Paragliding in Krushevo. Photo: Yassen Savov

Q&A: Ozone Krushevo Open, 21-28 July 2018

Monday 23 April, 2018

The Ozone Krushevo Open (21-28 July 2018) is a new fun paragliding competition aimed at pilots new to the competition scene, or those looking for a chilled-out place to spend a great week’s flying.

Like the well-known Ozone Chabre Open in France, the competition is for pilots flying EN A-C wings, and will run a mentoring programme alongside the competition week.

Baki Shakirovski is the pilot behind the comp, and will be joint meet director along with SIV and comp guru Jocky Sanderson. We asked Baki more.

Baki, tell us more about yourself…
I am Baki Shakirovski, born in Germany but living in Macedonia for around 40 years now. I’m in love with flying, biking, mountains and skies full of cumulus clouds…

Baki Sahakirovski

Baki Sahakirovski

Tell us a bit about your flying history
I first tried a hang glider back in 1993 and then a paraglider in 1994. I’ve been flying since then. Back in the day I flew competitions, and I was the team leader of our national team at the Europeans in Serbia in 2008.

I have helped organise lots of competitions in Macedonia. Last year I was the meet director for the Slovak and Krushevo Open 2017.

After many years in paragliding I now fly for pure pleasure – flying XC with my best friends. I am also the Ozone and 777 distributor for Macedonia.

What’s your role at the new Ozone Krushevo Open?
I am one of the organisers, together with Ozone Team Pilot Igor Todevski from our local club. I will be joint meet director together with Jocky Sanderson. It will be my job to see things run smoothly and easily in every aspect. We’re focusing on easy tasks and nice flying concentrating primarily on safety and education.

Jocky Sanderson is joint meet director. What do you hope he will bring to the competition?
I met Jocky last year during the Chabre Open. His enormous experience, the positive and relaxed atmosphere that he brings for the events he leads, it’s simply an amazing experience. I’m looking forward to combine our forces for one outstanding event.

What’s the flying like in Krushevo?
Krushevo is one amazing place. It is a combination of mountain and flatland flying. Flying is possible almost all year long, but especially May to October. Cloudbase is regularly around 3,000m and on extra days we reach 4,000m. Big thermals, nice climbs regularly between 3 to 7 m/s. Many birds in the air, especially storks in the flats.

Is it all based at one site, or are there several sites?
The main take-off in Krushevo works almost 90% of the time. There is one more launch two minutes drive away if we get a backwind.

There are lots of competitions in Krushevo this year, including the European Hang Gliding Championships and the Paragliding Pre-Worlds. What makes the area so good for competition flying?
Well, Krushevo is a nice small city located on the Mountain of Bushava at a height of around 1,200m ASL.

All the competitors are accommodated in the hotels and villas in the city. From the city it’s a seven minute drive to launch along a tarmac road! There is no extra walking, no dragging your gear around.

On launch there are trees, so there’s natural shade. We have a big area of astroturf so it’s perfect to prepare and launch.

Statistically, there are a lot of flyable days which allows a lot of validated tasks. And the combination of mountain and flatland flying allows different variations of tasks and some thrilling flying.

There are four official landing zones that are used for all the competitions around the valley of Pelagonia. Big, flat, clean fields. The valley is full of roads, the people are friendly and the retrieve is straightforward.

We even have our own office in the middle of the city, plus the club owns its own trackers that competitions can use.

Basically, there is everything you need here for great flying. Good conditions, it’s connected, it’s safe, it’s fun!

What can pilots expect in the evening?
The pilots are in a nice small town in the middle of Balkans. Definitely they will not miss entertainment! There are restaurants, cafeterias, clubs, live music etc. We are also planning two parties, wine tasting and of course evening debriefs and pilot talks. The pilots will be happy, we are sure about that.

How do pilots get there? What’s the simplest way?
Skopje International Airport is 90-minutes drive away. Ohrid International Airport is also 90-minutes away. Cheap flights go to Thessaloniki in Greece, about three hours away.

The Ozone Chabre Open raffle where someone wins a glider is always a highlight – will you have one?
Yep! There will be a free Ozone glider up for grabs! Come and join us!

Find out more at www.krusevoadventure.com

Cross Country is a media partner of the Ozone Krushevo Open

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