The 16th International Airgames 20th – 24th October 2015


Don’t miss this – the season isn’t over yet! Next Tuesday see’s the start of the 16th International Airgames to be held in Oludeniz, Fethiye.

International Airgames
Photo of take-off by Chris Parfitt via Flickr

Those that have visited Oludeniz will know that it is one of the few places on earth where you can be as lazy or as crazy as you want. If sipping a beer or fancy cocktail in a beach bar is your thing, there’s plenty of options. Simply want to soak up the sun on the beach? Oludeniz has it covered. Fancy paragliding off a 6,460ft (1,969m) tall mountain in the hands of a tandem pilot? Want to capture that picture perfect shot of Oludeniz from the air or to Facebook some selfie photos of your feet floating over the famous lagoon? Well what are you waiting for? As Nike would say and our lead picture suggests…”Just Do It!” Get yourself to Oludeniz and sign up with one of the tandem paragliding companies to enjoy a true adrenaline rush. Failing that, simply head down the beach next week and watch the expert acro pilots at work pulling their stunts above you on the main Oludeniz Belcekiz beach.

The paragliding scene in Oludeniz has evolved over many years. The early nineties saw some of the first paragliders venture up Babadag mountain, soon followed by the first tandem paragliding companies starting to appear. I know from personal experience, pre 2000 the road up the mountain was by far the scariest part of the adventure. The dust and rubble dirt track scaling the mountain, the sheer drops and hair-pin bends, really got your heart going. The tandem flight itself was far more relaxing unless you opted to get to the beach quicker and enjoy a little acrobatics on the way down. One thing was for sure though, the views across the stunning turquoise bay were, and still are, breathtaking. The area and the conditions perfect for the sport so it was inevitable that paragliding would evolve and progress in the area. Oludeniz today is renowned the world over for paragliding. The yearly Oludeniz International Airgames celebrates just that.

International Airgames
Tandem Paragliding by Chris Parfit via Flickr

As reported in The Paraglider, “the flying scene in Babadag Oludeniz has seen a few changes over recent years”. It is now a far safer and more organised sport for solo pilots, tandems and spectators to enjoy in the area. Improvements have included:

  • Paved road up the mountain to all Babadag take-offs
  • 1,700m main take-off is now fully paved with a rescue station and ambulance on site
  • Air ambulances are on call from Dalaman Airport
  • New take off built at 1,200m for when the top is in cloud
  • Restaurant/cafe at the summit

According to The Paraglider in a report last November, it was Kadri Tuglu who originally founded and organised the event up until recently (2015 sees it run by Fethiye Development Foundation FETAV).  He set it up originally as “there was no regular event for the town and the area so I proposed this to officials and it was accepted”. The four day event is now celebrating it’s 16th year and attracts some of the best aerial sports professionals and enthusiasts from around the world. The show is one of the few events in the area that has run consistently with little interruption (other than the weather). It has become so popular that it now almost marks the end of tourist season in Oludeniz. It attracts the last influx of tourists to the bay with many of the beach bars and restaurants closing at the end of October, soon after the event finishes.

Due to the recent bombing in Ankara, the events Facebook site has announced that this year the show will be “more sportive than entertainment”. Unfortunately the Turkish Stars (Turkey’s equivalent of the Red Arrows) does not appear to be attending. The organisers are however expecting more than 300 paragliders from more than 40 counties to join skydivers, base jumpers, birdmen, acro experts and paramotorists.

If you are in the area next week, do make sure you pop down the beach and check out what’s going on. Oceanwide Properties News did want to publish the official itinerary of events but unfortunately it seems hard to come by. We have checked the official website, Facebook and called FETAV, even Googled but to little avail. If last events are anything to go by, pilots are in the air from early morning. Many of the bigger acro shows tend to be in the afternoon up to sunset. There are normally a few stands on the beach selling various merchandise and paragliding stalls will probably know more about the official timings.

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