About 2 hours outside of Lanzhou in the western province of Gansu is a unique flying site at Liujiaxia 刘家峡.
Liujiaxia is a reservoir in an upstream part of China’s second longest river, the Yellow River. At this location however the water is incredibly blue and along with unpolluted clear blue skies stands in stark contrast to the surrounding dry barren landscape. From the take off it feels more like a moonscape of pock marked hills with almost no vegetation except around the water’s edge. The river widens to more than 5km at this point and is surrounded on all sides by steep hills. The landing zone is a vast empty field at the river’s edge that during wet seasons is mostly under water.
Getting to the site requires hooking up with the local Lanzhou paragliding club to arrange transportation to the site, and then help with rides up the hill with various drivers. The weather is best for flying in June and July and then later in September. The take off faces southeast and offers an incredible view of the entire river basin. The take off is atop the tallest of surrounding hills with a cliff on one side and terraced face on the other.
At most one can get in three or four flights a day if doing sled rides down, or even more for the adventurous pilots using the site for acro. Its close proximity to the water makes a rare decent training site for acro in China. Its recommended to inform the local pilots in advance if doing acro so they don’t scream at you over the radio to pull your reserve when seeing you stalling your wing and doing helicopters.
The site has amazing potential for cross country as we have heard of some pilots who have launched from here and flown all the way to Qinghai, which is the next province west from Gansu.