Changping Things to Do
It's in the middle of nowhere, it's hard to find, it's 60km from Beijing, and there's precious little to eat or drink once you get there, but if you like old planes, rockets and helicopters then the Chinese Aviation Museum is the place to go.
This mainly outdoor museum has simply hundreds of aircraft on display, from a working replica of the Wright Brothers first aeroplane right through to the 1970s Tridents, Il-62s and assorted fighter jets.
Nothing modern, and not much feel for Chinese aviation - everything has been copied from everyone else.
Chairman Mao's personal Il-18 can be boarded for 5 RMB more, as can the Orbis DC-8 flying eye hospital (no idea if any of the money collected here actually goes to Orbis though). Mao's plane has a bed, meeting room but otherwise looks pretty normal for a 1950s Russian-made aircraft.
A huge Be-2 amphibious plane is poised over a small lake, but as you head past one hanger you come upon row after row after row of decaying aircraft, each labelled in English and Chinese. A further Trident and the fuselage of yet another lie at one end of the back row.
One of the most interesting features is the huge underground hangar where there is - again - a seemingly endless line of vintage fighters and smaller aircraft, including the plane from which Zhou Enlai's ashes were scattered.
At the far end of the hangar is a rather well preserved Viscount...ah....now I remember these from the 1980s flying from Aberdeen to Lerwick! Next to it was a rather rough looking Tupolev 124, and I also remember these from a few flights in Romania back in the early 1980s.
Now if you are looking for the runway on which all these planes arrived, you won't find it! There isn't one here.
Every plane came in the way you did, through the front gate. If you feel that the last kilometre of approach road is a bit wide....it is. It is wide enough for an aircraft to be taxied from the end of the runway at the nearby Changping Airbase 4.5km to the south-west right up to the hanger under the mountain!