Saichia is said to be closed, or will soon be, due to trees being planted all over the launch. Apparently the government needs to come inspect the land and it needs to look like it did 20 years ago or something similarly ludicrous.
In all the years I’ve been going there we’ve seen it develop roughly as follows:
1999: Pan Fong-ching dynasty. No gates or fences. Small dirt parking lot, blacktop launch area with holes left over from wooden HG launch platform. Some grass and a concrete garbage can.
2003: End of Pan Dynasty. Barbed wire and rebars all over the launch to avenge the villagers of Saichia who took the rap for cutting the trees behind the launch.
2003: Simon Ong dynasty and birth of Saichia Area Development Association. Grass on remodeled launch, fence around takeoff area to separate pilots and spectators. Steel shelter at back of launch for parawaiting, vendors in bamboo shacks selling aboriginal wild pig bbq and traditional clothing. Brick-built shelter and flush toilets at front of launch.
2004: Ong Dynasty ends with the death of a 17y/o tandem passenger and the exile of the emperor and his officers. Father of dead boy attempts to destroy site assets and close site by legal and extralegal means.
2005: Hsu Dynasty. ‘Assassin’ Hsu negotiates truce with father of dead boy and the removal / rundown of site assets continues. Water is off and on. Brick toilets are demolished and portaloos installed. Fences are pulled down. Only the main gate and gatehouses remain.
2006: Steel shelter torn down, other structures removed, trees planted on launch.
The word is that the trees will come down as soon as the government is satisfied the land physically resembles the official map. Then the trees are slated for uprooting. What will actually happen is anyone’s guess.