March 27, 2023

  • China Airlines Cargo Boeing 747-409(F) (2)

    China Airways
    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Airline Kind:
    Full Service Provider
    Taoyuan Worldwide Airport
    Yr Based:
    Airline Group:
    China Airways Group
    Hsieh Shih-Chen
    Republic of China
  • Asia Pacific Airlines, 2020 Loss, COVID-19

    Hong Kong Worldwide Airport
    IATA/ICAO Code:
    China (Particular Administrative Area)
    Fred Lam
    Passenger Depend :
    1,196,000 (2021)
    Runways :
    07R/25L – 3,800m (12,467ft) |07L/25R – 3,800m (12,467ft)
    Terminal 1 |Terminal 2

At this time marks 23 years since China Airways flight 642 crashed whereas making an attempt to land in Hong Kong. The flight, which was operated by a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 trijet, had originated in Bangkok, and was on its strategy to Taiwan. Let’s check out how the accident, which was the primary at Hong Kong’s new airport, unfolded.

The flight and plane concerned

China Airways flight 642 was a multi-leg affair that started its journey at Bangkok’s Don Mueang Worldwide (DMK). This facility was the Thai capital’s main worldwide air hub on the time, as the present Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) didn’t open till 2006. Its ultimate vacation spot was Taipei’s Chiang Kai-shek Worldwide Airport (TPE), which, now often known as Taoyuan, nonetheless serves as China Airways’ essential hub.


In between these two Asian locations, the flight had a deliberate visit Hong Kong Worldwide Airport (HKG). Provided that the accident befell on August twenty second, 1999, this facility had been open for little greater than a 12 months on the time. Certainly it had solely changed Hong Kong’s well-known Kai Tak Airport in July 1998.

Based on the Aviation Security Community, the plane working China Airways flight 642 on August twenty second, 1999 was a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 registered as B-150. The trijet had 300 passengers and 15 crew members onboard. reveals that it was just below seven years previous, having been inbuilt September 1992.

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Disastrous touchdown try

Sadly, the MD-11 would by no means make it again to its residence airport in Taipei, on account of circumstances that befell it whereas touching down in Hong Kong. On the time that the plane was making its manner in direction of Hong Kong, climate situations within the space had been extreme as a result of close by presence of Tropical Storm Sam. This resulted in heavy winds that prompted diversions and go-arounds.

Nonetheless, the flight continued in direction of its deliberate stopover, and it was cleared to land in situations that had been near the MD-11’s examined restrict. The trijet was additionally very near its most permitted touchdown weight, because it was carrying sufficient gasoline to divert on to Taipei within the occasion of being unable to the touch down in Hong Kong.

Owing to the difficult situations, the plane’s proper wing was barely down on the time that the touchdown flare was tried. This prompted the MD-11 to return down onerous on its starboard touchdown gear, whereupon the wing and engine on this facet made contact with the bottom, inflicting them to separate. Because the jet rolled over, the big quantities of gasoline onboard prompted it to ignite in a skidding fireball.

The fatality charge was remarkably low. Photograph: Getty Pictures

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Rescue efforts and investigation

The inverted, burning wreckage of the MD-11 finally got here to a cease some 1,100 meters from the brink of Hong Kong’s runway 25L. Regardless of the typhoon-scale winds, emergency providers had been shortly on the scene to comprise the hearth and help with the evacuation. Their swift response might nicely have performed a key position in preserving the accident’s dying toll as little as simply three passengers.

An investigation discovered pilot error to have been a key issue, as these controlling the plane didn’t arrest the overly excessive descent charge that prompted the onerous touchdown. Nonetheless, regardless of recommendations regarding its coaching within the aftermath of the accident, China Airways as an alternative argued {that a} microburst had downed the jet.

Sources:, Aviation Security Community

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