The old air-traffic control tower at Kai Tak is no more. Carefully dismantled, the squat but functional building is now safely stored and ready to be rebuilt. Nobody knows where or when or why. Organisers of the Save Kai Tak Now movement are calling for the government to erect the tower as the centrepiece for a small airport and base for a private flying club. They have no hope. Although arguments for a mid-city airport are compelling, the land is earmarked for development. The government has made it plain the seven-decade history of aviation at Kai Tak has ended forever. But with the tower intact there's always the possibility that government and flying enthusiasts can one day co-operate to rebuild it as a Hong Kong Museum of Aviation. There's a glorious precedent. When Murray Barracks was demolished in the 1970s, the granite and sandstone blocks were carefully numbered. Two decades later, it was put back together and now graces a headland at Stanley. Part of it houses a maritime museum. The same can be done with the control tower, either on a small plot at Kai Tak or, probably more logically, at Chek Lap Kok. It's a facility we need. Hong Kong has enjoyed a love affair with flying since a gallant Frenchman took briefly to the air from a Sha Tin sandbar in 1911. Aviation is an integral part of the Hong Kong story. We've got the maritime museum in an old military barracks and a railway museum at former Tai Po station; what could be more fitting than telling the story of flight in Hong Kong in the restructured tower from which air-traffic controllers guided more than a million takeoffs and landings? And that's about all aviation buffs can hope for. Ever since the airport moved to Chek Lap Kok in 1998, there have been calls for the government to reinstate Kai Tak as a base for light aircraft. Many people, myself included, have dismissed these pleas as impertinent demands by a spoiled and privileged minority seeking public funds to subsidise their expensive hobby. There's a bit more to it than that, though. Aviation priorities in Hong Kong, of course, must overwhelmingly concentrate on the efficient and safe operation of our international airport. That's the lynchpin of our tourism industry and high-value cargo operations. Last year, more than 100,000 passengers passed through Chek Lap Kok every day, along with 8,493 tonnes of cargo. Every day there are at least 650 aircraft, most of them wide-bodied jumbos, landing or taking off. That's about one every two minutes, which means there is precious little time for air-traffic controllers to guide enthusiastic sports aviators tootling about in single-engine aircraft. Kai Tak, however, is another matter. The Hong Kong Aviation Club still operates a clubhouse and rump flying facilities, restricted today to helicopters. Recreational pilots have long held that there is ample room for a short runway to handle small aircraft. Professional pilots, to my surprise, support moves for a resumption of recreational flying based at Kai Tak. Amateur airmen now have to use the military airstrip at Sek Kong. Naturally enough, there are restrictions on when they can fly. I remain astonished that the Chinese air force permits civilians, most of whom are foreigners, to fly from their sole base in Hong Kong. Aviation Club officials in the past have complained that the government has not provided them with facilities, as it has done for some other sporting clubs. Get real, fellows; sufficient land for a small airport at Kai Tak would occupy prime development land worth billions of dollars. Another issue about the lack of a tarmac at Kai Tak is raised by professional flyers and entrepreneurs. They point to the highly successful London City airport in Docklands in the financial heart of Europe. Passionate advocates of 'think small' aviation claim there is no air-traffic control problem handling flights using Kai Tak. An airport there could sustain not only the sporting aviators but regular small jet services to secondary cities in southern China and Southeast Asia. Landing slots for executive business jets at Chek Lap Kok are squeezed between scheduled services and are always problematical. A small but advanced airport would add lustre to Hong Kong's claims to be Asia's business hub, not to mention the region's prime aviation centre. Not enough air room? Look at Singapore, half the size of Hong Kong. There are no fewer than five airports in the Lion City. That's something to think about.