• Is paragliding safe in Turkey in 2019?

Posted by isturkeysafe

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Last Update : Monday, July 22, 2019


To start with the definitions, as written on Wikipedia; -Paragliding is the adventure sport of flying paragliders: lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure-. Tandem paragliding is the one where paragliders designed to carry the pilot and a passenger are used.
How widespread is paragliding in Turkey? There are thousands of licensed paragliders in Turkey. Oludeniz-Babadag(1970m), located in Fethiye, is regarded as one of the best jumping points of the world. In addition to this, paragliding is widely practiced in many regions such as Kas, Erzincan, Milas, Alanya, Denizli, Aksaray, Mersin, Erzurum; national and international championships are being organized annually.

Is it safe to paraglide in Turkey? It's quite safe if you obey the rules strictly. 'Aviation laws are written in blood.' Although this discourse is mostly used for airplanes, the situation is the same for paragliding. Paragliding requires strict adherence to rules. It is a very secure form of sport when the rules are followed, but there are still accidents since the human error cannot be totally eliminated. Fatal paragliding accidents rates are similar to fatal traffic accidents rates, this indicates paragliding to be a bit of a dangerous sport. Tens of thousands of tandem paragliding flights are carried out in Oludeniz Babadag every year; despite all the precautions taken, a few incidents with casualties are happening.
Skill, knowledge and experience are decisive factors for safe paragliding. Skill is important for paragliding, as it is for many sports, but it can be dangerous when it comes to being more self-confident. Particularly for an activity in which the weather is so decisive, no matter how confident you are, no paragliding should ever be done if the weather is not suitable for it (so it would be better to try it when sun shines on your face without any wind). In Oludeniz, the weather is controlled by pilots and company experts before all flights; if there is a situation that can create danger, flight is canceled. Even though tandem flight is a commercial activity, since the tandem pilot will fly with you, a pilot in Oludeniz doesn't give you a chance to risk his life for any cost even if you insisted to fly on an inappropriate weather condition.

Knowledge and experience are also critical, tandem pilots in Oludeniz (and all other Tandem paragliding regions in Turkey) are licensed by the Turkish Aeronautical Association after a few months of training, so they can be considered as sufficient knowledge and experience. Before you go for a tandem paragliding, you may question your pilot's license and experience on field (in the sky).
Children and heavy adults from a certain weight (generally 100kg) are not admitted to paragliding in Oludeniz due to safety restrictions. In order to ensure the continuity of security, the local authorities publish regulations like that for paragliding in Oludeniz periodically. Within this scope, daily flight numbers of the pilots are limited, and take-off and flight routes to be followed throughout the flight are also determined. In line with these measures, the number of accidents in this region has decreased significantly in recent years.
When research is done with safety concerns, the first thing to look at is accidents. When looking with this view, accident news can be observed and anxiety level can be increased. However, the issue that should be considered here is the frequency of accidents in Turkey on this issue. Focusing on a single accident is sometimes is similar to create an airplane fear by tracking the Air Crash Investigation series, and it is not true. The possibility of a traffic accident on the way to Babadag have a statistically higher risk than a paragliding accident.
To summarize shortly, if you do not have fear of heights and you love extreme sports, paragliding is an activity that must be experienced in Turkey, especially in Oludeniz. It is as safe as a road trip in Oludeniz, so it is worth to try.
27.04.2019 Update
While talking about good statistics throughout the article, it is necessary not to miss the sad events. 2019 unfortunately did not start well in the matter of paragliding in Oludeniz. In a few weeks, 3 fatal accidents occurred in Oludeniz during paragliding. On April 15, the pilot and passenger died as a result of the parachute falling due to the weather conditions(Click for details). While the shock of this incident has not yet been overcome, two accidents happened at 27th April. A solo paraglider was dead while the another solo paraglider was wounded on these accidents.
22.07.2019 Update
Even though the season started sad as a result of the accidents above, it is progressing without any problems. After April, there were no accidents causing casualties.

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