One of the trendiest and most action-packed sports right now is paragliding. The history of the sport dates back to the early 50’s and after continuous improvements and modifications the popularity of the sport grew. In 1987 the first Paragliding World Championship was held in Verbier, Switzerland.
While the sport is strongest in Europe, particularly in France, paragliding has also acquired a growing following in Turkey and dozens of paragliding sites. One of the major sites for paragliding in Turkey is in Fethiye.
Paragliding is considered an adventure sport, meaning that it has a higher level of inherent danger than regular sports. The paragliders don’t weigh much, the paragliders fly free, and launch their glider aircrafts by foot. Once launched, depending on conditions and skill, the paraglider can continue flying for hours and cover tens of kilometers. The world record is currently held by Will Gadd whose flight lasted for 263 miles.
Paragliding isn’t to be confused with hang-gliding. As opposed to hang-gliders paragliders lack an internal frame and are made of soft fabric. They are easy to fold into a small bag and the sport is easier to learn than hang-gliding. On the other hand, hang-gliders can fly at greater speed.
Neither should paragliding be confused with parasailing. The latter means being towed by a boat on the sea or on a lake, while certainly fun it can’t compare to paragliding since in parasailing you don’t make it higher than a few hundred feet and you don’t need to learn any special skills. Paragliders on the other hand are called pilots which emphasises the skills necessary.
Paragliding may seem like a dangerous sport, but it is in fact one of the safest airborne sports. Besides being equipped with a reserve parachute, at least 30 lines connect you to the wing, each and everyone of them is strong enough to carry your entire weight.
Paragliding in Fethiye
In Ölüdeniz (=Blue Lagoon), Fethiye, and throughout the region conditions are more or less ideal for paragliding. Since wind conditions are good, thermals reach up to 4000 meters ASL and the fantastic scenery of the Taurus mountains and the Mediterranean coast, Fethiye has become an attractive option for paragliders, advanced and beginners alike. For the beginner there are options of courses for those who wish to learn, or tandem paragliding with an experienced instructor pilot who can take you from 6000 feet and fly over the mountains of Fethiye and the Mediterranean coast.