When the converted Douglas DC-3 - affectionately known as Betsy - took off from Kai Tak on September 24, 1946, the airline's future was riding on little more thana hunch by entrepreneurs Roy Farrell and Sydney de Kantzow that aviation was about to take off. As the world rebuilt after the second world war, flight was an expensive necessity for transporting essentials into Hong Kong's damaged economy. Cathay grew strong, wealthy and essential as Hong Kong became one of the world's most dynamic and wealthy cities. The dashing uniforms worn by the pretty hostesses followed closely along with the city's love for flash and fashion. Of course, the ride to the top wasn't always easy. For Cathay's pilots there was the daily hazard of negotiating one of the world's most hair-raising airstrips. On November 5, 1967, a Cathay Convair plunged into Victoria Harbour 100 metres from the runway after taking off for Saigon. One Vietnamese woman died. Betsy now hangs from the Hong Kong Science Museum ceiling, while a replica of Cathay's second aircraft, Niki, is outside its headquarters at Chek Lap Kok. Reminders of just how far this city has come.