AVIATION EXPERIENCE: AVIATION DISCOVERY CENTRE HONGKONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Finally another post under the aviation experiences! This time in Hongkong, I was forced to do something for the 3 hours wait at the airport.
While awaiting my family member who took the later flight after me, I decided to explore one of the most underrated and perhaps a secret hideout in Hong Kong International Airport.
The Aviation Discovery Centre located in Hong Kong International Airport Terminal 2 is just a 5 minutes walk away from Terminal 1 where my flight has just landed.
Terminal 1 serves big major airlines like Cathay Pacific, Singapore, Emirates, Swiss, Lufthansa, SAS and many more while Terminal 2 serves mostly the Low Cost Carriers like Airasia and Malindo Air for example.
To walk to Terminal 2, follow the huge prominent direction sign in Terminal 1. You shouldn't miss it once you step out of the Arrival Hall. If you really can’t find, you can always approach the friendly staff at the Information counters.
Turn left & walk down this walkway.
Make a right turn just before the exit to the Taxi Stand then all the way down to Terminal 2. It’s that easy.
Once you arrived at Terminal 2, look for the Entertainment Zone located at Level 3 and you should be able to find this Theme Park looking entrance to the Aviation Discovery Centre.
Once you enter the centre, you will be greeted by a army of storm troopers.
I thought no guns are allowed in the terminal. I guess this is the only exception.
Followed by a great variety of gadget machines for the kids. Not forgetting that you are actually walking on the runway itself.
The centre is open from 11am to 10pm on weekdays and 9.30am to 10pm on weekends and public holidays.
Going further in, you will definitely see what looks to be an actual plane tip. In my research prior to this trip, I understand that this was a flight simulator. Unfortunately, it’s closed when I visited today.
Being such a big fan of simulators has made me go searching for simulators when I travel to other countries like the one I visited in Bangkok. You can read up my previous Aviation Experience post here.
The Aviation Discovery Centre also has the IMAX Movie Theatre where they screen selected movies. (I meant just 2 movies) . As shown, the options are catered more to the kids but still suiteable for adult too! This is a great place to kill time if you are in town for a long transit.
Moving on, there is a collection of model aircraft that seems to be dead. I meant there is a screen which I supposed that they will be screening some content relating to aviation but it doesn’t seem to be in order.
At this time I started to feel that this Aviation Discovery Centre is pretty much poorly maintained and they had not kept up with some effort to ensure the exhibits is working.
There were nobody at the time i visited. Practically dead.
But nonetheless what attracted me is the series of exhibits featuring the plane cabins, engines and different parts of the aircraft which I thought was pretty informative and enriching in knowledge for general public.
An antique cabin mockup of the DH-86.
The First Class Cabin “Betsy” introduced by Cathay Pacific in 1999 which is considered very outdated by today’s standards.
Besides this you can see what’s seems to be a onboard lounge in the 90s. Just a wild guess of mine.
You can find helicopter model and interesting information around the model.
Showing the evolution of engines over the years. How far it goes etc.
Nice mockup of the engines.
Yeah, suck squeeze bang blow...what are you thinking?!
Let's start with the basic shall we?
A simple diagram on how plane fly too.
We also have many other information like maintenance of the plane. Like A,B,C,D checks and when/what/how they will do done.
A Checks every 600 flying hours.
B Checks can be done overnight at a gate.
C Checks are more major which is due after about 7500 Flying hours.
With D Check being the most major one.
A bit too much for general public but enriching information for the enthusiast.
Okay how far did I went...anyway let’s get back to the exhibits. There were also documentation on the way we travel and how flying came about.
Next up is the main attraction of the centre, the SkyDeck where you will be able to enjoy an unobstructed view of aircraft making their Final Approach to HKIA.
To access the SkyDeck, you will need to purchase a ticket from the Box Office. They are priced reasonably at HKD$7.5 for Students, HKD$10 for Seniors, HKD$15 for Adults and HKD$40 for An All Day Pass.
I am still trying to figure out what’s this All Day Pass about. Could the Students, Senior and Adults Tickets be a One Time Entry ticket?
I didn’t asked anyway and proceed straight to the lift to the SkyDeck. Nice lift anyway.
The weather was fine and I got a real good view of the tarmac and overview of terminal 1 building.
There is a few magnifying machine or whatever it’s called.
By the time I was there, it was almost 12pm so the afternoon sun is starting to warm up the whole place but that didn’t bother the flight enthusiast one bit.
I was a planespotter when I was young and enjoy going to the airport almost everyday to get photos of general aviation traffic and hopefully rare traffic. However as time goes by, age catches up as well and you will kinda of lose the energy after a long day of work.
Air China A333 coming in hot.
Nonetheless the atmosphere was great with all the hongkong enthusiasts shouting at each other signalling them that a plane is on finals. Other than that, you can find them trying to blend in the whatever shades you can find at the roof.
I spent about 30 mins admiring the scenery, listening to the engines and left before I was grilled by the unforgiving sun.
It really a nice place to spent hours there provided if you have time to spare. I assure you that you will be entertained. (Provided you have aviation interests and winds condition that determines the direction planes are coming in from) *Please do not miss your flight!*
On they way out, i notice this MKtimelapse machine. A check on google reveal that it's actually a professional timelapse machine and i assume they are installed here to document the development of the Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030. More info below!
HKIA has a lot more to improve. Besides having a IMAX theatre, Aviation Discovery Centre and SkyDeck which Singapore doesn’t have, I guess that’s pretty much they have to offer at their airport. (Count out the airline lounges and restaurants)
Many of the airports worldwide have spent millions and millions building entertainment or infrastructure in their airport. Like the upcoming Jewel Project by Singapore Changi Airport which boast a indoor garden dome.
The complex covers a total gross floor area of 134,000 square metres (sqm), spanning 10 storeys – five storeys above-ground and five basement storeys. It will include gardens and attractions, a hotel, aviation facilities and 300 retail and dining facilities. Attractions will include the Rain Vortex, the world’s largest indoor waterfall; the Forest Valley, an indoor garden spanning five storeys; and Canopy Park at the topmost level, featuring gardens and leisure facilities. I hope i have a chance to go on a media tour once it's ready for opening in 2019. If i really do, i will definitely write about it here!
Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030
At the moment, Hongkong is embarking on the Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030 which will see a Third Runway, Land Reclamation, New passenger concourse and parking positions, Expansion of the existing Terminal 2 building, New Automated People Mover system, New Baggage Handling System, Construction of comprehensive road network and transportation facilities. More details can be found on their website here.
Land space is also known to be a premium in Hongkong and that’s perhaps why they wouldn’t be able to pull off something like what Singapore has.
In time to come, I hope Hongkong would be able to offer more at their airport. Their aviation centre needs to add some colours to it like bringing back their Flight Simulators, adding more graphical content or aviation films for example. They could have also play the video above on one of their screen too! Till then, let’s settle with some plane spotting for now.