CPA 3272 Leg 4 – DXB to HKG
Today I finally got to fly the next leg on our Round-the-World tour with Cathay Pacific Cargo (after 2 exams this week it was time to relax a little…). Since they have a gap in their 3272 flight between Dubai and Hong Kong, we had to fly under flightnumber CPA66, which is exactly the same operation and really just another number for that leg. But I don’t wanna bore you with technicalities, you’re here to see pictures and read about the flight, right?
It all starts on a sunny day in Dubai, as we board our beloved B-HUO that is sitting on the freight ramp and shining in the sun like the North Star on a clear night. The B747-400F is waiting for us to take it home to its base in Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok. Sadly there is no more flying into Kai Tak. The spectacular approach into this very challenging airport, descending over the rooftops in the streets of Hong Kong on Final will never be forgotten. But it’s not the 90’s anymore, and so we have to fly to the new airport a little outside of Hong Kong on a man-made island.
Our filed route today starts on runway 30R in DXB, from where we will depart via SID RIKET2D. After we cleaned the aircraft up, we will bank to the right on an almost 180° turn to enter our initial airway. First we will overfly the Northern tip of the UAE, before we head out into the Gulf of Oman. Flying aligned with the Iranian coast to our left, we will reach Pakistan a little later and pass just South of Karachi, before we enter Indian airspace. Crossing India from West to East will take us some time and after we will have overflown Kolkata, we say Hello to Bangladesh ATC, and immediately Good Bye again. Leaving the Bay of Bengal behind, our route takes us into Burma, also known as Myanmar. For a little while we can enjoy its beautiful mountains from FL350, before the sun sets and we finally fly into Chinese airspace. We will be passing Kunming and Guangzhou, before landing on runway 07L in Hong Kong. All in all this flight will be a little bumpy from time to time. It also will be quick with tailwinds maxing at 104 kts, and averaging at about 80kts.
But now let’s kick it off, for real!
Skies are blue today, winds are calm and our freight is 98 tons. After enjoying the city for a few days, lying on the beach and drinking Cocktails in the Hotel Bar, we have to get back to work now. Since we are in a great mood and it’s warm and nice outside, we decide to not torture our First Officer with the walk around, and do it ourselves for a change!
Our Co actually was a nice guy and we didn’t end as Salami. Back to the Flight Deck, going through preflight items and checklists and in no time we are ready to go home! Cathay six-six heavy is ready for pushback and engine start! And what a view with the skyline in the back.
Taxi clearance is received, clear on the left and all set to taxi to the active, 30R. Wait a second…is that…is that a mosquito or something? Ahhh, no, it’s just a Piper Archer with a pilot that obviously has made his peace with the world. You better have no unfinished business pal, once I push that Thrust Lever just a teeny weeny bit forward for taxiing, you’ll probably fly backwards for the first and last time in your life!
Looking good! The obligatory runway shot. That moment where you just received Take-Off clearance and are about to push that Thrust Lever forward and just feel incredible power, listening to those powerful engines roaring up that enable you to lift this massive piece of metal off the ground.
Burma, also called Myanmar, is an often forgotten country. It recently saw big changes and is now underway to become more and more democratic and free. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the people there. Their land is really beautiful and these mountains are great.
Overflying the runway threshold. After we did the walkaround back in Dubai, I could convince my F/O to let me handle this landing, so he had some time to take pictures. Probably the better choice, I didn’t wanna end somewhere in the water short of runway 07L.
That’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed today’s flight. See you soon on our last leg, at least with Cathay Pacific Cargo. We’re going back to Anchorage! Can’t believe we circled the world already…
But this won’t be the end. We can’t retire just yet and so we are gonna do the westbound RTW on the MD-11F right after…stay tuned.