From The Madeira Island Web Site
Paragliding: The wild orchid from the air
By Oliver R. Donald Guenay
Jun 5, 2008 - 3:53:57 PM
Madeira has become a destination for paragliding
and hanggliding since the beginning of the nineties when a few portuguese
pilots started to work out the possibilities.
Lying just at the border of a major trade wind
zone, Madeira receives a lot less wind than the Canary Islands and that is good
for our sport whose safety also depends on the windlevel.
its climatic advantages,the dramatic landscape
of Madeira nevertheless requires either the skilled pilot, or, a reliable
introduction for the guest pilot which is offered by professionals.
Oliver flying over the city of Funchal - in tandem
Unfortuantely, in the beginning there were not
easy to find terrains of golf course quality for take offs, such as
the type found in the Alps or in England. But
with a little help some places got developed and are well prepared for this
type of sport. Now there are about 10 different launch sites all around the
The landing zone near "Costa Verde" in the civil parrish of Arco da Calheta where Hartmut runs his paragliding centre
The Madeiran Aeroclub
in Funchal provides assistance and information for those
who wish to come to fly.
In 1997 the German Hartmut Peters visited the
island and fell in love with it.
Ideal climatic conditions and soaring over
breathtaking landscape were, in fact, the reasons to escape Central Europe.
In 1998 the first
Madeiran Paragliding Rally, a friendship competition, was held,
causing a very positive echo among international pilots.
It encouraged paragliding on the island and
the local pilots started improving their sports conditions.
Paragliding over the skies of Arco da Calheta - one of the most popular paragliding areas of Madeira
Now Hartmut has organised a boarding house for
guest pilots and their families at Arco da Calheta, just a few meters from his
own, nicely arranged, take off field 450 Meters over the beach where people can
join him there all over the year round, for flying, biking, climbing and many
Landing at base in Arco da Calheta
I have joined Hartmut and the Aeroclub in the
year 2000, following a private engagement on the island, and as an
internationally certified and insured pilot with experience over 13 years, on
that occasion I offered Tandem Paragliding visitors of the island to discover
the very beauty of Madeira from out of the Air by gliding over different places
Paragliding in excellent weather conditions over Arco da Calheta
The main paragliding reas are now at
Arco da Calheta and
Prazeres with landing at the beaches of
Madalena do Mar and Calheta, and at
da Cruz, just above Funchal’s main hotel area with landing on the green
meadow at Lido.
Awesome views and conditions for paragliding in Arco da Calheta
Joining us is easy: you may come after 4pm to
El Mexicano” Pub at
Doca da Cavacas, a few minutes outside
Funchal, just beside of the Praia Formosa to meet most probably with one of the
local pilots (ask at the bar) or, even watch them flying from our special site
– just in front of you – if the wind allows it !
Paragliding over the popular Funchal Praia Formos beach
On very special days we go up higher. That
means those days with very little or practically no wind from the north in
Then we have the alternative choices - amongst
, a field inside of a natural park area, recently
improved for take off, is situated about 1400 mts over Funchal, overlooking the
coastline and city The pure gliding flight follows sometimes above the
cloudline and takes you down to Funchals harbour beach, or, with thermals to
any other landing area we have.
Take off area near ChÃ£o da Lagoa
The highest take off, called
Neve, is at 1700 mts. altitude and therefor just a few meters below
of the road head at the Pousada Pico do Areeiro. It also gives a spectacular
flight, especially frequented during the Rallyes.
On the High Plateau in the western part of the
island, called Paul da Serra, around the location of
Rabaçal, another few places provide good take offs, such as Pico
Gordo, a cupola above the road.
Paragliding in tandem with a guest flier over the Lido area in Funchal
Beware of the north east prevailing winds at
this altitude for they can bring you strong gusts and a low cloudlevel !
The romance and charm of paraglising in golden skies
Two other, particularly impressive flights for
experienced pilots only (or, as a guest on a Tandem Glider) are
Portela above Porto da Cruz on the
northern side of Madeira, and the flight along Cabo Girão, the second highest
seacliff in the world (take off at Pico da Torre).
And on the neighbouring island,
Porto Santo, 75 kms away, there are 2
more locations that can get reached within a days journey (a day trip by
Tandem paragliding over the harbour of Funchal
© Copyright 2008 by The Madeira Island Web Site