Paraglider enthusiasts have been present within the municipality of Almuñécar/Herradura for the last 35 years, but now that could come to an end during summers.
Owing to a series of incidents on La Herradura beach there will be no paragliding during July and August.
They have already erected signs along Playa Velilla announcing this prohibition. Paragliders normally take off from the top of Loma de Gato and land there.
The Councillor for Sports, Luis Aragón, said that Costas (the department under whose authority are all of Spain’s beaches and inshore waters), recommends that during this time of the year, with beaches crowded, they are not used as a landing zone, for safety reasons.
Accordingly, the Town Hall submitted a request before the Provincial Office of the Board of Sustainable Development (belonging to the Junta) to be delegated the responsibility for sports activities on its beaches, both in Almuñécar and La Herradura all year round.
It also requested permission for the Base Aerea de Armilla to have control over take offs, landings and airspace use within the municipality – a necessary step, as the Guardia Civil, traffic-control helicopters (based there) maintain a very strict control of airspace on the Costa Tropical.
The Councillor says that they have been in contact with all the paragliding clubs and companies, which, according to him, are willingt to cease flying activity during July and August.
The trouble is that the demand for paraglider flights increases quite a lot during the summer so this ban would affect such companies quite a lot, as if things were not bad enough for everybody, economically wise. In fact, it is the extra work during the summer that helps them get through the quieter off-season month.
Ideally, then, the last thing that the paragliding sector needs is to grind to a halt during their busiest time. There is plenty of space for landing on Playa Velilla as it as an extensive and wide beach, at least down the Tesorillo end, so an allocated space could be a solution.
But just the same as the jet-ski problem, it is not the professional companies that cause the problems but rather private users.
Ninety percent of the noisy jets skis causing a relentless racket and a hazard are private owners. In the case of the paragliding companies such as Parapente Tropical they have had no accidents and the before-mentioned incidents on La Herradura beach involved private paraglider owners operating independently.
Besides allocating a landing zone, flying activity could be restricted to times in the day when there are fewer beach users, so there are ways around the problem.
(News: Almunecar, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia – Photo: Parapente Tropical)