div.wp-caption img

Keelung

Site name: Green Bay or Fei Tsui Wan
Launch altitude amsl: 184m
Landing altitude amsl: 7m
Launch direction: NNE through E
Road access: Yes
XC: Yes
GPS Launch: 25.181824° N, 121.684444° E
GPS Landing: 25.182492° N, 121.688683° E
Site frequency: 150.69Mhz

Brief history

The waters around the north coast have long been contested, this area was a battleground during 8 months of the Sino-French war in 1884 when Courbet led the French Navy to invade Keelung. Over 500 French are buried in the nearby cemetery. Green Bay (aka Fei Tsui Wan) is a bay on Taiwan’s north coast, not far from Keelung. Keelung’s climate might sometimes remind you of London, so good flying days are precious and come when least expected. Preferred wind direction is northeast, a southerly wind is dangerous, though you will still see people flying.

Downloads

Google Earth placemarks: green_bay.kmz
XC flightlog 1: n/a
XC flightlog 2: n/a

Flight

The launch area is about 20 minutes drive from the LZ up a decent asphalt road through a housing estate. The launch itself is big and grassy and the wind over the hill is often glass smooth, easy launching and ideal for practicing your ground-handling technique. There is a large area of astroturf over the hill which helps with line snags, but also covers some pretty deep holes and ruts, so it’s easy to trip. The usual LZ is the beach in the bay below hill and is difficult to see until airborne. It’s large enough, but there can be obstacles like whole trees washed up on the beach. It goes without saying you had better go walk the LZ before flying. The area in front of the resort is closed to the non-paying public, but you can land there and avoid paying their (exorbitant) entrance fees. Don’t fly over the resort or do acro over the swimming pool etc., they hate it.

Soaring

Soaring is possible when the onshore breeze is above 10kmh and in a direction between NNE and E. There is a Patriot missile base right behind launch, so don’t overfly that. There is thermal activity on days when the wind is lighter and unstable airmasses are present. There are often thunderstorms over Taipei on such days. Cloudbase is typically about 700 to 800m on a flying day, zero otherwise. On a perfect day it’s possible to cross the valley to the south and fly the ridge towards Keelung. Be warned there are few places to put down on that route and none of them are large. It’s not advised to fly when there is any southerly component in the wind. Never mind what the local pilots are doing, do not launch in a southerly wind.

Green Bay launch

Green Bay launch

Green Bay launch area, looking to the NE.
View back at the launch, looking to the west.

Green Bay launch

Green Bay launch

Yuri comes back to earth

Yuri comes back to earth

Landing area, looking to the south-east.

Issues

There is a Patriot missile battery on top of the hill, and an ammo dump at the bottom, don’t overfly them as it really annoys the soldiers and they make life miserable for the local clubs as a consequence. You are also not supposed to overfly the power station in the next bay, even if the thermals are tempting.
It’s worth taking a look at the obstacles around the LZ before flying.

Weather and season

This site is most reliable during the late summer months when the winds are light and south-westerly, though my favorite days are those with light winds and more thermal activity. Come fall the site is shut down as the prevailing north-easterly gets too strong from about October onwards. Best flying season – May through October.

Suitability for beginners?

The landing area is not directly visible from the launch which in and of itself makes this site unsuitable for beginners. On the positive side, the air is usually very smooth and the beach is a fine place to ground handle.
The launch area itself is under the control of a commercial operator that operates numerous tandems and offers flying lessons. If you want to learn here this is probably the only option now as other instructors and clubs are no longer allowed to operate here. I personally would not recommend this.
If you’re coming here as an already-qualified pilot take note that it’s a busy site, many people fly recklessly, and those on launch doling out the free advice may simply be spectators rather than pilots, so don’t give in to their urgings just to please the crowd. The cry of “Go go go” is more often than not followed by a pratfall, but hey, the crowd loves it.
The site is very busy on weekends, especially Sundays and the area that can be soared may be quite small. Use your own judgment as whether or not to join the fray, and bear in mind that ridge rules are for reference only in the minds of many pilots.
The launch rates as Novice and requires guidance, and the beach LZ is properly rated as suitable for Novices, depending on how much driftwood is down there.

Other notes

Local pilots are generally quite friendly (though they have their cliques) and the launch area is relatively clean and unspoiled by onlookers. The local tandem pilots and their associated touts are quite aggressive in both marketing services and defending what they consider to be their turf. If you show up with a tandem glider you may be considered a threat to business and refused access. Weekends are of course much busier than weekdays, and Sunday afternoons are especially busy. There are frequent accidents, mid-air collisions, and near-misses involving the tandem pilots. You may take a look at this story about the current site owner before flying here, or considering sending your non-pilot friends to this operation. In most flying sites around the world we take it for granted that the local tandem pilots are the most experienced and wise people around, and that if they are flying it must be okay for us to fly. Taiwan, and Green Bay especially, is different.

How to get there

Green Bay is located on Taiwan’s north coast highway, about 10km northwest of Keelung City and about 25km from downtown Taipei. It takes about an hour to drive out from downtown Taipei, depending of course on the traffic. Weekends and holidays bring huge traffic volume to the coast road. There are buses from both Taipei and Keelung, though they aren’t that frequent.

Google Map

Pop out larger map

Current Weather at RCSS