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Return to Olu Deniz (after 15 years )

Filed under: Flying in Turkey — Alan @ 12:11 am

Summer holiday this year consisted of a week camping on north west coast of scotland

( Fort William & Gairloch – wester Ross ) followed by a inpromptu return to Turkey and Mount Babadag.

We had spent a family holiday there in 1992 and while sitting supping a beer at a beach side bar in Olu Deniz

a strange object dropped from the sky and crashed through a parasol just in front of us. It turned out to be a strange UFO which inaptly named at the time was a para”glider”. I turned to my wife and said ” I gotta try that “. And did , taking the opportunity to tandem from the 6000 ft mountain costing 60 squids.

Returning 15 years later, again as a family I brought along my paragliding gear. I decided that I would fit 2 or three Babadag trips around other family activities.

Very little has appeared to changed in this time . A few more paragliding organisations for tandem flights have appeared and the method of getting to the top has been improved upon,  now using trucks designed for off road driving

( trip used to consist of cramming into a 2 wheel  drive mini bus and sitting on the dash board to get enough traction at certain points to get to the top ).

Incidentally the cost of a tandem has not increased. ( still 55 – 60 pounds if booked direct  at agent ).

Anyways –

I had 3 flights during my stay with the first being from what I believe to be a new-ish launch site

nearer the top of the mountain. ( top photo ). This has A SLIGHTLY more ” COMMITTED ” Launch aspect compared with the lower original site –  steeper / shorter and In addition it’s rockier under foot.

 Wind Conditions were very light and  run off’s seemed to be the order of the day .

  Having previously spent time doing zero – 1 knot reverse launch training with Murray I felt confident that I would not have too much difficulty in launching . BUT still felt apprehensive due to the new site plus the volume of tandem pilots laying out, lining up and launching. I decided to find my own little spot away from the masses , laying out  and checking my kit.

   Once clipped in I did a couple of inflations which indicated that the wind although at ground level was approx zero at wing height was enough to boost confidence. With no thermals and no significant wind changes expected I launched when ready taking a right beat away from the tandem launchers. Flight was as expected , 30 mins with no events, thermals or ridge lift.

Olu Deniz

Second and third flights were from the lower launch site which I much prefered being less rocky underfoot with a gradual slope for launch . During my second flight ( at approx 3 pm ) I was hoping that the conditions would be thermic having witnesses a couple of pilots achieving significant height above launch an hout earlier . This was after a phase where towering cumulus seemed to kick-off in and around the mountain tops. ( happened quite often around 2 pm. ). No joy other than a couple of small thyermals which extended my flight to approx 45 mins. I also took the opportunity to do spirals and wingovers. Third flight was similar again but later on in the day @ 6-ish . This did surprise me , the wind on top had picked up to around 7-8 kts giving good soaring conditions and unlike the the tandems I took the opertunity to use it . Unexpectedly the thermals were also kicking in . I put this down to the change in temperature with the low level air and ground still retaining heat but the air temp in and around 6000 ft had dropped considerably over the last 2 hours. I hung around ridge soaring for 30 mins then headed out down to land and meet with the wife and son for a bite to each down at Olu Deniz .

perfect finish to a good flight , food and beer in good company 🙂

To finish I would certainly recommend Olu Deniz as a place to visit either for flying or a holiday , OR BOTH.

we personally stayed in Hisaronu 3 miles inland which is livelier than Olu Deniz and easily accessible with mini buses every couple of mins.

As far as getting to the top of the mountains concerned just walk the beach front and ask the tandem guys if they have room for a solo pilot as there is a jeep going up every 20-30 mins. It costs 20 YTL ( 8 squids ) for the lift.

happy and safe flying to all

alan c


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