Mark Curran recently reported on his trip to Shanghai in which he searched out some of the aviation-related points of interest away from from city’s main airports, as well as some general comments on spotting there. Read below:
SHANGHAI AVIATION ENTHUSIAST CENTRE
To access SAEC by public transport, take Shanghai Metro line 1 to Jin Jiang Park station. Leave the station to the left, and walk past the variety of alive/dead mobile phones, computer parts and domestic animals available for sale on Humin Road. After crossing a small bus station you will come to a subway/underpass. The first entrance is for motorbikes, enter at your own risk; the second is pedestrian access.
Cross under the road. On the other side you exit next to a fair ground – continue walking south on XXXX (this will involve leaving the subway and doing a 270 degree right turn). Whilst there is a footpath it is a bit perilous due to the adjacent cycle/bicycle lane, variously also used by cars and buses, and not always in the correct correction.
Indeed the desire to shout “mentalist!” in an Alan Partridge voice betroth me several times! After about 400 yards the SAEC is on your right, there is wide gate with a large booth on the left. Pay your 8RMB (about 80p) and inspect the DC-8 (including the interior), Volks IL-14 as well as 4 MiG/Chinese copies, one helicopter and a boat.
There was apparently a DHC-2 here but it was not visible.
LONG HUA AIRPORT
The disused airport at Long Hua is now a residential area, with much of the terminal ramp having blocks of flats. The runway is fairly intact but the scene of much building / clearance work so a fair bet it will be built on soon.
Adjacent to the airport is the CAAC College, home of an AN-24, an IL-18 and an AN-2. To get here take Shanghai Metro line 3 to Long Cao station. After exiting use the circular footbridge to access Long Hua Road, follow this to the next junction with Long Hua Road West. After crossing the railway line you reach a roundabout, facing the old airport terminal. Turn left, and keep going. After about 500 yards the end of the runway is visible on your right, and on the left is a bus parking area with may be 10 buses and some huts for bus drivers, cleaners, bicycles etc. Between these the three aircraft can be seen. They are tightly packed, viewed through a double fence, so are not photographable to any standard.
Bus 864 also operates frequently between Long Hua Airport and the City Centre.
Note that the walk from Long Cao to the Airport is not the easiest due to the amount of crap the Chinese festoon their pavements with, such as bicycles and dead things. It is also not the easiest place to cross the road as traffic signals are more for decoration than any real intent – indeed I saw an elderly woman knocked over by a Chinese 4×4.
I intended to go and find the ex-China Eastern 737-200 that is also in southern Shanghai. The Metro line XXX terminus at Ji Yang Road seemed quite close by. However my Chinese speaking friends couldn’t find this station on the map, and I later established the station was closed.
After looking on Google Maps for the next station (South Ying Lan Road), it all looked a bit favella-ish, so decided to not bother.
Instead I went to the Shanghai Council Museum for planning Projects for the Shanghai Expo 2010 (!). Shanghai is a rapidly expanding city and lacks the infrastructure to cope with the rate of expansion, so
there is a heavy building program focussing on both sustainability and volume, from everything to housing to water supply to subways. And an obsession with building very tall office buildings (the glass floor on the 210th floor of Shanghai Wold Financial Centre is very scary!).
The point of my including this is the museum had models of the plans for both Pu Dong and Hongqiao airports. At Pu Dong the intention is to build a very large ‘H’ shaped pier to the north od the existing two terminals. Hongqiao is slated for massive redevelopment in to an airport with two piers. I think this would include the demolition of the Hong Gang.