Kaş Paragliding Club Flight Company Tandem Flying Sites Prices Cost

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    • Kas, Turkey

Kaş Paragliding Club Flight Company Tandem Flying Sites Prices Cost Turkey

Eat, drink, sleep, paraglide - repeat daily. That is my prescription for the perfect vacation. Ölüdeniz is still my favorite place on earth, but after 80 flights from Babadağ over the past five years, Mike and I decided that we should check out other flying sites in southwestern Turkey.

In September 2001, we learned that two of our good friends from Sky Sports (the premier paragliding company in Ölüdeniz) had set up a shop in Kaş (rhymes with posh). Assured of transportation to and from the flying site, and local knowledge of both the flying and the extracurricular activities, we rented a car and drove to Kaş.

Kaş is a charming town in the “Turkish Rivera.” It lies between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Unlike Ölüdeniz, a beach resort that is only open during the summer months, Kaş has its own economy and is open year-round.

It has a busy little harbor filled with fishing boats, gullets and yachts. It offers excellent sailing and is famous for it’s diving. The beaches are all on the outskirts of town, and they tend to be small and pebbly, but there are many fascinating day trips that you can make from Kaş.

Formerly Antiphellos (“phellos” is the Greek word for stony place), Kaş was founded 2,500 years ago and ancient Lycian rock tombs, sarcophagi and an amphitheater (a great thermal-trigger, by the way) remain. You can meander through the palm lined streets of Kaş, stopping to look at the historic houses with their Ottoman wooden balconies and checking out the shops with souvenirs, handicrafts, leather goods, copper and silver items, cotton clothing, spices and, of course, handmade carpets. There are a number of excellent restaurants, specializing in seafood and Turkish cuisine, as well as moderately priced hotels and inexpensive and accommodating pensions (we paid about $11 for a clean and quiet room for two, with a private bath and breakfast). They have a lively nightlife (bars and discos) during the summer tourist season.

It takes about an hour and a half to drive from Ölüdeniz to Kaş. The two closest airports are in Dalaman (150 kilometers) and Antalya (190 kilometers). Rental cars can be expensive, ranging from $30- $80 per day, but buses are an inexpensive and convenient alternative to driving. It is not difficult to arrange for an inexpensive chase vehicle and driver, if you are committed to going cross-country.

Although Kaş’ history goes back to the 6th century B.C., the history of paragliding in Kaş has only recently been written. Arif Buhara and Arslan Ozturkmen ran the first paragliding business in Kaş. Originally a skydiver, Arif was on the national skydiving team for two years before discovering paragliding. He has more than 1,000 jumps and over 2,500 paragliding flights. He won first place in the Ölüdeniz Air Games aerobatic competition in 2000 and he took third place in 2001. Arslan also got his start in skydiving. Like other pioneers of paragliding, Arslan first tried to fly by foot launching his skydiving parachute. He and a couple of his friends taught themselves to fly paragliders in 1990. Arslan has around 600 jumps and nearly 4,500 paragliding flights (2,500 hours of solo and tandem airtime).
The Governor and the Mayor of the province, along with a few other notables, became interested in setting up a paragliding operation as a tourist attraction in Kaş. In October of 2000, they contacted Arif and Arslan, who jumped at the chance to start a business there. Arslan recalls, “Like an arrow just out of the bow… fast and to the target. It was so important for us to start flying in Kaş, because of our big love of flying. And it was nice to have one more flying site on Mediterranean coastline. I am glad that we worked for it. Correct people at the correct time.” The guys scouted for possible launches and LZs and began taking test flights. They knew that the site had great potential, but they would need a road to get to launch. The local government not only agreed to build the road, but they also cleared the launch area. Arif and Arslan recruited a team of skilled and experienced tandem pilots and, during their first season in the summer of 2001, they made almost 1,000 commercial tandem flights. This year, the government will expand the 1,000-meter launch, build another launch at 600 meters and pave the road.

The launch has 180° of cleared and graded terrain at the top of Asaz Mountain, facing south to the sea. From launch, you have a magnificent view of the Greek island of Meis (Kastellorizon). The tandem pilots land on the jetty in town, making their approach over the tall masts of the moored yachts and dropping onto a landing mat, just short of the concrete seawall. The solo pilot’s LZ is a long concrete quay, just past the main part of town.

The summers in Kaş are hot and dry and pilots enjoy consistent flying conditions between May and October. With approximately 300 days of sunshine each year, there is the potential for great soaring and XC flights. Arslan began taking solo pilots to Kaş for XC trips in 1994. Over the years, pilots launching from Kaş have reached altitudes of 2,400 meters and have had flights that have lasted up to seven hours and 155 kilometers in distance. Keep in mind that they have only just begun to develop this site.

Arif and Arslan’s primary missions were to fly for their own personal enjoyment, but they also enjoyed sharing the experience with others and they worked hard to advance at the sport. Although they had a successful commercial tandem business, earning money in paragliding was not their principal goal. They believed that paragliding is important to Turkey and they had high hopes for the future of paragliding in their country. But they experienced growing pains, early on. Arslan reflects, “Our biggest problem is that we didn't have a paragliding federation in Turkey. This caused a lot of problems for paragliding professionals.” Just like in the early days of paragliding everywhere, they witnessed inferior instruction, which lead to hazardous flying. They worked diligently to improve the situation, got ideas from pilots in other countries and worked to establish a paragliding federation in Turkey.

There are more XC routes still waiting to be discovered from Kaş and there are many other great flying sites to discover elsewhere in Turkey. The Turks are known for their generosity and hospitality and the locals usually put out the welcome mat for visiting pilots. There is a saying in Turkey, “A guest is God’s gift.” If you are looking for fun flying, and you want to avoid the crowds, high prices and unreliable weather in Europe, check out Turkey. But beware; your first trip probably won’t be your last.

Published date: August 25, 2018 Modified date: December 31, 2019 Publisher / Owner : Things to Do Attractions Events

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