The gliders can go up to 3,000-3,500 metres in the sky in these flights, which can be performed in many parts of Turkey.

There is a growing interest in aerial sports in Turkey; those who want to fly in the sky enjoy the view from tandem flights, which require no advanced training. For this reason, thousands of domestic and foreign visitors flow into paragliding centres in various parts of Turkey. Tourists who visit Oludeniz in Fethiye, Mugla province, often become addicted to paragliding after having a spectacular experience on their first try.

Fly Anatolia Flight School General Manager Sinan Tarakcı says more than 8,000 domestic and foreign visitors have experienced paragliding at the school. Tarakcı, who views the sky as his home, has so far performed more than 9,000 sorties, taking over 4,500 hours. Noting that they are at the service of those who want to defy gravity and enjoy freedom in the sky, Tarakcı also says they have faciliated flights for tourists and training purposes in various parts of Turkey, including Adapazarı, Tekirdag, Pamukkale, İstanbul and Oludeniz.

Paragliding trainer Tarakcı says there is no need to prepare before a tandem flight. Customers are briefed on the flights for five minutes; in the briefing, they are warned that they are supposed to run, not remain seated, during takeoff. In this way, they will synchronize their run with the pilot to avoid any possible accidents. After a safe takeoff, the only thing they need to do is sit back and enjoy the spectacular view.

Noting that paragliding is an extreme sport, Tarakcı says that accidents do happen, though rarely, if the pilot does not use the proper equipment or due to overconfidence, ignorance of the rules or low-quality training. A flight takes about 30 minutes, starting at an altitude of 1,700-2,000 meters. After takeoff, gliders can go up to 3,000-3,500 metres using hot air currents, and the customers can enjoy the view from there. Pilot Tarakcı says that flights are generally performed in Babadag, Oludeniz, Tahtalı, Kas, Alanya, Serdivan-Adapazarı, Boztepe-Ordu, Ali Dagı-Kayseri, Mercimek Tepe-Tokat, Ucmakdere-Tekirdag, Oren-Mugla and Catalca Ormanlı.

Tarakcı, noting that he has been supervising flights for 19 years, has encountered a number of interesting incidents. Recalling a British couple who celebrated their 50th anniversary in the sky, Tarakcı also recalled a young European proposing to his girlfriend over the radio during one flight. The experienced pilot, who says he does not receive unusual demands from tourists, mentioned that some weird questions had been raised, particularly regarding whether they would land in the sea. Some tourists have asked to extend the length of their flights. Tarakcı noted that many who experience the flight want to do the same thing again, adding that visitors often strongly recommend the experience, which should be performed by everyone in their lifetime.

There are nearly 20 private paragliding training schools, and 10 Turkish universities have paragliding clubs. In addition, there are 4,000 “single” and 250 “tandem” pilots, who perform paired flights. Noting that there is growing interest in paragliding in Turkey, Tarakcı says that paragliding is the least expensive kind of aerial transportation. It is possible to buy a single paragliding parachute for 3,000 euros, and Tarakcı adds that such a parachute can be used for four to five years. Tarakcı also notes that second-hand equipment can be bought for TL 2,500-2,700.



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