Asia, July/August, March/April, May/June, September/October, Travel Guide

Guide to Linzhou, China

Sunday 9 February, 2014

 

Looking into the gorge over the back of take-off at Linzhou Paragliding Club

Looking into the gorge over the back of take-off at Linzhou Paragliding Club

WHY GO?
It’s China. Amazing food, bullet trains, buildings from the future and a perfect flying site 550km south of Beijing.

WHERE IS IT?

WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Linzhou is a city of a mere one million people – a provincial town by China’s standards. Accessible by train and bus five hours from Beijing it sits in the plains next to a long forest-covered limestone mountain range that rises steeply to 1,700m and runs for 150km north/south.

The take-off is one of the best in Asia and is international standard. Indeed the Paragliding World Cup came here in 2010 with great success and the Asian Paragliding Championships followed in 2012.

A long road leads up the back of the mountain to the very summit, where you’ll find big car parks. The take-off is an enormous green mat and easily accommodates 100 pilots or more.

Because it faces east typical XC routes take you along the mountain early on, before switching to flying the flatlands out the front later in the day. The mountain simply switches off in the afternoon, making for a technical, challenging day. Landing is easy – it’s all flat accessible farmland of small fields and many roads.

Back in Linzhou you will find good hotels and plenty of interest, not least in the restaurants which are numerous and good.

China is a travel adventure like no other. Towering residential blocks really do seem to spring up out of paddy fields and the energy of a country of 1.5bn people in movement is palpable. But flying Linzhou also offers a gateway to a natural China, one of beautiful scenery, friendly pilots and memorable days in the air.

FLYING CONDITIONS
Top-to-bottom is 800m. Flying here is possible all year except during February and March when it is too windy. April to October is perfect.

Thermals at the start and end of the season average 2-3m/s and peak at 5-6m/s in May and June. Cloudbase can reach 4,000m, although that’s rare. Pilots can fly all wind directions except northwest and west.

It gets hazy here, especially in the hotter months. Days start clear but as the wind picks up the air thickens with dust. It’s possible to be on take-off and not be able to see the landing zone. The end of the season, autumn, promises better visibility, which is why we suggest early October as the best time to visit.

The flying club and school here is very active, with pilots – including China-resident Red Bull X-Alps winner and PWC champion Alex Hofer – visiting from all over the country. You will receive a warm welcome.

WHEN TO GO
April to October

ALTITUDE
Take-off: 1,188m
Landing: 332m
Cloudbase: 3-4,000m possible

HANG GLIDER ACCESS
Yes, top-drivable with big car parks.

MUST BE FLOWN
Triangles are the name of the game. Take off early and fly the ridge north or south before heading into the flats to pick your way back home across the plains.

DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES
Dust in the air can make visibility poor. As the wind picks up in the afternoon watch for getting pinned or blown back. Over the back is proper tiger country with deep gorges and few landings – best to stay out front.

ACCOMMODATION
Linzhou is a big city with accommodation from budget basics to plush hotels. The Linzhou Paragliding Club also has basic accommodation in the clubhouse in town.

TAKE THE FAMILY AND RAINY DAYS
There is always something interesting to do, whether visiting the markets, eating or simply people-watching. Anyang, one of the eight ancient capitals of China, is nearby. Local pilots will welcome you with open arms and show you the sights. You won’t get bored.

WEATHER
Linzhou paragliding club posts the weather every day.

GETTING THERE
From Beijing take the train to Anyang, a city 500km south of Beijing. From there it is 50km by bus or taxi to Linzhou.

CONTACTS
Linzhou Paragliding Club has a big clubhouse and shop in the centre of Linzhou. Come here for transport to launch, information, to meet other pilots and for wi-fi. The heart of flying Linzhou they are open every day. Many pilots speak English.
Contact name: Li Xiaomin
Tel: +86 372 610 5688
www.linzhouclub.com


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