With numerous skyscrapers and mountains located to the north and its only runway jutting out into Victoria Harbour, landings at the airport were dramatic to experience and technically demanding for pilots. The History Channel program Most Extreme Airports ranked it as the 6th most dangerous airport in the world.
Kai Tak was located on the west side of Kowloon Bay in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The vicinity is surrounded by rugged mountains. Less than 10 km to the north and northeast is a range of hills reaching an elevation of 610 m. To the east of the runway, the hills are less than 5 km away. Immediately to the south of the airport is Victoria Harbour, and farther south is Hong Kong Island with hills up to 640 m. When Kai Tak closed there was only one runway in use, numbered 13/31 and oriented southeast. The runway was made by reclaiming land from the harbour and had been extended several times since its initial construction. The runway was 3,390 m long when the airport closed. At the northern end of the runway, buildings rose up to six stories just across the road. The other three sides of the runway were surrounded by Victoria Harbour. The low altitude maneuver required to line up with the runway was so spectacular that some passengers claimed to have glimpsed the flickering of televisions through apartment windows along the final approach.
Hong Kong fell into the hands of the Japanese in 1941 during World War II. In 1942 the Japanese army expanded Kai Tak, using many Allied prisoners of war labourers,creating two concrete...