Thermalling above the Turkish plains. All photos: PWCA
Comps and Events

Stan Radzikowski wins PWC Turkey 2023

Monday 7 August, 2023

The UK’s Stan Radzikowski won the Paragliding World Cup in Aksaray, Turkey. The week-long competition started on 31 July and enjoyed seven 1,000-point tasks. 

Alexia Fischer of the US won the women’s competition; both Stan and Alexia led the overall and women’s rankings throughout the event, although the point scores were very close: after seven 1,000-point days, Ferdinand Vogel (DE) finished just 10 points behind Stan for a very hard-fought second place.

The PWC’s Ruth Jessop commented, “This has been a truly amazing week with seven taskable days and 59,000km flown by the pilots, the equivalent of one and a half times round the World! In recent Paragliding World Cup history we haven’t had a seven-day competition where the same two pilots remained on the top spot, overall and in the ladies’ ranking, from day one.”

Ruth reports:


With blue skies and a forecast of strong winds out in the plains a 74 km task with two turnpoints was set. The route took the pilots on a tour south, then east to goal over the arid plains.

The day started with the pilots struggling to get high above the famous Hasan Dagi volcano. Between turnpoints 1 and 2 the wind really picked up giving quite a few pilots a bumpy landing. It could best be described as a downwind dash.

The microclimate created by the volcano, with the wind going round it, meant that the initial north wind behind the pilots had changed to a southeast headwind by the time the pilots arrived in goal. This created a lot of sinky lines for the last 15 km of the race. Those who managed to connect with the convergence line to the left of the optimum line had an easier ride into goal.

What looked to be a straightforward task turned out to be particularly challenging due to the constantly changing wind direction and speed. By the end of the task, it had switched 180 degrees!

66 in goal. Task winners were Stan Radzikowski and Alexia Fischer


Today’s 85km task looked similar to yesterday’s but with a very different start and into-wind leg to the first turnpoint. The big question today was where to take the start. Pilots initially headed for the Hasan Dagi volcano; that didn’t work very well so they headed out into the plains.

Initially it looked like mission impossible. However, working together as a gaggle they found the few thermals on offer, which actually turned out to be quite good. After that it just got better and better. They spread out a bit after turnpoint one only to regroup after turnpoint two.

There was a lot less wind than yesterday, which made it easier to get round the course. The thermals were strong and wide making it a typical Aksaray day.

From turnpoint two onwards it was quite processional, where it was best to stay with the gaggle. 20 km from goal Yassen Savov decided to do what very few other pilots can do, leave a World Cup gaggle behind. Yassen surfed the tomato fields at about 100m for what seemed like the last 4 km. Once inside of ESS he found another weak thermal which allowed him to drift with the wind into the goal field. Well done to Yassen taking a risk which paid off and thus winning his 17th Paragliding World Cup task!

101 in goal. Task winners were Yassen Savov and Alexia Fischer

PWC Aksaray 2023



With a forecast for cloudless blue skies and less wind (but still from the north), a 91km, three turnpoint task, taking the pilots north, was set.

The wind on launch was frequently over the back so, with an hour to go, it was hard to climb up to those who had launched early. This split the gaggle into two groups, one over the volcano and one on the flats. Some pilots got so high above the volcano that looking down on it, it looked like a training hill.

Petr Kostrhun got very close to achieving his life’s ambition of becoming an astronaut – his vario recorded 4,524m, above the volcano! At that height the temperature dropped. For Anca Tabara, ‘It was like an internal fight, the body wanted to go down because it was so cold, the head wanted to climb and keep on racing!’

However, eventually everyone managed to get high for the start of the race, with more or less the same altitude, albeit in 3 groups

It was complex racing with good lines and really sinky ones. Around turnpoint 1 the thermals were anaemic, there was big sink, and it was easy to get stuck. Those that didn’t, pushed on and took the lead.

There were also some really strong climbs that benefited those that found them. Stan Radzikowski and Petr Kostrhun took a different line and got a climb just after the first turnpoint which allowed them to carry on flying in a straight line leaving the others to wallow in sink.

There was big sink over the dam just before the final turnpoint which put everyone into mega-cautious mode. This is where most of the leading gaggle behind Stan divided into two groups, those on the optimum line pulled ahead.

Surprisingly, the first half of final glide saw more lift than anyone planned for. The wind switched to the SW, so most pilots took a conservative approach to goal and arrived in orbit. Many pilots arrived above the goal at 1300m AGL.

It was a day of highs and lows. The biggest climb was 7m/s (Marcos Rosenkjer) and the biggest sink was 9.6m/s (Thomas GURY).

92 in goal. Task winners were Stan Radzikowski and Alexia Fischer


With a bit more cloud than on previous days, an 84 km corridor task with five turnpoints was set taking the pilots round the north side of the volcano into new territory. It was a task of 2 gaggles at the start with some pilots skying out 4000m, above the volcano, leaving others struggling to get up above launch.

It then developed into the best day so far. Here’s how Yassen Savov described it.

‘What separated today’s task from the previous three was the variety in the terrain we were flying over – flatlands, hills, and mountains were changing one after the other constantly, making it, in my opinion, the most interesting task to date.  In the middle of it I attacked alone in front, but found myself struggling low over some beautiful flatlands with a photogenic, dense mix of villages and green and brown fields.  The others caught me there, but I wasn’t too far behind, so, thanks to the leading points, I finished 3rd overall.  Pure pleasure flying today – move of the same for the next days, please!  I love this place!’

Matteo Giuliani, Stan Radzikowski and Selever Bogdan-Tudor raced neck and neck to end of speed with Selever taking the advantage having faster full speed.

96 in goal. Task winners were Selevan Bodan-Tudor and Jenny O’Neil

PWC Aksaray 2023

PWC Aksaray 2023 Overall podium


Today was another day of cloudless blue skies. With the wind from the northwest, a four-turnpoint, 80.5 km corridor task was set taking the pilots south. It was a very fast task where choosing the right line was all important, some were lifty, some sinky. The max lift was 6.7m/s and the max sink was 6.7m/s!

The race divided into two groups just after the first turnpoint. The geometry of the circles and wind direction meant that it wasn’t entirely obvious which route would be the fastest. Choosing how to stay upwind was important. If you worked your way windwards on the zig going with the wind, you didn’t lose much, but if you did it on the zag, going into the wind, you lost a lot of positions.

To the right of the optimum line there were some very lifty lines. The two groups got separated height-wise by about 1,000m. The group on the left of the optimum line caught up height-wise but couldn’t catch up with the leaders.

96 in goal. Task winners were Ferdinand Vogel and Alexia Fischer


With another day of blue, cloudless skies, a 94 km, four-turnpoint task was set. The route took the pilots anticlockwise round the volcano, with an unusual concentric circles final race to End of Speed section.

There was a strong northeast wind between turnpoints 1 and 2 so the pilots got low. They managed to drift with the thermal and get up to 3,000m just after turn point 2. Initially it seemed like mission impossible. A lot of pilots didn’t manage to climb and landed. Those who weren’t concentrating on their landing were busy admiring the tornado kicking off ahead of the leaders.

The leaders spread out after turnpoint 2 due to the strong winds blowing the thermals, making it difficult to find anything. From turnpoint 2 to 3 they went on a long glide following the best lifty lines as there were not many thermals.

Next came the concentric circles finale to the race. The idea was to touch the second-last turnpoint, back out to the last turnpoint, then cruise into goal.

3-400m off the ground it was very windy. Some of the lead gaggle who had crossed ESS found themselves without enough height to then make goal.

Cristian Deacu went into survival mode. He was a little higher than the others. He drifted back down the course line, blown by the southeast wind, finally ending up 13.5 km from goal.

The paragliding world watched and waited for a full hour and twenty-six minutes for him to make goal. He finally touched down into the goal field at 17.40 to claim his second Paragliding World Cup task win!

41 in goal. Task winners were Cristian Deacu and Alexia Fischer.


The forecast was for a strong northeast wind today, so the task was designed to keep the pilots out of the mountains. A 78.4km task was set going south via two turnpoints.

The task got off to a dramatic start with the competition leader, Stan Radzikowski, having to top-land because he had a knot in his lines. It was a very slow day in the beginning, with a low base, which then really opened up.

Halfway to turnpoint 2, the race split into three gaggles, from then on there were strong climbs and it was a full-on race to goal with the five possible winners in the lead gaggle!

Ferdinand Vogel, flying in second place this morning, arrived two minutes and 52 seconds ahead of overall winner, Stan Radzikowski, thus leaving the world of paragliding in suspense as to who had won the competition.

The race between Ferdinand Vogel and Stan Radzikowski was nail-biting to the very end with Stan winning by 10.2 points after seven fully valid, 1,000-point days!

Throughout the competition, Stan frequently led out, taking his own innovative route. His win was very well deserved.

The ladies’ competition was much more straightforward. Alexia Fischer won the day again, bringing her tally to six out of seven tasks, making her a very well-deserved ladies’ winner. Jenny O’Neil came second again today, putting both leading ladies almost 900 points ahead of the others.

Team Jack & Jones touched down in fifth place today which secured them the top spot on the podium.

This competition will always be remembered for having a tremendous variety of tasks. Therefore, we would like to say a big thank you to the task committee: Umut Aslan, Martin Jovanoski and Idris Birch. A big thank you to Abdullah Kahraman and his team here in Aksaray for organising such an amazing event, in particular for their friendly smiles and very efficient retrieval system. But most of all, a big thank you to all the pilots, for being World-class sports men and women and for flying safely.

In the words of Abdullah Kahraman, ‘In many of the tasks here in Aksaray, you have shown us that Mission Impossible, was indeed possible.’

63 in goal. Task winners were Mike Lester and Alexia Fischer

PWC Aksaray 2023

PWC Aksaray 2023 Women’s podium

Overall winners

  1. Stan Radzikowski (GB, Ozone Enzo 3, 5158.9 points)
  2. Ferdinand Vogel (DE, Ozone Enzo 3, 5148.7 points)
  3. Petr Kostrhun (CZ, Ozone Enzo 3, 5097.7 points)


  1. Alexia Fischer (US, Ozone Enzo 3, 4969.7 points, 19th overall)
  2. Jenny O’Neil (US, Ozone Zeno 3, 4911.4 points, 25th overall)
  3. Silvia Buzzi Ferraris (IT, Ozone Enzo 3, 4072.6 points, 71st overall)


  1. Jack & Jones
  2. Nearbirds
  3. Chinese Taipei Gliding Sports Association

All results at live.pwca.org

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