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Paragliding in Turkey

Paragliding in Turkey
Paragliding is a recreational and competitive sport using lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched parachutes that have no rigid primary structure and you take-off by running down a steep incline on a high hill until the canopy lifts you into the air. The pilot is supported beneath the canopy by a network of suspension lines attached to a harness and the lines enable the pilot to steer.
Flights can last for many hours and cover a great distance but 1-2 hours is the norm and by steering the glider using air pressure and wind it can reach altitudes of 2000 metres. Paragliding equipment is fully portable, packs into a rucksack and easily carried which has helped in its popularity.

Paragliding in Turkey really began in 1990s with European pilots starting university clubs in the Mount Baba Fethiye and Oludeniz (Blue Lagoon) regions. It quickly became popular as an economical and a natural sport that doesn’t require a great deal of skill or effort and most people can start enjoying it after some basic training. There are many different clubs that offer training organised by the Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK), university and private clubs.

Paragliding Areas in Turkey

Paragliding  Fethiye OLUDENIZ

Mount Baba is 1969m high, sits in Fethiye in the province of Mugla 7km from the coastline. This is probably one of the best places to experience your first flight, where you can glide from the mountain to the beach of Ölüdeniz taking in the stunning views and coming into a soft landing. Oludeniz is the first place that paragliding took place in Turkey and is now world renowned attracting many national and foreign tourists every year to its sun drenched beaches, beautiful natural environments and offers everything a tourist requires. There are a total of three runways in Mount Baba; the South Runway at 1700m has the south wind nearly all day and is the most popular place to take off as it has a wide runway that can take up to 20 wings at the same time. The North Runway at 1800m is fairly small and upright and the Runway at 1900m is good. In ideal conditions experienced pilots can stay aloft for up to 5 hours. The Landing Runway at Belcekız Beach is long, wide and safe. The flight season here runs from April to October and during summer months the weather is usually stable. Some mornings from the North Runway the north wind will take you into the valley and the south winds from the South Runway make it accessible all day long. During the start and end of seasons the weather can change very quickly with cloud descending on the runway areas and the South Runway up until midday can get a west wind which creates a false south wind and can misleads pilots. Mount Baba is also popular for trekking and camping both in summer and winter, is accessible by road from Ölüdeniz and takes around 45 minutes to reach the first runway. The annual Air Games week is held here in October.

Paragliding in DENIZLI & PAMUKKALE

Paragliding in Ankara – GÖLBAŞI

Paragliding in BOLU – ABANT

The Abant Mountains are 34km south of Bolu’s city centre can be easily reached by road and have minibuses from the city centre to Abant Lake, a popular resort and picnic place. The surrounding area is dense rain forest with rich plant life attracting many visitors in summer and winter offering all the appropriate tourist amenities. The Take-off Runways are on the hills surrounding the Örencik Plateau which is near the lake and a wide plain with the whole area covered in grass.

Paragliding in EĞIRDIR ISPARTA

With transport links from Isparta 60km away Egirdir Lake and Island offer various tourist activities and has good hills for paragliding. The aerial club of the Suleyman Demirel University offer training flights from here.

Paragliding in KAYSERI

Ali Mountain is a 15 minute drive from Kayseri city centre and is in the beautiful region of Cappadocia . The area sees thousands of tourists every year not just for paragliding but also skiing and cycling. There are two Take-off Runways; one at 600m with south winds and the other at 750m with north winds. The hill has a steep and smooth inclination and offers hours of flying but turbulence can occur here. The Landing Runways are at the front of the hill and easily reached and training flights can be arranged through The Civil Aviation VIHE.

Paragliding in ESKISEHIR İNÖNÜ

15km west of Eskisehir in the İnönü Province is the Turkish Aviation Organisation who offers facilities and organises courses on the north facing slopes of the province that have great flight conditions especially from the north wind in the summer months.

Paragliding in  Antalya AKSU

Aksu Hill in the Aksu Province is the high training hill used by the aviation club of Akdeniz University and accessible by road about 15km away. There is an irrigation channel that should be taken into account during the flight and when landing.

PHYSICAL CONDITIONS FOR PARAGLIDING

The age limit is from 16 to 55 with a minimum weight of 40kg and maximum 130kg. If you suffer from epilepsy, asthma, heart problems, hip and knee disorders you cannot participate in the sport. When you take up the sport you will complete a form declaring all health conditions.

PARACHUTE TYPES

Parachutes (wings) come in different types and sizes according to the weight of the pilot and the type of flight being taken; for example a parachute used by lighter pilot is smaller in size than for a heavier pilot. There are 5 different types that can be used and this depends on training and experience.

WING STRUCTURE

Paragliding is composed of 4 parts; Canopy (Dome); Hook & Break Ropes; Supporting Columns and Harness Equipment. The most basic parachute consists of 5 or so cells between an upper and a lower sail surface and is called the canopy; this can rise to 40-60 cells depending on the weight of a pilot and the types of flights being taken. These cells are open at the front and air is forced in keeping the wing inflated during flight. The cells are connected to each other with valves for maintaining air pressure. The canopy’s underside is connected by a number of lines that lead down to two risers connected to the harness worn by the pilot and one riser is attached to the harness above each shoulder of the pilot. A couple of toggles are connected to steering lines and the pilot pulls on these to steer the canopy left or right as it glides down. Hook and break ropes are made with a very strong lightweight material to support the pilot and are in different colours. The lines supporting the pilot underneath the wing have undergone many modifications by designers to reduce their width. This in turn counteracts air resistance and as they are connected together in a certain way this helps hold the shape of the wing allowing precise control and to move through the air with ease. Supporting columns connect the dome ropes to the equipment and hold the pilot in place to help make take-off easier.  The Harness Equipment is where the pilot sits and has the connections for speed, a back protector, air bag and on more developed harnesses a spare parachute. All harnesses can be modified to each individual pilot.

Meteorological Information

Weather conditions are the foremost important factor for safety whilst participating in any air sports and basic meteorological information is required particularly for paragliding. The wind direction and strength, cloud shapes, turbulence and thermals all have to be considered before take-off. Turbulence is caused from a swirling motion of the atmosphere that interrupts the flow of wind and thermals are formed with the rise of warm air usually over rocky, forest, sea, river and lake regions and also asphalt and agricultural areas.  

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