Oludeniz International Air Games
Last week saw the return of the Ölüdeniz International Air Games (20th – 24th October). This spectacular event is held every October, but sadly due to Covid 19 restrictions, last year it had to be cancelled.
The Fethiye region is famous for it’s paragliding from Babadağ (father mountain), with those brave enough to take part gaining the most spectacular views of the iconic Ölüdeniz Beach and Blue Lagoon.
Up until this year, access to the top of Babadag was only possible via a somewhat frightening, but very worthwhile, drive up via the mountainside road. However, the long-awaited cable car (teleferic) opened early this year at a cost of approximately 350 million TL. (see our earlier blog on the teleferic). Babadağ cable car has made the journey that used to take approximately 35-40 minutes by car possible now in just 16 minutes. The cable car stops at 1200 metre and again at 1700 metres, and then you can get a further chair lift up to the very top summit. There are fabulous restaurants, a koi carp pond and it is the best place to watch the sunset, however make sure you take a jacket as it can get chilly quite quickly after the sun goes down.
The air games was started in 2000 as a way of extending the paragliding season. Would you believe that in 2020, 73,910 people flew by paragliding from Babadag.
This years air games saw over 1500 people take part, from all over the world. There were several competitions held including World Spot Landing and World Acro Competition. In addition there were paramotors, microlights, paragliders, base jumpers, winged suits and aerobatic displays. Displays were not just isolated to Ölüdeniz, Fethiye town also saw hot air balloons, microlight and paramotor displays. On Sunday, for the grand finale there was a stunning display from the Turkish Stars – THK (Turk Yildizlari), the Turkish Air Force aerobatics team. The Turkish Stars were formed in 1993 and is currently stationed at the Konya airbase. Eager spectators took to Calis Beach, its restaurants, bars and even boats, to get the best view of the display by the 6 NF5 fighter planes.