China Visit 2012

For this excellent trip to Zhuhai and Hong Kong, I went under the auspices of the British Aviation Enthusiasts Society
, the tour arranged by George Pick

Tuesday 13 & Wednesday 14 November.

A 13:35 departure from Heathrow Airport on Emirates flight EK2 to Dubai - where I met up with Paul (who had arrived from Birmingham) for the ongoing Emirates flight EK382 to Hong Kong.

Arriving at Chek Lap Kok airport 14.30 local time on Wednesday 14th, we took the MTR to Hong Kong island to board the ferry for the 70 minute journey across the Pearl river delta to Zhuhai.

From Zhuhai's ferry terminal we took a taxi to our hotel - the Hong Du - and settled in for our first night in China.

Thursday 15 November.

We caught the airshow shuttle bus from the nearby Guandong hotel to the airport and entered the show ground.

The weather was not kind - with low cloud and quite a breeze, so decent photography was difficult.

After visiting and photographing the static lineup, we settled down to watch the airshow, which, although quite interesting, was rather sedate.

The airshow was dominated by business jets and general aviation types, with some military presence in the static display.

The flying display comprised three aerobatic display teams - the PLAAF 1st August team with their J10 Flying Dragons, the Russian Knights with a 5-ship of Su-27 Flankers (although one went unserviceable on the Thursday) and the Breitling team flying the Aero L-39 Albatros.

The weather minima put paid to the opening descent by Chinese parachutists and the flying was restricted to 'flat' displays by the aerobatic teams.

The Pakistan Air Force JF-7 'Thunder' did not display for some reason, but the Breitling 'Wingwalkers' on their Boeing Stearmans thrilled the crowd.


Friday 16 November.

Our second day at the show and, if anything, the weather was even worse - low cloud and a cold breeze.

First port of call was the extensive pavillions to view and photograph some of the interesting displays.

The flying display was more-or-less the same, the Russian Knights managed to get all five Flankers airborne.

The main highlight was the appearance of the WZ-10 attack helicopter - which arrived from another location, displayed and then departed.

Photography was again problematic, shooting against a grey cloudbase.


Saturday 17 November.

Our last day at the show - the crowds were much bigger and tended to get a bit intrusive, with quite a bit of jostling to see the displays.

The Pakistani JF-17 managed to get airborne for a short display and the weather threatened to improve, but decided against it and the clouds rolled back in.

Those enthusiasts who left the show after the trade days will have missed the apearance of the WZ-19 light attack helicopter - which made its public debut, arriving from off-base, before displaying and departing.

Much excitement was generated by the appearance of a PLAAF CRJ-700 Bizjet carrying a delegation of military officers.


Sunday 18 November.

After checking out of our hotel, we hailed a taxi to take us to the ferry terminal and caught the 10am sailing to the Kowloon ferry terminus, from where we walked to our hotel - the BP International on Austin road.

After settling in and unpacking we ate a leisurely meal before decanting to the seafront to watch the laser light show at 8pm.

Monday 19 November.

After a hotel breakfast, we walked to Kowloon's railway station and boarded a train to Lo Wu on the Hong Kong/China border.

Clearing Chinese customs we took a 15-minute taxi ride to Minsk World in China's Shenzen province.

This is the former Soviet aircraft carrier Minsk, purchased from Russia, towed to China and put on display to the public.

The tour of this former cold war relic was very interesting, although the aircraft displayed are not really relevant and have seen better days.

In her service days, the Minsk operated Yak-38 Forger VSTOL fighter alongside Kamov Ka-27 ASW helicopters, but none is present today - just a single MiG-23UB jet fighter and two Mi-24 Hind helicopter - all in very poor condition.

A MiG-27 is to be found in the hangar deck, but the Q5 Fantans that were abourd previously have gone - as has the display on shore alongside.

The ship itself is fascinating and well worth the visit, I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Tuesday 20 & Wednesday 21 November.

The remaining free time in Hong Kong was spent visiting the Peak, taking a tour bus around the island and Kowloon.

After checking out of our hotel on Wednesday, we checked in at the airport for our 00.35 departure for Dubai, where Paul and I parted company to take our respective flights to Heathrow and Birmingham.

I have included a few tourist photos of Homg Kong - plus some shots taken through the aircrafts windows on the flights out and back



This was a bit of a do-it-yourself trip, with just Paul & me taking part.

It was very enjoyable and my thanks to BAES and George Pick for organising it, and to Paul for the company..

Ken Duffey

November 2012