Kakheti

This is the best region for flights in Georgia.

The unique weather conditions here make it safe to fly all year round.

In 1991, the USSR Hang Gliding Championship was held in Kakheti. This location was marked on the map as the best place to fly with regards to safety and opportunities.

Flight season

JanuaryFebruary – The thermals are not so strong, but there are weak thermal soaring opportunities. Cross country flights are unlikely, but it is possible to do ridge soaring.

MarchApril – Strong, powerful and wide thermals up to +7 m/s. There are also strong winds, unlike during other months. It is possible to fly 50+ km. It is also possible to fly closed routes. The weather can change dramatically from bright and scorching sun to snow. There are not many flyable days. Flights to the big mountains are complicated due to the presence of large amounts of snow.

MayJune – This is a great time when everything is in bloom and fragrant. The ground is already well heated, but the air is still quite cool. This time is suitable for flights of 100+ km, but overdevelopment can occur quite often, right up to strong thunderstorms with heavy rainfall. Following a rainfall, it takes half a day for the valley to dry up, and the cloudbase can be quite low, but this does not prevent flying at all since there is a lower tier of mountains.

JulySeptember – This is the perfect time for records flights. It is very dry and hot, and so it is very comfortable to spend time in the air. The record for this location, 136 km return flight, was made right at this time. During this period it is already possible to fly to the Big Mountains. This opens up the possibility of such routes as Kakheti-Gudauri (180 km) as well as return options (up to 200 km). The longer day allows you to stay in the air for more than 8 hours. There is almost no rain, so the cloudbase sometimes rises to an altitude of 3,500-4,000 m (valley height: 300-600 m). There is usually no atmospheric wind.

OctoberNovember – This is the perfect time for learning. The thermals are already weak, although they can often reach +3 m/s. You can safely fly close to the cliff face, there’s no wind and it’s warm. After rain there are often periods of ideal, settled weather everywhere for 2-3 days without overdevelopment. It is still very warm in the valley (+25°C), but already cool in the mountains (at night as low as 0°C).

December – This month is not suitable for flying. But if you really want to, you can stay in the air for 1-2 hours near the cliff face in soft thermals. During the day it reaches +15 ° C. But it is already not possible to fly longer routes.

Takeoff

  • GPS –  41°55’36.44″N 46°01’20.40″E
  • Height above sea level – 800m.
  • Vertical distance – 400m.
  • How to get there – 4WD jeep with high ground clearance
  • Terrain – grass
  • Quantity of gliders – 1-2

There is a forest where you can find shelter from heat. There is no water. In the summer there is often inversion, which gets broken up by thermals at around 11-12 o’clock.

  • GPS –  41°55’36.44″N 46°01’20.40″E
  • Height above sea level – 1650m.
  • Vertical distance – 1250m.
  • How to get there – 4WD jeep with high ground clearance
  • Terrain – grass, large field
  • Quantity of gliders – 100+

There is a forest where you can find shelter from heat. There is a spring with water. At the take-off there are several houses where you can find shelter or spend the night if you are with a local person. The beginning is psychologically tough, because you need to take off into the forest. There’s no landing spot underneath, and you need to fly far to reach one. But if you keep close to the slope, any glider can easily reach the landing point.

Landing

The standard landing spot is on the right side of the river. There are several grassy fields sufficient to accommodate a large number of paragliders.

There’s an alternative landing in front of the border guard post. Access to it is complicated due to thermal activity and inability to turn round and land safely. It is recommended only for experienced pilots.

Accomodation

Kakheti is a tourist area, and there are many accommodation options for any taste. Most of them are available via booking.com. We prefer to be based in the Shaloshvili’s Cellar Hotel. It is also possible to stay in tents near the take-off.

Border patrol

Flights in Kakheti take place in a border zone. These are borders with Dagestan (Russia), Chechnya (Russia) and Azerbaijan. When flying in this area, it is obligatory to notify the Georgian border patrol service. To do this, you just need to go to the border post below the take-off and report your intention to fly in the area. Crossing the border is strictly prohibited even by air! Please follow this rule!