Shek Kong Airfield

The Shek Kong Airfield (Chinese: 石崗機場), ICAO: VHSK), formerly RAF Sek Kong or Sek Kong Airfield, is an airfield (airbase) located in Shek Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong.

"RAF Sek Kong" and "Sek Kong Airbase" redirect here.
Shek Kong Airfield

石崗機場
Runway of Shek Kong Airfield
Summary
Airport typeMilitary/Civilian
OwnerPLA Hong Kong Garrison (1997–present)
Royal Air Force (1938–1997)
OperatorPLA Hong Kong Garrison (1997–present)
Royal Air Force (1938–1997)
ServesShek Kong
LocationHong Kong
Opened1950
Elevation AMSL50 ft / 15 m
Coordinates22°26′11″N 114°4′50″E
Map
Shek Kong Airfield
Location of Shek Kong Airfield in Hong Kong
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
11/29 6,250 1,905 Paved
Shek Kong Airfield
Traditional Chinese石崗機場
Simplified Chinese石岗机场

The base houses air force units of People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison as well as being open for restricted civilian use during weekends.

The closest MTR station is Kam Sheung Road.

History

Before the British handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, the airfield was used by the British Forces Overseas Hong Kong, and was then a Royal Air Force station known as RAF Sek Kong. Construction started in 1938 and was completed only in 1950 due to the intervention of the Japanese occupation during World War II.

From 1989[1] to 1993,[2] RAF Sek Kong was also a Vietnamese Refugee Detention Centre.

It is used by the People's Liberation Army during the week but, during weekends, members of the Hong Kong Aviation Club are allowed to use the airport for operation of private airplanes and to conduct private flight training.[3]

At RAF Sek Kong the RAF operated a small force of a single squadron from 1950 to 1996. It was a permanent assignment with personnel and their families living in SEK Kong for three-year tours of duty. The Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force was also a permanent air force unit in Hong Kong.

A partial list of RAF squadrons stationed at Sek Kong before 1997:

A list of RAF aircraft stationed at Shek Kong:

Builder/ModelTypeNumberDatesDetails
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.24fighter1949–1951No. 80 RAF
de Havilland Vampirefighter1951–1954
de Havilland Hornetfighter1951–1955No. 80 RAF
Westland Wessexhelicopter1978–1996No. 28 RAF

With a Vietnamese refugee camp using the runway from 1989[1] to 1993,[2] the base hosted helicopters only after 1989 until the runway was reinstated in 1995. However, no fixed wing aircraft of the RAF used the runway before the base was closed in 1996.

British Army

The British Army also operated a squadron of helicopters in Sek Kong from 1970 until 1993, performing observation/reconnaissance and troop-lifting roles on the Hong Kong-Mainland Chinese border and supporting the army on exercises. It was heavily involved in stemming the flood of illegal immigrants from Mainland China. No. 660 Squadron AAC operated until the end of 1993. The squadron, 50 years old at the time, was the last unit using Westland Scout helicopters.[4][5][6]

Support equipment

ModelTypeNumberDatesDetails
BedfordRL tipper truck1980s–1990s
Gurkha Transport RegimentTank transporters1980s–1990s

Refugee camp 1989–1993

From 1989, the base was also a refugee centre for Vietnamese boat people arriving in Hong Kong.[1] At the peak in 1992, the centre hosted 9,000 refugees.[7] During the time as a refugee centre, half the runway was closed and used for temporary housing (mainly tents). As a result, only rotary aircraft operated from the base. The refugee centre closed in 1993 and the runway was restored for use by fixed wing aircraft.

PLAAF base 1997–present

The PLAAF has had a small presence in Hong Kong since 1997. There is one PLA unit stationed in Sek Kong:

  • PLAAF Helicopter Regiment 39968
    • Hong Kong Special Aviation Unit—transport
Builder/ModelTypeNumberDatesDetails
HAMC Harbin Z-9BUtility helicopters121997–present

The PLA ground and naval forces also use Sek Kong, mainly for training and Opening Day use.

With the PLAAF operating helicopters, the runway is mostly used for civilian fixed wing aircraft. There are four "H" marked along the runway for the Z-9 to land and avoided the need to create helipads at the base.

Private use

The Hong Kong Aviation Club, Hong Kong's private recreational flying organisation, moved most of its aircraft to Shek Kong in 1994 after the hours for general aviation at Kai Tak Airport were sharply reduced, to two hours per morning, as of July 1 that year.[8] Usage of private aircraft at Shek Kong is restricted to weekends.[9]

See also

References

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20080410105343/http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/02_09.15/129081.pdf South China Morning Post: March to show anger at Viet Policy
  2. Getty Images: Shek Kong Camp
  3. High-flyers have licence to thrill
  4. 660 Squadron named as first unit to disband
  5. 660 Squadron
  6. Craftsmen of the Army, pp331-332
  7. Basler, Barbara (1992-02-04). "18 Vietnamese die in Violence at Refugee Camp". The New York Times.
  8. "Aviation club takes off for Sek Kong". scmp.com. South China Morning Post. 1994-08-22. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  9. "High-flyers have licence to thrill". South China Morning Post. 2010-06-26. Retrieved 2018-04-21. For anyone who has ever dreamt of flying, the first step to getting your wings is to join the Hong Kong Aviation Club (HKAC), the city's only flight training centre.[...]The Shek Kong Airfield is used by the People's Liberation Army during the week, with permission given to the club to use it during weekends.
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