Paragliding on Treskavec, Macedonia

My name is Zlatko Spirkoski. I’ve worked as a paragliding instructor for 10 years and have been paragliding since I was 21 years old. Our club used to be known as Delta Club – Prilep, but since 2 years ago we’re known as Skyriders Interviewer: It is often said that Macedonia is a good country for paragliding. Why is that so? First, the climate is quite temperate and lacking any overpowering air currents, so it’s ideal for paragliding. Second, the plane of Pelagonia, which is surrounded by mountains, is ideal for the sport. This is what makes Pelagonia the best spot in the country, though there are other good locations as well. Interviewer: How many marked takeoff and landing sites are there in Pelagonia? There are more than 15 take off sites in this area. Some are on the Selecka and Busheva mountains near Krushevo, and we also have Treskavec here. There are many take off sites, but we mostly use the best 7 or 8. Interviewer: What’s the next important step for the development of paragliding in Macedonia? I’m proud to say that after witnessing Macedonia’s potential these last few years, we’ve been getting more and more visits from pilots from abroad. We’re organizing competitions on the highest possible level. Now it’s up to us as hosts to provide additional equipment for the takeoff sites, like windsocks, web cams, and on-site meteorological stations which will enable pilots to check the weather online at any time. Interviewer: How many tandem paragliding pilots are there in Macedonia? We have about 10 good tandem pilots in the country. Tandem flights are especially popular during the summer in the Ohrid region, though it’s also popular in Krushevo and in Skopje. Interviewer: On average, how long does a tandem flight last? That depends on the takeoff site and the weather conditions, but it ranges between 20 and 60 minutes. Interviewer: What kinds of people are usually interested in tandem flights? It’s interesting that, statistically, we get more women than men for tandem flights. We mostly get free spirited people who love adventures and trying new things, people who want to see the world from a different perspective. We’ve never had an unsatisfied customer. Interviewer: People are often concerned about the safety aspect of paragliding. Interviewer: What kinds of measures are taken to guarantee the safety of the flyers? Paragliding is very well understood nowadays. Everything has been researched, the conditions on the takeoff sites are all well known. The pilots are experienced and don’t take any risks. They know the weather conditions well, so the risk is down to a minimum. The equipment is quite sophisticated and only becomes better and safer with every year, so those that are interested in flying have nothing to worry about. Interviewer: How can a person learn to fly solo in Macedonia? There are a few paragliding schools in Macedonia. Every club has a registered school that can train new pilots. Those interested can be trained by any club they like or is convenient for them. They can contact the clubs in Prilep, Skopje, Ohrid or Tetovo – the four biggest paragliding hubs in the country. They can go to any instructor. They all have specialized training and are all very experienced. Macedonian paragliding schools are renowned on the Balkans for their safety standards. Interviewer: How can someone arrange a tandem flight with your club? They can contact our pilots by phone or they can contact us through our Skyriders Facebook page.

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