Advanced Pilot Programs

FS Techniques - Checkerboard Approach

by Ed Turner Jr

Last Updated: March 14, 2006


Douglas Kiang’s independent edition of Prima Publishing of “Flight Simulator 98” unauthorized game secrets, I found to be very interesting. He clarifies and defines the checkerboard approach at Hong Kong.

I recently did some research and found just what I was looking for regarding this rather unique pattern and approach. As most of you know in flight Sim 98. One of the adventures is the Checkerboard approach, where you are the Captain of a Bluesky 737 on a routine flight from Hong Kong. You as the blue Sky Captain are cleared to the Gheung Chau VOR. Via some other ATC info that eventually direct you to land on runway 13. Actually you start at this Hong Kong airport enter a pattern and return to where you started, hardly any wind though.

You get a lot of ATC help along the way. In FS2002 and maybe in FS2000 (I removed FS2000 from my computer, and I don’t remember if there was a Checkerboard Adventure) there is no CB Adventure. For FS2002 and FS2000 I created one. My reason for doing so resulted from research of finding just what I was looking for, A video clip of a real world pilot in a DC 10 landing in Hong Kong rwy 13 in what appeared to be a lot of cross wind. You have to see the clip to believe what happened during the CheckerBoard Approach. More on what link to follow to get this Juicy Info.

The Hong Kong “CheckerBoard” approach gets its name from the large checkerboard patterns on the hill the aircraft flies toward during the final approach segment. The aircraft follows the IGS (Instrument Guidance System), which provides both horizontal and vertical guidance using radio signals. Because HKG is surrounded by hills, this path does not lead straight toward a runway. Instead, it leads the aircraft toward the large checkerboards. The aircraft then makes a steep right-hand turn to make a landing onto runway 13.

In FS98 Boeing 737 adventure, the 737-400 will take off from Runway 13 and fly a pattern that sets it up for the approach. A runway heading will be flown until the 23 DME point from HK and the aircraft will ascend to 6000 feet. Then the aircraft will turn left to a heading of 330 to intercept the 090 radial off of the Cheung Chau VOR, continue to fly the R-270 for an additional seven (7) miles.

ATC will clear you to turn to a heading, 045 and to descend to 4500 feet. On this heading you are on course to intercept the 088 course towards the KL IGS. After intercepting the IGS, turn to heading 088 and track it toward the checkerboards. When you get to about 1.2 DME, Runway 13 will be toward your right. Make a steep right-hand turn and land on Runway 13. Sounds easy? There’s more.

To start this adventure: FS98, from the main menu click on the checkerboard adventure. The first time I flew the adventure I followed ATC instructions. To make the adventure a challenge, I reset the adventure, that canceled the ATC and I setup various cross winds on approach. For farther challenge, I did a night landing, and to think that some pilots including myself thought BOTA was rough.

For FS 2000 and FS2002: Unfortunately in FS2002 the HKG KL IGS does not exist, I am not sure about FS2000. I also did not find the checkerboard adventure in FS2002, and there are no checkerboards. The new Hong Kong Intl. ID, VHHH, there is no need for the checkerboard approach. The old airport is still there… In fsNavigator and fS2002 map window, the Hong Kong RW NDB will lead you right to the old runway 13, which is marked with an X.

The following is a creation I found to work real well for FS2002: (FS2000 users can try this and see if it works for you). Since there is no longer An ILS freq. 109.9, the DME reference will be from the TD VOR or TH VOR, your choice. The checkerboard is shown as a reference, 1.2 miles from RW NDB (see diagram). 

FS2002 Setup

From the map window relocate the aircraft to Coordinates N22 19.48 E114 11.60 Hdg. 136 Alt “0”.
You will be placed on the old runway 13 of the old airport. From the diagram set radios, set crosswinds, take off and have fun. See the video clip of a real world pilot’s checkerboard adventure, and of course that of the passengers. Thanks to fsplanet, you can go to a link and download for free for your video collection. scroll down to about the 10th picture, “Alitallia DC-10 video clip 

FS98 Setup

From main menu select checkerboard adventure, and then reset the flight to cancel ATC and set crosswinds. Set radios and your off. FS98 users can also get in some practice by allowing ATC to guide you through a few practice patterns.

Specific Routing

After take off from Runway X (old rwy 13) fly runway heading. Continue to 12 DME fix from the TD VOR or the TH VOR and then turn left to heading 330’ to intercept the Cheung Chau (CH) 090’ radial inbound to CH (inbound Course 270).

At CH, slow to 200 knots and maintain 6000’. Expect lower Altitude in 5 miles.

At 7 DME from CH, turn right heading 045’ and descend to 4,500’. Then fly the NDB 377 rwy heading 136’. 

Checker Board App



  1. In the FS98 Boeing 737 adventure, the heading of 330’ to intercept the 090’ radial, what direction are you flying?

A)    East

B)     West

C)    North


  1. You are flying direct to the Cheung Chau VOR 090’ radial, what direction are you flying?

A)    South

B)     East

C)    West


  1. Where does the Hong Kong Checkerboard approach get its name?

A)    The checkerboard patterns on the mountains.

B)     The large checkerboard patterns on the hill the aircraft flies towards.

C)    The IGS, which provides horizontal and vertical guidance.


  1. From the “Specific Routing” fly runway heading. Continue to 23 DME fix, and ascend to 8000 ft.

A)    True

B)     False


  1. What freq. was replaced with the RW NDB freq. 377.0?

A)    Tung Lung VOR 116.10

B)      HK ILS freq. 109.9

C)    VHHH ILS freq. 109.9


  1. When do you make the steep right hand turn?

A)    Before you intercept the 088’ Course.

B)     At the checkerboards on the hill.

C)    When you get to about 1.2 DME


  1. HK’s runway heading is approximately 136’

A)    True

B)     False


  1. What is the inbound course for 090’ radial?

A)    090’

B)     West

C)    270’



  1. What is the inbound course to intercept thru RW NDB?

A)    045’

B)     088’

C)    None of the above


  1. You fly outbound to track 088’ towards the checkerboard to land on runway 13.

A)    True

B)     False



Here are the Answers:


1-C  2-C  3-B  4-B  5-B  6-C  7-A  8-C  9-A  10-B


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