31 Sung Wong Toi Road, Kowloon City, Hong Kong

Phone Numbers 

Restaurant: (+852) 27120221 Daily: 9am to 10pm

Ops: (+852) 27135171 Weekdays: 9am to 6pm Weekends: 8:45am to 5pm


Our story

Our Heritage

The origins of Hong Kong's flying clubs may be traced back to the 1920s, when a suggestion was made to form an aero club so that the "Around-the-World Aerial Derby" could be held in Hong Kong. In 1933, the newly established Far East Flying Training School (FEFTS) took over Hong Kong's aviation training and provided aircraft maintenance and repair training, which was equally important on the engineering side. In 1982, the Hong Kong Aviation Club acquired the FEFTS and it has become a subsidiary of the then Hong Kong Aviation Club (now Aviation Club of Hong Kong, China) up to this date.


The Hong Kong Flying Club

The Aero Club of Hong Kong

The New Era - HKAC

Heritage Gallery

Aviation Club of Hong Kong, China & Far East Flying Training School

Many aviation historians in Hong Kong may tell you that there was a 1929 Flying Club and a 1964 Flying Club, but records which ran from 1948 through the early 1950s may give us some insight about the history of the Hong Kong Flying Club, one of the predecessors to the current ACHKC.


The Hong Kong Flying Club was founded by Far East Flying Training School to provide "cheaper flying exercise for local airline ground staff and RAF personnel." Although the Club operated as an independent organization by Selwyn Halls and O. C. Chambers, they were employed by the FEFTS. According to Hong Kong civil aircraft registration documents, a Piper PA 12 Super Cruiser (VR-HDZ) was registered to the Hong Kong Flying Club in September 1948. This aircraft, however, was written off in May 1949, and a Stinson L-5 Sentinel (VR-HEW) registered to O. C. Chambers in December 1949 was most likely its replacement. By that time, Chambers had left the FEFTS but he remained teaching flying at the Flying Club.


"At the moment we have two competing flying outfits, the Far East Flying Training School and the Hong Kong Flying Club, the latter being run by Pete Coster and a few characters around the village," writes George in a column in the South China Morning Post in February 1949 under the heading, Kai Tak Gossip. It is unknown who Pete Coster was, although O. C. Chambers was associated with the Flying Club until his departure from Hong Kong in 1951. The Flying Club seemed to vanish at that point.


On July 2, 1964, THE HONG KONG FLYING CLUB was founded. It was incorporated four months before the Aero Club of Hong Kong, which was being formed at the time by another group of light aircraft enthusiasts. In early 1964, there was still no organisation providing private pilot training, so a group of 14 founding members with a passion for flying each contributed $2,000 to the Hong Kong Flying Club's original capital.


Len Cowper, a Cathay Pacific pilot, and John Shawcross, the club's first secretary, flew to Manila a week after the club was founded to pick up a Beechcraft Musketeer that the club had rented for a year. The pair flew the Musketeer to Hong Kong, and light aircraft flight resumed.


The club quickly moved into an old building near the seawall on Kai Tai's eastern edge. Members were given a hangar and a clubhouse as a result of this. In those days, getting to the Kai Tak airfield and hardstand areas was relatively simple, and there were no security checks or passes required. In addition to the many flying members, the club had a sizable social membership, and the bar and "fruit machine" generated additional revenue that allowed the club to thrive. You might wonder what a one-armed bandit is. Yes, it was illegal, but because the airport was a sort of no-man's-land, the use of this machine and the quick turnover of 50-cent coins it generated provided members with some light entertainment while also helping to fund social activities and flights for charitable organisations like the Crippled Children's Association.

The Auxiliary Air Force was based near the Flying Club, in a cluster of ancient wooden cottages next to the RAF hangar. Because the Auxies lacked any recreational amenities, many members used the Flying Club as a social hub and a way to get more light aircraft flying hours. John Shawcross was a founding member of the club and served as Chief Staff Officer of the Auxiliary Air Force until it was disbanded. Bill Parks, a Public Works Department inspector, Succeeded him as president, and the two of them managed an exceedingly competent organization with the help of its committee members.


The club's main interest, however, was flying, and in 1969 they bought their first plane, a Beechcraft Musketeer with a spare engine. The club bought its second plane, a De Havilland Chipmunk, from the Singapore Flying Club in 1969.


The club had to relocate in the early 1970s due to fast expansion at Kai Tak and the closure of RAF operations at the eastern end of the airport. On the Sung Wong Toi Road side of the airport, a land allocation was obtained, and the club was able to relocate and re-erect the building it had been using. All light aircraft activities were organized together in the Flying Club, which was located next to the Aero Club and the FEFTS.


The Chipmunk was written off in 1972 after colliding with a jet airliner wake during landing, and it wasn't until 1974 that a new plane, a Beagle Pup 150, was purchased. In 1978, this plane was also written off in an accident, and it was replaced by a Beechcraft B19.

The Flying Club was a very active organization, both in the air and on the ground, and it coexisted with the Aero Club, which had similar interests. Amalgamation was frequently discussed, but no concrete steps toward it were taken until the early 1980s.


Typhoon Wanda struck the FEFTS in 1962, delivering a swift and devastating blow. In just a few hours, all of its training planes were destroyed. This posed a serious dilemma for Hong Kong's 50 or so licenced private pilots, as the school was unable to purchase replacement planes. Another depressed group impacted by the typhoon were enthusiasts who had spent hours refurbishing a 1945 Stinson L-5 Sentinel and had nearly completed the restoration. Wanda slammed the Stinson into the hangar wall, leaving them with a wreck in even worse shape than they had started with.

Undaunted, members of the group began reconstructing, and the Aero Club was formed in November 1964 as a result of their efforts, complete with the repaired Stinson. The club's facilities were in buildings next to the FEFTS, and hangar space was shared with them. The club's membership grew quickly, and there was such a demand for flying that a vintage Auster 5.J was purchased soon after.

Although both aircraft were somewhat old, early members of the club recall learning to fly or refining their piloting skills in them. The demand for flying time grew even more, and before the club had been around a year, a third aircraft, a modern Cessna 172E Skyhawk, was added to the fleet.

The club was given further land adjacent to the FEFTS buildings in 1967, and a clubhouse and other amenities were built there. The club blossomed under the leadership of Mike Gottfried, a founding member and the first president, who was effectively helped by an energetic committee, with strong assistance from the administrative and engineering personnel, as well as flying instructors.

In 1968, the club purchased a Piper Cherokee, and in 1973, an aerobatic Fuji was added to the fleet. Many flying activities were organised, often in collaboration with the Flying Club, the Auxiliary Air Force, and the Royal Air Force, with air exhibitions and open days held at Shek Kong on several occasions. With a Cessna 152, a Cessna 152 Aerobat, and a Cessna 182 on its books, the Aero Club was in good shape by 1981. Their friendly opponents in the Flying Club were also doing well, but mounting costs and the Civil Aviation Department's desire to deal with only one light aircraft club in Hong Kong made amalgamation a viable option.


Because both clubs initially opposed the merger, a postal poll was held in 1980, with favourable results: for amalgamation, Aero Club, 109; Flying Club, 82; against amalgamation, Aero Club, 2; Flying Club, 2. The members had spoken, and while a few more details needed to be worked out before an agreement was reached in 1981, the groundwork had been laid for a new era in club flying to begin.


Following the dissolution of the Aero Club and the Flying Club on November 27, 1981, the Hong Kong Aviation Club was formed. The new club's Memorandum of Association included more than 20 objectives, but the first two are the most important:

(A) To acquire and take over all the assets and liabilities of the present Limited Companies known as the Aero Club of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Flying Club.

(B) To promote the art of flying light aircraft in and around Hong Kong and elsewhere and . . . to provide facilities to enable members to fly aircraft, obtain flying tuition . . . and. . . to exercise discipline over members on the safe and proper use of aircraft. 

Hong Kong now has a single, internationally recognized aviation organization. The members of the two old clubs quickly became integrated, and it was eventually decided to rebuild the existing buildings to provide better restaurant, bar, and office facilities. The project was completed in stages, culminating in the highly sophisticated that are now available at the club. The former FEFTS hangar was built to accommodate the club's maintenance needs.

The Aviation Club was extremely fortunate to begin with a fleet of dependable aircraft and knowledgeable maintenance personnel. There was also a continuous supply of student pilots and an outstanding pool of flying instructors available, derived from the two old clubs. Lew Roberts and Mike Wightman shared the role of Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) at the time, but by 1985, Paul Clift had risen through the ranks to take over the position. The post was succeeded by Hogan LOH for the Aeroplanes and Danny Patterson for the Helicopters at present.


Ruth Golden, the Club Manager, was another crucial component of the squad. She started in that position when the club was founded and very finally retired in April 1997. The administration and functioning of the club operated like clockwork in her expert hands, and she provided able support to succeeding executive committees throughout the years. The late Mike Gottfried and the late Hank Josey had function rooms named after them after they were honoured by the club for their service. Mike was the president, and Hank worked as a flight instructor.

The Civil Aviation Department decided that there was no place for regular light aircraft operating at a one-runway International Airport as commercial use of Kai Tak approached saturation. It was fortunate, then, that the airport at Shek Kong was available, and that the club's use of it was welcomed by its major users, the Royal Air Force, and later, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.

The Far East Flying and Technical School (FEFTS) as purchased and taken over by the club in 1983. FEFTS offers ground school in five subjects that are required to obtain a private pilot's licence. Additionally, classes leading to specialised night-flying and aerobatic ratings are offered. The club offers courses to train assistant flying instructors with two pilots undergoing teacher training at any one time. Pilots can obtain expertise managing various types of aircraft and practise approach and landing procedures at a variety of airports around the world using a computer flight simulator.


The club has purchased a number of new aircraft, while selling off some older ones. In 2003, the club started flying helicopters. At present, the club operates Cessna 172s, Cessna 152s, a Cessna 182, Robinson R22s and a R44, with some additional aircraft of various types privately owned and flown by club members.


The club has participated in both flying and social events. Club days are held in Shek Kong, where club and private aircraft do show routines for members, families, and the general public, while flights to Chinese airports such as Zhuhai was possible when opportunities presented itself. The club has actively engaged with the public by organizing and participating in events, such as Aviation Carnival, Red Bull Flugtag, Zhu Hai Air Show and World Helicopter Day.


The club has been a viable and vibrant organisation, filling the role of an all-encompassing aviation club, as was envisaged in 1920 when the first Aero Club was born. 

In 2023, the name of the Club was changed from “The Hong Kong Aviation Club Limited” to “The Aviation Club of Hong Kong, China Limited”.



The Hong Kong Historical Aircraft Association (2000), Wings Over Hong Kong: A Tribute to Kai Tak, An Aviation History, 1891-1998

Heritage Gallery

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