If you’re in Fethiye at the moment make sure you head along to Oludeniz Belcekiz beach for the 17th Fethiye Oludeniz Airgames running this week from tomorrow through to Saturday.
The season isn’t over yet and airgames officials are expecting a great turnout of pilots and spectators for this popular annual event. Those that know the area will already be aware of Oludeniz as a popular paragliding destination. Head to the bay and you can’t help but spot the paragliders flying like birds across the skyline throughout the year and landing in the resort centre, right on the beach front. The Fethiye Oludeniz Airgames, now in it’s 17th year, takes the sport to a whole new level. Taking off from Babadag mountain towering 1700 meters above the resort, acro-pilots take to the sky pulling some terrific (and terrifying) aerial stunts. Alongside tandem and solo paragliding shows, skydivers, birdmen, base-jumpers, para-motors, microlights and hang-gliders all play their part during the 5 day event.
Paragliding in Oludeniz.
The paragliding scene in Oludeniz has evolved over many years. The early nineties saw some of the first paragliders venture up Babadag mountain, followed soon after by the first tandem paragliding companies starting to appear in the nearby resorts. Pre 2000 the road up the mountain was simply a dirt and rubble track often considered the scariest part of a tandem experience by many brave enough to venture up for the ride. The hair-pin bends and sheer drops could only be navigated by a decent 4-wheel drive and were certainly not for the faint hearted. The tandem flight itself was far more relaxing, taking photos of your feet floating thousands of meters above the famous blue lagoon was really something to write home about – and if you opted to get to the beach quicker and enjoy a little acrobatics on the way down, the adrenaline kick was hard to top.
Today a paved and widened road leads up the mountain and even the local dolmus (bus service) offers a regular summer service. The take-off is cleared and paved and there’s a lovely restaurant offering the regions most spectacular views right at the summit. The area and the conditions are perfect for the sport so it was inevitable that paragliding would evolve and progress in the area. Oludeniz and Babadag mountain has rightly become renowned the world over for paragliding and this yearly event celebrates just that.
This years events take place in Oludeniz, Fethiye and Gocek.
Traditionally, the majority of the Oludeniz Airgames event has centered around the main beach (Belcekiz). Stalls selling merchandise, paragliding kit, music and the commentators are spread along the beach infront of Cloud 9 restaurant with the beach or sea front bars offering a great vantage point for spectators. This year the organisers, Fethiye Municipality, are also holding supporting events in central Fethiye’s Beskaza Square, and also in Gocek.
Fun and games start tomorrow at 11am.
If you fancy heading along to the Oludeniz Airgames for a look around, events are expected to start around 11am tomorrow. Activities will run throughout the day and evening until Saturday.
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Photo credit: Phillipe at Flickr