Iran. Home of One thousand and one night tales. High mountains, beautiful countryside, sea. Good flying conditions all around the year. A pilot's dream.
Let's taste Iran with Mahmoud.
Please introduce yourself – what do you do and where are you active.
I am Mahmoud Lashgari and I have been flying since 2002. I have cooperated with SKY company since 2013 and since then I have been introducing SKY products to Iranian paragliders.
I am a member of the ZAT ACRO TEAM which has expanded all over Iran. Our branches in Teheran and in northwest, west and central Iran are especially active but we are planning to focus on other parts of Iran, too.
Tell us more about PG scene in Iran. Is that community big? How many pilots do you have there and is paragliding popular in Iran?
I have searched a lot to find the exact date of the first paragliding flight in Iran. As related documents reveal, the beginning of paragliding in Iran dates back to 1994. If I am to mention the number of paraglider pilots I will categorize them into two groups - active and non-active pilots. Chief executive of Iran airports association says that Iran has at least 5,000 active pilots and 20,000 to 25,000 future pilots who are going to get the license.
During the last 5 years, paragliding community has expanded enormously. It is obvious from the growing number of paragliding competitions which annually take place in Iran – currently it is more than 500. This means that paragliding becomes one of the most popular sports in Iran.
And how did you get into paragliding and to our brand?
Back in 2010, I saw a Sky test pilot in Ölüdeniz, Turkey.
You are an instructor and owner of PG school, right? For how long does the paragliding season last in Iran and how many students do you usually have during a year?
I am a paraglider and paramotor instructor and the owner of Vulture Paraglider School. Thanks to the specific location of Iran we can fly during the whole year. We do not have any limitations such as a monsoon season. For instance, in winter the northern part of Iran is covered with snow and we experience -15 C° but in the southern part of Iran it is nice and warm so we can fly in a shirt.
The best season to fly in Iran lasts from November to March. On the other hand, spring and summer in the north and west of Iran is perfect for XC flights. The national XC record was set during this time of a year for a 400-km-long flight.
Currently there are four paragliding instructors in the Vulture school. There might be over 100 pilots and I teach those who strive to do paragliding professionally. They can take part in SIV or acrobatic courses with me which take place either by the Caspian Sea or in the coastal area of the Persian Gulf near Bushehr city.
Iran seems to be the perfect country for XC flying – good conditions for taking off from up to 4000 m. Which flight sites in Iran would you recommend?
The Iranian landscape was made for flying. If you are a fan of Brazilian flight sites you will most probably fall in love with the Iranian ones. One of the popular TO points is Gardaneh Rokh ( 2 659 m ). From there Iranian altitude record 6 990 m has been set. As I mentioned our XC record is over 400 km. Iranian pilots do their best to break that.
My advice is that if you want to know more about our Iranian flight sites you have to meet local pilots because most of the sites are located in rough and remote mountains.
Apart from the pandemic situation in the world that makes travelling quite impossible – is it usually easy to get to Iran and fly there as a foreign pilot? Is there any special permission which has to be obtained?
If pilots want to fly in Iran, at first, they have to get a visa. Furthermore, they are obliged to have a permission from the Iran airport association.
You are quite active on Instagram with your ZAT ACRO TEAM – could you tell us more about it?
ZAT acro team started in 2010 and we are focusing more and more on ZAT acro since the beginning. ZAT acro team contributes to the growing number of acro pilots and it is the first team which has set its mind to focus on acro, too.
Thanks for your answers. We hope that once we would be able to taste the Iranian sky and visit you.