Sai Jia Paragliding Site
Take a Light Flight over the Island
Source：Smiling Taiwan 319+
For those who have long dreamed of flying like a bird, here's your chance! Hop on board, soar into the blue skies, and explore a bird eye view over the scenic plains and rivers in Southern Taiwan.
Take a Light Flight over the IslandBy Peishu Li
It was a sunny morning. Light aircrafts and paragliders were seen soaring freely in the skies above the borderland between Kaoshu (高樹) and San-ti-men (三地門). Any well-informed sky dreamer would tell you that the Maolin Mountain district (茂林) has the best and only skies in Asia for a winter/spring light flight.
“Hit the brakes. Throttle to 3000. Release. Focus on the middle line of the runway. Speed up to full. Front wheel up before third!”
Buckle up. Headphones on. Get ready for takeoff by following the instructions from Chin-shang Sun, pilot coach at Sai Jia Paragliding site. Sitting on a light aircraft without a cabin, I felt like I had wings, and off I went into the skies!
The wind was soothing. The Mouth River (Kuoshe River), studded with green squares of rice fields, slowly streamed below our feet. Our view was switched to panoramic mode. The Eighteen Lohan Mountain in the north was magnificent. The river over Kaoping river was Ai-liao. As long as the weather is clear enough, the silhouette of 85 Sky Tower Hotel in Kaohsiung City can be spotted.
“Focusing on flying helps me escape from all the troubles of life. Once in the air, nothing else ever matters but your life.” With 30 years of flying experience, pilot coach Sun was no stranger to near-death experiences. Having survived from blinding rains and turbulent thunderstorms, he developed a sharp sense for shifting weather conditions, and always put safety first. “Diving a car is two-dimensional, while flying is three. But in fact, it's not so scary as it seems. Once you had your first flight, you’ll fall in love with it!” He laughed. “Many who came to me were flight-virgins who gave me their first!”
“I used to play with unpowered aircrafts and gliders. But after I got more familiar with these, I became more interested in controlling them,” said another pilot coach Mingfeng Yeh, who was also in charge of coordinating with the Kaohsiung Air Traffic Control Tower. Growing up with a pilot dream, the air force veteran had his epiphany on a gloomy day in the age of 35, when he suddenly realized that he was “meant to fly, and it was about time.” Today, if he’s not in his office, he must be flying his light aircraft, relaxing himself in the skies.
Some get obsessed with the feeling of freedom in the skies. Some are passionate about the unhindered bird eye view of the island's canvas below. A political science major at Cheng Kung University comes to Sai jia every week for practice, determined to become a licensed private aircraft pilot overseas. Mountains at Sai Jia align meridionally, with a flatland to the West. Airflow is stable in the morning and evening—best time for a relaxing flight. Pingtung seldom rains from December to the next March. Nearly every day is a good day to fly.
Sai Jia Paragliding site (English)
賽嘉皆豪輕航機飛行場 Official Website (Chinese only)
Address: No. 12, Saijia Ln.,Saijia Vil., Sandimen Township, 906, Taiwan
Translated by Sharon Tseng.