Kai Tek pano

Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Folks from the flight blog, I hope your 2017 is off to as an adventurous a start as ours has been!

We’ve perhaps had it a tad “too adventurous.” We indeed made it out to Hong Kong and back—by the skin of our teeth!

MA HK pano Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Bunny enjoys beautiful downtown Hong Kong and Victoria Harbor!

Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Part 1: The Journey

HK streets Aux MA 2! Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Bunny and I whoop it up on the streets of HK!

For the airline employee, it may be cheap to travel “Nonrev”—that is, flying standby, hoping for an open seat—but by no means does that mean stress-free! You literally “stand by,” hovering around the gate, chewing your nails while all the other seats are filled, and silently praying that your position on the standby list will trump those other nonrevs hovering with you.

Aux MA Wyatt HK plane!

Made it!! And, look who’s sitting right in front of me so I can kick for the next 16 hours—Swayne’s brother Wyatt!

Basically, Bunny and I got the very last seats on our 310-passenger 777’s—both ways! Hoping for a little Business-class cush, we alas got stuck in middle-seat Coach—par for the course. At least we got to sit together on the way out during the 16-hour flight from LAX!

Unfortunately, we had to cut our trip a day short, as we watched those flight loads slowly filling up the seats as our departure date loomed. In the end, it turned out to be a wise thing to bug out a day early. Due to ATC system changes in Hong Kong, however, our flight was delayed 6 hours, departing after midnight and getting us into LAX after all connections to PHX had departed.

All but one.

Aux MA Dante HK streets funny Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Dante enlightens us on Hong Kong’s exotic street food. Here’s some deep fried octopus. Yum!

Exhausted but determined, we sprinted out of Customs/Immigration and schlepped with our bags six terminals away to try for a delayed United RJ. Mercifully, the RJ was delayed for minor maintenance just long enough for us to frantically jump through all the online hoops to purchase nonrev interline tickets (that is employee standby tickets with another airline) and list for the  flight. Despite the lengthy delay at the wee hour of 2am LAX time, the gate agents were wonderful, and worked with us to secure, once again, the very last seats!

This is what you call, #Crewlife!

We finally stumbled through our front door, to the tune of two loudly-complaining cats (“Where have you two been? We’ve been worried sick!” “Where’s my food?” “Scratch my ears, already!” “The litter box was full so I used your bed.”)

Utterly exhausted, we fell asleep for—get this—12 hours solid!

HK downtown ferris pano Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Hong Kong by day!

Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Part 2: Blog Buddy Swayne

Despite the early bug-out, we nevertheless packed a mighty big wallop of adventure into our 3-night/4-day whirlwind tour!

HK streets gang 1! Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Let the Blog Buddy Adventure begin! L-R: Bunny, Dante, Swayne, me n Wyatt

_Aux Swayne wow! Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Swayne and I whoop it up at Oshkosh ’15!

This was in no small part due to two of YOUR fellow Blog Buddies who both instigated the trip, and joined us on it!

Swayne and Wyatt enjoying one HK's many outlying islands!

Swayne and brother Wyatt enjoying one HK’s many outlying islands!

First of all, the young man responsible for this epic jaunt was Swayne Martin, a 19-year old flight student at UND.

He is also one of three intrepid young men behind the phenomenal aviation blog boldmethod.com!

Swayne had invited us to join him, along with his brother Wyatt.

The timing worked great, so I said Heck Ya! and we were off for adventure!

HK Night Pano Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Hong Kong by night. Looking DOWN on HK’s other high rises, from the 118th floor of the Ritz Carlton, at the famous Ozone sky lounge!

Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Part 3: Blog Buddy Dante

HK Subway Station Aux MA D Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Dante met us at the airport and escorted us to our first hotel. Thank you for the wonderful personal service!

Dante and Cap'n Aux fly! Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

In 2014, Dante traveled all the way from Hong Kong just to take his first flying lesson while I rode along with him!

But, first and foremost, I must thank the young man truly responsible for our epic experience. Blog Buddy and local Hong Kong resident Dante L. enthusiastically took us under his wing as our personal tour guide.

I had met Dante a year earlier when he asked me to join him on his very first introductory flight in California. I said, “Dante, if you can make it to Cali all the way from Hong Kong, then I can make it from Phx to join you!” Well, the rest is history!

In Hong Kong, Dante turned out to be an incredibly gracious, gifted, and generous host. He had even taken the week off from his two jobs to personally show us around!

THANK YOU, DANTE, FOR MAKING OUR HONG KONG ADVENTURE A TRULY INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE!

Let’s tell the rest of the 3-night/4-day adventure via pics and vids. And, don’t miss the final video, in which Swayne and I discuss aviation in Hong Kong, and the challenges pilots such as Dante face.

Aux D Sim 1 Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

I was able to reciprocate in small part Dante’s generosity by giving him an unofficial “flight lesson” as he flew a visual simulator. He flew Cessnas, deHavillands, and even an Airbus, while I coached him on tips n tricks of the trade!

Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Part 4: The Pics

HK gang night! Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Local meeting of Team Aux—Hong Kong Chapter, at the Ozone, 118th floor! L-R: Dante, Bunny, Swayne, Wyatt and Aux!

Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Part 5: The Chopper Ride

The undisputed highlight of our trip was a surprise helicopter ride over Hong Kong that Dante set up for us. The weather miraculously complied, as HK’s usual haze cleared up into a spectacular day of unlimited visibility!

Helipad Aux MA D! Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Dante surprised us with a helicopter flight over downtown Hong Kong!

Aerial Adventures Hong Kong Style!

Part 6: The Vids

First up, a short video of our adventure in the skies over Hong Kong, thanks to Blog Buddy Dante!

Direct Link: https://vimeo.com/capnaux/hkhelicopter

On the last day, Swayne, Wyatt and I squeezed in a day trip to one of the many outlying islands. As we visited, we discussed the plight of modern general aviation in Hong Kong. Don’t miss it!

Direct Link: https://vimeo.com/capnaux/hongkong

As you can see, a good time was had by all. How can you not when you chum around with such great people?! Really, it just goes to prove: no matter where you are in the world, special memories can be made just by enjoying the company you keep!

Heli Aux!

THIS IS CAP’N AUX . . . SIGNING OFF!

 

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Short Final

Piano Burning and Other Fighter Pilot Traditions

rob-burgon

I review a fun new book by former F-22 Raptor pilot Major Rob Burgon!

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Top of Descent

“I’m from the FAA and I’m here to help you. No, really!”

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My interview with an FAA Safety Inspector!