swam in the 1950s and early 60s.  There were two small bodies of water much like today's in size.  We called them Moun Gwai Woo (living ghost lake) for a reason.  They were likely retaining ponds for capturing hill water.  The sands that travelled with the water settled in the reservoirs with sharp drop-off and this made the place dangerous to swim.  The site was fenced but us kids not knowing better but knew where the cut opening was on the southeast point.  Regards, Peter

Thanks gents, all clear now.