Tahtalı – Third and final leg of paragliding contest

Tahtalı – Third and final leg of paragliding contest

We went back home for a short while, uploaded the latest on XC paragliding competition Turkey second phase to Alaturka website and hit the road on Thursday night. The next target of XC paragliding competition Turkey was Tekirova near Kemer in Antalya region.

The organizer, in cooperation with the Director of Olympos Cableway Company, had chosen Tahtalı Mountain (elv. 2365 meters) as the take off location. 

We dropped by the hotel the pilots stayed in Tekirova. This early Friday morning, a coach picked us all up without delays and took us to the base station of cableway. We had anxiously observed the cloud screen covering the peak. Unlike Karaman and Beyşehir, no specific take off point, where pilots could decide to take off in accordance with the direction of dominant winds, had been determined.

We wondered if take off would be possible at the peak at all. Special permission was obtained for xc contest but there is no safe take off runway at Tahtalı as yet. However, the organizer of contest plans to build a take off runway on Tahtalı Mountain in 2010 – 2011, which will make it possible to organize single and tandem flights. Thus it will be possible to enjoy the breathtaking atmosphere and glide away like birds at 2365 meters altitude and land on the shores of Tekirova.

Despite the dense fog, the field of vision we had through the cable car window revealed a sweeping panorama. Sporadic views of parts of shore line, superb coves and gulets lazing about over the blue waters were just some of what we could observe. Tahtalı Mountain has an impressive 2.365 meter elevation and provides a 360 degree view of Uyluk Hill near Finike and Gömbe. One can even spot Kemer and Antalya region at the horizon. 

Once we reached the peak, the view was disconcerting for we had traveled through a dense and cold front of clouds. The clouds cleared just below the peak. Of course, the pilots were visibly disappointed because flying through clouds entail great, and I mean extreme risks which even the most experienced flyer takes seriously. Fatal consequences could arise in the event of failure of satellite navigation and sometimes, even the compasses are no help at all. As a result of the situation, our first day at Tahtalı Mountain was spent literally in accordance with the principle of “wait and drink tea”. As there was no change in the situation about midday, the pilots decided to have a go the next day. We were to start off at early hours the next morning.

Remaining of the day was spent on a short excursion to Adrasan to discover the opportunities for swimming and suitable beaches. Adrasan is a charming place with its dark colored beaches, turquoise colored sea and tranquil settings. There are almost no tourists! We wonder if this place was just as serene in mid season. Our excursion continued towards Olympos and Çıralı and we had a rest at the location of Chimera flames. We must warn you that the stairs leading up are very steep and some may find it difficult to climb. However, once you are there, the eerie view of flames sprouting out of the ground at dusk are well worth the effort. We considered ourselves lucky because there were almost no tourists. So we were able to relax and take photographs.

We took off for Tahtalı the next morning at 7 am. Although the clouds around the peak had cleared by 16.00 pm the previous day, we could see that they were slowly gathering again. If we were fast enough in reaching the peak, flying could be possible. Strong and cold winds greeted us at the peak. Pal Takats was one with the courage to fly in this weather, quickly taking off from the shady side of the peak. The clouds were gathering even faster and our field of vision covering the shoreline was gradually disappearing. Pal had made all his preparations when climbing up in the cable car and immediately took a start. Two crew members held his small “Acro” parachute (only 17 m2) and off he flew. After a few acrobatic maneuvers, he disappeared in the horizon towards the clearer space of Finike. The wind was gathering even more speed and couple of attempts by other pilots failed. The most important reason for the failed attempts was the normal parachute dimensions of over 20 m2. After a brief discussion, the group was divided into two: Some decided to stay on the mountain and yet some felt that the beach was a better alternative. So there was not going to be any more attempts at a long flight and it was decided that the flights at Beyşehir would be considered to be the finale of XC Turkey contest. As we were returning from our beach excursion, there appeared above in the sky the pilots Mustafa Ulutaş and Chris Arnu, peacefully flowing in air. Apparently, the weather had cleared by 15.00 pm. Surely, patience is a virtue and most of the time he who is patient turns out to be right.

The finale of the event was held at 16.00 pm. with the participation of all pilots, officials from Karaman, Beyşehir and Olympos regions at an award ceremony. Winners were presented with their awards at the five star Rixos Hotel at Tekirova. Murat Çakmak, the organizer expressed his appreciation for the participation by the pilots and the generous support to the project by the officials. The overall winner was Trian Gkikopoulos with his 184,2 kilometers of flight, the longest in the contest (total 236,3 kilometers), runner up award was given to Pal Takats with his 141,7 kilometer flight (total 225,8 kilometers) and the third place went to Dmitriy Chernyak with his 104,2 kilometers of flight ( total 217,5 kilometers). 

The pilots of course were grateful to Murat for his successful organization of XCTurkey and were sincere in their complements about their new and many experiences in Turkey, which they said they will make use of in terms of paragliding activities in the future. 

All for now from paragliding event in Turkey 2010.

Please read as well:

Exploration - Paragliding at Struga Lake Ohrid

Paragliding Take-Off in Omis - Paragliding Festival 2016


Life | Outdoors