It was a record breaking year for paragliding at the popular Turkish holiday resort of Oludeniz with the number of launches breaking estimates and incidents of injury reduced thanks to new safety measures.
Oludeniz is famed for its wonderful paragliding with the spectacular and unique mountain to beach flight.
The 1,900 meter jump from the top of the imposing Babadag mountain to the beach at Becekiz is exhilarating; just ask anyone who has tried it.
Fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and azure sea below make it a real must do activity for anyone going on holiday to Fethiye, Hisaronu or Oludeniz.
Oludeniz is also a centre for the global paragliding community.
It hosts an annual Air Fest at the end of October each year that attracts paragliding pilots from all over the world for a week of aerial delights and fun.
Babadag Paragliding Breaks New Record
There was some encouraging news for the tourism and paragliding community last week when figures released showed that there were 75,000 launches from the Babadag mountain during 2013 smashing the estimate of 65,000.
Those 75,000 launches carried 130,000 people showing that the majority of flights were tandem flights.
Last year 62,000 launches took place and in 2011 57,000 launches.
No Longer a Leap of Faith
The year also saw a welcome reduction in paragliding incidents – injuries and crashes – with 19 incidents and one death of a 50 year old Norwegian solo pilot Owind Halvorsen.
18 of the incidents involved solo pilots and many of those incidents were reported in FethiyeTimes.com
In 2012 there were 25 incidents, all of them involving solo pilots and none resulting in loss of life.
The reduction in incidents is attributed to new safety measures implemented for 2013.
Tandem paragliding pilots are now required to be licensed and to hold a pilot certificate.
Those licensed pilots are also restricted to making just 5 flights a day to prevent accidents caused by pilot fatigue.
Alcohol checks are performed at the launch sites to prevent drink flyers.
Weather checks can result in the closure of the launch sites
Launch Site and Road Improvements
The trip up the mountain has always been part of the thrill of the whole experience.
Trucks loaded with people snake their way up the switchback road while tandem pilots tease each other and perform for the tourists.
In recent years the unmade roads have been surfaced, launch sites paved, a restaurant built and places built for medical teams to station themselves.
Those works are continuing and last week the Trade Chamber Chairman Akif Arıcan gave an update to the local press on the works.
He was quoted as saying that the road to the 800m launch site will open in the next few days followed by the road to the 1,200m launch site in early 2014.
The Only Way is Up
Oludeniz Mayor Yılmaz Keramettin commented on the figures in the local press. He said welcomed the figures and said the aim was for zero incidents.
He said safety is getting better because of the controls implemented.
And next year’s target is…………….80,000 jumps.