By Edwin Chai, Hong Kong

All photos shown here © Edwin Chai unless otherwise stated.



ATC Frequencies

StationFrequency
Approach 119.100
Departure 123.800
Director 119.500
Tower North 118.200
Tower South 118.400
Ground North 121.600
Ground South 122.55
Delivery 129.9
ATIS Arrival: 128.2
Departure: 127.05
Web: Click here!
Phone: 3141-2820 (arrival), 3141-2705 (departure)

 

Runway Usage

General

North runway is for arrivals only. Departures do not use this runway except when south runway is closed for maintenance or other emergencies.

South runway is mainly for departures, there is a 50/50 chance cargos will land here, but rare for passengers.

The current runway maintenance schedule (since December 31, 2011) is that South runway is closed between 0100 to 0800 local time on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, while the North runway is closed between the same time on the rest of the days. Updated runway maintenance schedule can be found here: http://www.hkatc.gov.hk/HK_AIP/supp.htm (please note that times are presented in UTC.)

 

Seasonal factors

25 is the predominant runway during summer months, when the wind generally comes in from south west.

07 is used most of the time during winter months with monsoon wind from north east.

It is, however, not unusual that runway usage changes during the day, particularly around 1300 to 1600 in the afternoon.

 

Perhaps it is also worth mentioning we have more days with clear skies in the summer (when the wind comes from the ocean), but it gets very warm and humid. Winter months are generally rather hazy as the northern wind brings with it air pollution from our neighbor in the north.

 

Spotting Points

 

 

 

 

Spot A: SkyDeck

Photo by Tis Meyer

 

The only official spot, “SkyDeck”, is an open-air roof top on top of Terminal 2. To gain access, go inside the Aviation Discovery Centre on Level 6 and purchase a ticket at the ticketing counter. Price is HK$15 per person – not a whole lot of money but still rather ridiculous considering there are absolutely no facilities up there, no table, no seats, not even shades to get some shelter from the sun or rain.

[Update: As of June 26th, 2012, the renovation works on the Aviation Discovery Centre complex are still in progress, however the SkyDeck is open again during limited hours: Noon to 6PM Mon-Fri, 11AM to 7PM on weekends and public holidays. See here]

Getting there Terminal 2, inside the Aviation Discovery Centre on Level 6
Facilities Absolutely no facilities available on the deck itself: no table, no seats, not even shades to get some shelter from the sun or rain. Facilities available in the Aviation Discovery Centre or in the Terminal.
Focal Length 300mm for taxiing heavies and for planes operating on either runway.
Views Arrivals on Rwy 25, Departures on Rwys 07. Departures on Rwy 25L are too far away.
Best Time Arrivals 25R: All day in winter, first half of the day in summer.
Arrivals 25L/departures 07R: Backlit almost all day in winter, good second half of the day in summer.
Attention Entrance Fee is HK$15 per person.

Rwy07R departure (300mm)

Rwy 25L arrival (250mm)

Rwy 25R arrival (250mm)
 

 

Spot B: Terminal 1 Departure Level Ramps

The northern and the southern end of the parking ramp serving the departure level of Terminal 1 can be used to watch planes in the runway axes.

Getting there Terminal 1 Departure Level
Facilities Inside the terminal
Focal Length From 100mm up.
Views Arrivals on Rwys 25, Departures on Rwys 07.
Best Time Arrivals 25R: All day in winter, first half of the day in summer.
Arrivals 25L/departures 07R: Backlit almost all day in winter, good second half of the day in summer.
Attention  

Climbing out of 07R (Tis Meyer)
 

 

Spot C: DragonAir Bridge

This spot is known as “DragonAir Bridge” to the locals. It is on top of a bridge between DragonAir Tower and Cathay Pacific Catering Services (CPCS), and is useful for departures out of Rwy 07R.

Getting there Take S1 bus from Tung Chung MTR station or Airport Terminal and get off at DragonAir Tower, cross the road and just walk up the bridge. Bus information: http://www.nwstbus.com.hk/routes/routeinfo.aspx?intLangID=1&searchtype=1&daytime=3&route=S1
Facilities None
Focal Length From 200mm up.
Views Departures on Rwy 07R; arrivals on 25L (rare)
Best Time All day in winter, first half of the day in summer.
Attention  

Rwy07R departure (400mm)

Rwy 07R departure (400mm)
 

 

Spot D: Western Perimeter

This spot commonly known as "HAECO" runs all along the western perimeter - as you can walk around the threshold of the southern runway, you can shoot those movements all day long regardless of the sun's position.

Getting there Anywhere along the western airport perimeter. To get there, take bus S52 from Tung Chung MTR station. Bus fare and schedule information available here: http://www.nwstbus.com.hk/routes/routeinfo.aspx?intLangID=1&route=S52&routetype=D&company=5
Facilities Absolutely nothing. This is an area with no shops, no washroom, and no shades at all. It is advisable to bring a bottle of water or a bit of snacks; in the summer a hat and plenty of sun block lotions are essential.
Focal Length Wide angle for 07R arrival; other shots from 200mm up.
Views Arrivals during Rwy 07 operations, climbouts during Rwy 25 operations.
Best Time

Rwy 07L arrivals: All day in winter, first half of the day in summer.
Rwy 07R arrivals/Rwy 25L departures: All day, since you can move around

Attention  

Rwy25L departure (250mm)

Rwy 07R arrival (30mm)

Rwy 07L arrival (400mm)
 

 

Spot E: Sha Lo Wan

This is a small village since the turn of the century. It is very seldom visited by outsiders before the airport was built. A 7-minute boat ride or an one-hour walk from Tung Chung is required to get here. Service from the official ferry is far and apart, with only three scheduled sailings per day during weekdays – four during weekends. Fare and time table: http//www.fortuneferry.com.hk/timetable.php

It is also possible to hire a boat from the local villagers, known as "Red-Yellow Flag", between 0800 and 1800. The number to call is 9190-0928, but you must have someone who speaks Cantonese to arrange the pick up time and location, as they do not speak English at all. Fare is not cheap ever since they adopted airlines “fuel surcharge” concept; a one-way ride currently stands at HK$100 for one, two, three or four people. For five to seven people ride together, the fare is $25 each. Note: We are not sure if the Red Yellow Flag boats are licensed or insured. Ride at your own risk!

Getting there A 15 minute walk along paved walkways is required after the ferry ride in order to get to spot E1. E2 is really only for the adventurous as it is a bit too remote and requires tracking through a hill side with thick brushes and trees. It is advisable to always go with a local spotter.
Facilities No Starbucks or McDonald's here, but you might be able to purchase bottled water and cooked instant noodles from locals if you know where to look! Advisable to bring water and some snacks.
Focal Length Upwards of 200mm
Views All southern runway operations
Best Time

All day in winter, first half of the day in summer.

Attention Knowledge of Cantonese language needed to communicate with local boat captains. It is advisable to always go with a local spotter.

Rwy25L departure (250mm)

Rwy 07R arrival (200mm)

Rwy 07R line-up (280mm)

Rwy 07R departure (400mm)
 

 

 

 

 

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