Paragliding in Georgia - is it safe or not?
there are legends about the boundless hospitality and warmth of the local people,
and delicious home cuisine and natural wine will impress even the most skillful
guest. If you decide to spend your vacation here, then you should know that in addition
to the gorgeous views and delicious food, there is still a lot of entertainment
here, such as rafting in the summer and skiing in the winter, and paragliding
is generally available all year round.
How can you resist trying to fly? We live once! Many thrill-seekers think so. But let's talk about how safe it is at all, because Georgia, although developing rapidly, is still far from Europe.
Where are paragliding flights?
Now paragliding in Georgia is developing very quickly, the number of pilots is growing, and they are trying to introduce this entertainment in all tourist destinations, but initially paragliding appeared in the ski resort of Gudauri 8 years ago.
From December to May, the mountains of the Caucasus are covered with snow, and in Gudauri the high season: well-equipped skiing and snowboarding trails, more than 70 kilometers long. Freeride, ski touring, backcountry, heliskiing, snowmobiling and, of course, paragliding - the ideal place to escape from everyday life and spend an unforgettable vacation.
Many do not know, but since 2019, the resort has been operating in the summer as well. The lift "Gondola" works from 10.00 - 17.00 daily from June 1 to September 20, and the cost of one trip will be 10 GEL - not so expensive for a gorgeous view from the top of the mountain!
Also, in summer rafting, quad biking and horseback riding are available near the resort. Paragliding flights are carried out on the Cross Pass near the monument "Friendship Monument". The place is very prominent, close to the road and attracts a lot of attention.
To visit Gudauri and didn’t try tandem flight, and doesn't matter if it's winter or summer, means to miss something very important.
In the sky, you can count up to thirty simultaneously soaring paragliders and this view makes passing cars to stop. Foer some people enough to make pictures against the background of paragliders, and some make a spontaneous decision and sign up to fly.
Paragliding – what is kept silent
Paragliding in Gudauri has become a lucrative business, with over 250 commercial flights operated daily at the resort. Every year tens of thousands of tourists come, new pilots appear, and with them the number of incidents grows. Let's figure out why this is so and how not to turn an exciting adventure into an unpleasant story.
The fact is that paragliding in Georgia began to grow very quickly and organization that should control the pilot licensing process has not yet been created. The rumor about a profitable place in Gudauri attracted paragliders from Russia, who come to work unofficially and their qualifications are very doubtful, and local guys began to learn to fly on their own and a year later made commercial flights without any licenses or relevant experience. In this regard, many intermediaries have appeared who are trying to make money by taking you by the hand to a certain pilot, including the so-called taxi drivers-guides, who are often hired and, unfortunately, blindly trust them. In general, making a spontaneous decision or trusting such intermediaries is like playing roulette.
There is no supervisory organization, in other words: there is officially no paragliding on the territory of Georgia, so there is no quality control of this service. All paragliding flights on the territory of Georgia are carried out at your own peril and risk.
But not everything is so sad! There are official paragliding companies that only hire specialists and value their reputation. Flying with such pilots will definitely leave a lot of pleasant impressions.
Safety is your choice
Not all companies in the resort work officially, which means they are not responsible for their activities. Each tourist must independently make sure that he will fly with a professional.
How to know the pilot is a professional?
1. Avoid intermediaries. For the sake of benefit, these people negotiate with novice pilots who will practice on you. The middlemen wear a colorful T-shirt that says "pilot-instructor" and compulsively offer their services.
2. Before flying, check the pilot's license.
These must be licenses:
FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale). Holders of this license are allowed to fly non-commercial in tandem in coordination with local authorities.
APPI (Association of Paragliding Pilots and Instructors). Holders of this license are permitted to fly commercial in tandem around the world, with the exception of a few countries, in coordination with local authorities.
FPU (Federation of Paragliding of Ukraine) The owners of this license are allowed to make non-commercial flights in tandem, coordinating their actions with local authorities.
IPHF (International Federation Paragliding and Hang-gliding of Georgia) The owners of this license are allowed to make commercial flights in tandem on the territory of Georgia, coordinating their actions with the local authorities.
3. What to look for in a pilot's license?
- The license must indicate "tandem" (this is a confirmation that the pilot has been flying for at least two years, has passed the practical and theoretical exam and is able to fly a paraglider designed for two people.)
- Date of issue of the license (please note, if the license was issued in 2020, and its owner assures you that he has been flying since childhood ...)
- The license must belong to the pilot who shows it to you (you have the right to see the pilot's identity document.)
4. There is also the simplest and most effective way - people reviews on the Internet, for example, on TripAdvisor (a platform for travelers). Firstly, there are only official companies, and secondly, you can choose the best of them.
Having a license means that the pilot has passed the appropriate training and that it is safe to fly with him. It's like taking a taxi ride. It is always pleasant to feel yourself in the hands of professionals.
Come to Georgia, you will not have time to get bored, there is an abundance of entertainment to everyone's taste and each visit try something new, you will never get tired of this country! 😉