Didem, Hasip and Gizem – paragliding pilots

Didem Irmak, Hasip Özhan and Gizem Ayhan – paragliding pilots from Izmir

We met Didem Irmak, Hasip Özhan and Gizem Ayhan during our preparations for the XC Paragliding Competition in Mut. They needed to travel a long distance from Izmir to arrive in Mut just for the weekend.

But for sure, as they want to learn from experienced pilots the future competitions will open couple of possibilities for them. We have taken the chance to talk to them, asking couple of questions, but let them better introduce themselves:

Didem Irmak - master student IR

My name is Didem Irmak, 24 years old and student of Master IR at the Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir. Couple of years ago I have joined the University Club for paragliding, because I was interested in flying at all. When I was able to do my first flight I had got a feeling like I have had never before. I was feeling like a bird, absolutely independent and free when passing mountains or just trees below me. Now, after 6 years of experience and head of the club in Izmir my favourites are take offs and landing at nice places. I enjoy to take off from different points, that’s why I like to come to Mut and Karaman for the competition. I have never been here before. And what I have learned so far, the citizens of Mut and Karaman are quite nice people, the surrounding is very natural and green, so to say a lovely place for flying. 
As Murat was asking to join XC Paragliding Competition as a guide and helper I was more then happy. I like the whole project of XC Paragliding Competition with the competition part, the Music on Air and the University challenge. As well I like to learn all the well known pilots from many different countries in the world. And I hope that we will be able to introduce the area so that more people will learn about this beautiful part of Turkey.

Para-travelling, Para-sightseeing, Para-waiting and PARAGLIDING 

I’m interested in paragliding since 2006. Before that I used to play volleyball. Also bike had always been my passion. However I must confess that paragliding has become my priority soon after the first flight. I started paragliding at the University club. (Things were going slowly at the club but I made wonderful friends from the club). I travelled a lot in order to fly from different places and had a lot of fun during the trips. Besides I joined many paragliding festivals (Kaş, Ölüdeniz, Bursa, Bolu, Manisa…). Also I spent a summer in Ölüdeniz as a photographer in a paragliding company (Reaction paragliding), that was the best summer ever because I could fly everyday over the hils, forest, sea… But the most difficult part for me is the end of the holidays. I really adjust very hardly to school/big city life after sun-sea-fly holidays…

It is not easy to describe the feeling of flying but I will try to explain it from my point of view. Flying is something you cannot get bored with. The enthusiasm never goes away (I feel butterflies in my stomach during the flight.). Also, usually I have trouble at focusing at one thing (for instance I cannot listen people carefully for a long time because many opinions start to blow up in  my mind) but when I fly, I never think about anything else; opinions, problems, homework are all so far away… Another interesting point, normally I hate waiting; I do not wait anything more than 15 minutes. But, I must admit that I am a victim of what we call “para-waiting”. Because of the weather conditions, I sometimes wait for lots of hours at take-off in order to fly. Para-waiting is unfortunately inevitable part of paragliding but if you have close friends with you, waiting can also be fun. Moreover there is always the probability of turning back with empty hands. (As Rolling Stones say “you cannot get always what you want” or as my friend Hasip says “Sometimes, it is better not to fly rather than to have a bad accident”).

As a last comment, I want to say that paragliding helps a lot for improving yourself both physically and mentally. I hope everyone can feel the taste of flying one day in his/her life.

Hasip Özhan – Money Bank Master

As a student of Dokuz Eylül University, I learned the Para gliders Club at Izmir University. I joined for training as a try until my first flight happened in 2005 from a hill about 30 meters high, then we tried 60 meters, then 100 meters. It is the schedule of the club to do the steps slowly. So there just have been 10 flights in my first year. Now, after 6 years of experience, but still learning, I have done more then 300 flights. For me, there is nothing comparable to flying. I am not thinking anything, once I have take off, just flying is in my mind.
When I arrived in Mut, I was really surprised of the green surrounding, so many historical places next to Mut – a place worth flying.

Gizem Aydin – Student of Medicals

I joined into the University Club as well about 4 years ago, learned to handle the Paraglider step by step and now after 4 years of experience I would like to start flying long distances. That’s why I came all the way from Izmir. I was little disappointed today, because there was bad flying condition in Mut. My friends in Izmir were talking about flights of more then 100 kilometres. But what can we do. We are depending on good weather conditions. Instead we have seen some really beautiful historical places and for flying, …..we need to come again. What we promise to do!

If there are any questions or hints, you can contact Didem Irmak, Hazip Özhan and Gizem Ayhan by the following mail addresses:

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Please read as well:

Karaman - The first day of XC Paragliding Tour

Tahtali - third and final leg of paragliding tour


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