Shatin Airfield 1949-1962

Tymon Mellor: Following the Second World War, in 1949 the Royal Air Force established a permanent airfield at Shatin,with a 350m long concrete runway, coordinates 05/23 and a small control tower, along with building and hangars made of corrugated steel. With the growing tension in China, during the 1950’s the British Army Air Corps operated Auster AOP.9 spotter planes from the site, undertaking air observation along the Chinese border.



Approach To RAF ShaTin

Approach To RAF Shatin

One air accident is recorded, on the 9th July, 1957 an Auster AOP.9 hit the mast of a junk on approach to the airfield. The impact damaged the aileron, forcing the plane to ditch into the Tolo Harbour. The pilot and crew were both rescued from the waters.

On the 1st September, 1962 on a Saturday evening, Typhoon Wanda made a direct hit on Hong Kong, bringing heavy rain and a high tide. The later inundating the airfield, flooded the facilities and destroying three aeroplanes. Soon after the facility was abandoned and eventually became a bicycle park before being incorporated into the Sha Tan new town. The position of the airfield is located below Sha Tin Park, New Town Plaza Phase 3 and the Royal Park Hotel.


There is an urban legend that a Boeing 707 missed its landing at Kai Tak, overflew Lion Rock and landed at the Sha Tin airfield instead. Given the limited length of the runway, this would be a major event if it occurred.

Photo Sources:

This article was first posted on 17th July 2014.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Shatin Airfield – 1954 article about British Army/RAF use
  2. Shatin Army Camp – link to Shatin Airfield – SAC Robert Woodburn 1950s
  3. Shatin – first powered flight in Hong Kong 1911
  4. An Aeroplane Called Wanda – historic flight over Shatin March 18th, 1911.
  5. Charles Van den Born – first powered flight in Hong Kong, Shatin, 1911



  • Campbell

    There have been cases of commercial jets over Shatin on missed approaches. I saw an Air France jet climbing over the valley in the late 70s

  • Adam Darell

    Dear Sir,

    I believe my grandfather, Captain Robert Darell, was the pilot involved in the crash you mention. I am sitting with him now in his house in North Devon reliving some of his memories thanks to this site!

    He has some photos from this time period, I would be happy to share!

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