Aviation fanatics cleared for takeoff at Central Library

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 March, 2006, 12:00am

Civil aviation official and amateur pilot Alva Fung Chi-wing realised a dream when he flew a jumbo jet out of Chek Lap Kok yesterday - without leaving the ground.

The Boeing 747 lifted off the runway as he pulled back on the controls of a flight simulator that will be one of the attractions at an exhibition marking the 60th anniversary of the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department.

The public will get a chance to fly the same simulator at the exhibition - Development of Civil Aviation in Hong Kong - which is being staged in Exhibition Gallery Five at the Central Library from today until Tuesday.

'The simulator is different from the flight games in the shops,' said Mr Fung, the department's senior operations officer, after his adventure at the library. 'People, especially children and students, will enjoy manipulating it.'

He said the exhibition aimed to increase public awareness and interest in the aviation industry, and for the public to gain an understanding of the department, which had been monitoring aircraft safety since 1946.

The exhibition also features a model of the air traffic control centre at Chek Lap Kok, and collections of photographs highlighting the history of aircraft and airports and the development of the department in Hong Kong.

One of the photographs is of the first powered flight in Hong Kong, taking off from a tidal flat at Sha Tin on March 18, 1911. A replica of the Farman biplane used on that historic day now hangs from the ceiling at Chek Lap Kok airport.

The exhibition also includes lectures on careers in aviation by representatives of the department, Cathay Pacific and the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company.