Kai Tak and the Checkerboard Approach

Kai Tak and the Checkerboard Approach, FSX

Kai Tak Airport Map Photo used to be the international city airport of Hong Kong. It was famous because of its central location in the city surrounded by densely populated areas, hillsides, and the Victoria Harbour. Due to increasing traffic Kai Tak was closed in 1998 and replaced by the new and larger Chek Lap Kok Airport outside the city. The title as Hong Kong International Airport thus changed between the two airports.

IGS 13 - Checkerboard Approach

The airport only got a single 11100 ft long runway. Due to hillsides on the extended centreline of runway 13 the approach to that runway was very spectacular. It was a modified ILS approach, named IGS 13, or unofficially known as the Checkerboard Approach. Aircrafts were approaching from the west on a localizer and glideslope, and had to make a final 47° visual right turn at low altitude over the densely populated Kowloon city shortly before touchdown. Beside lead-in lights on top of the approaching buildings, checkerboards were painted on a mountain as a visual guidance for where to to initiate the final turn.


In FSX you can still find Kai Tak as a partly demolished airport as Hong Kong Intl (old) (VHHX). The runway is marked as closed and the ILS is missing.

There are some rather detailed add-ons available re-creating the area of Kai Tak as it looked when the airport was still in use:

9Dragons by MileHigh Productions (FS2004 only)
A very comprehensive ongoing project available for free covering Kai Tak and the surrounding areas
Hong Kong by FlightSoft (FS2004 only)
Old commercial add-on covering Kai Tak and the surrounding areas
Hong Kong Kai-Tak by FlyTampa (FSX)


You can find many of the original ground, approach, and SID/STAR charts for Kai Tak here and here.

Additional materials

Do a search on YouTube and you'll find plenty of videos of real-life and simulated operations at Kai Tak. flyhalf2006 has made two excellent videos of the two sceneries described above: KAI TAK 98 (FlightSoft scenery) and Kai Tak Reloaded (9Dragons scenery).

Swire Mariners Association has made an extensive site about Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong for FS2004.