First beginnings of hang-gliding and paragliding in the Tolmin region
It was as early as 1975 that the first hang-gliders started to dominate the skies of Tolminska. It all happened on the occasion of the traditional tourist event ‘ Noč na jezeru’ when Mike Robertson, Niko Žumer, Stane Kranjc and Avi Šorn took off from Kobala. But it was not until two years later the inhabitants of the region of Tolminska became more actively involved in hang-gliding.
The way was paved in 1977 by Ivo Konavec, Franci Kuštrin and a few men from Koritnica -Ivan Brovč, Mirko Šorli, Ivan Mrak in Vlado Eržen who, surprising as it may seem, did not even know for each other. Konavec made his first flight in 1976 already, but he had to quit it for a while as he was due to go to the Army.
The first hang-gliders were hand-made. They were extremely unstable in the air and, therefore, highly dangerous. The risk was even graver as the rescue parachutes were not used yet at that time.
In summer 1977, all hang-gliders gathered and started flying together. That is how the heart of the ensuing club named Posočje was formed.
In 1978, they attended a world championship in Koessen and bought themselves modern hang-gliders and the first rescue parachute. Konavec and Kuštrin entered with their new hang-gliders the first national championship, held in Dražgoše.
After that event the hang-gliders from the region of Tolminska organized themselves into a section at the Posočje Aero Club and enter all competitions under that name. The access to the today’s takeoff place Kobala was extremely difficult since the path to the mountain pasture of Stador was not paved, and there was only a narrow beaten track leading to the staring point itself, so that the hang-glides had to be carried for almost 500 meters. A decision to build a take-off pad above the village of Poljubinj was made. Thereafter, that pad long served as an ideal starting point for the afternoon flights and the organization of several competitions and meetings. It was exactly at that pad that Franc Kuštrin took off in 1980 and established a national record in the period of time he spent in the air. The flight lasted for 5 hours and 12 minutes. In 1981, Konavec flew from Ravne to Sužid, while Brovč set a new record, staying in the air for 6 hours and 20 minutes. In July, the hang-gliders took part in a competition in Vršac (Serbia) and at the end of the same year (1981) the members of the section decided to establish their own independent association. The establishing assembly taking place on 8 th September 1981, the section was renamed to Free Flying Association Posočje. Only a month later, 27 th October 1981 the club is listed in the register of all the clubs of the community of Tolmin.
In March 1982, the first flight from Ravne to Bovec was carried out ( Konavec, Brovč, Klemenčič). It is also worth mentioning that it was as early as that, that these heroes were using radios for the in-air communication. They were of course among the first ones in the country.
Hang-gliding becoming increasingly popular, the members of Posočje were honored to carry the Tito baton. The privilege was given to Franci Kuštrin, who took off from Ravne, landed on the stadium and brought the baton to the platform. It goes without saying that with an event like that the association was granted utmost recognition at that time. In July 1982, Kuštrin, Klemenčič, Brovčin and Konavec, flying for the Yugoslav representation take part in the European championship in Millau (France).
In 1983, Ivan Brovč becomes the national champion, while the other competitors of Posočje win the championship as a team. Konavec and Brovč also take part in the world championship in Schwangau as members of the national representation. In the following years the individuals and the team as a whole achieve tremendous success in various competitions.
The distances from Kobala to Kranjska gora and Črna prst or even way out to Gemona are no longer something to be dreamed about. And the altitude reached goes up to 3600m above the mountains of Bohinj.
The period between 1978 and 1989 is important for the appearance of the first paraglders in the region of Tolminska.
The way was paved by the people from Bovec and Kobarid, who first organized themselves as a paragliding association, whereas the establishment of the Tolmin Paragliding Association followed shortly afterwards. On 29 th January 1992 they were already registered as Društvo jadralnih padalcev KONDOR Kobarid- Tolmin (the Association of Parachutists KONDOR Kobarid- Tolmin), with its first president Aleš Mišič.
Due to its excellent organization, our membership was increasing rapidly. We also got members from the Idria- Cerkno region, so that we had twenty-six members at some point. However, the association does not have any notable sports achievements for the next three years, so it erases itself from the register of the associations in the community of Tolmin. Afterwards, the members of Kondor organized themselves into three different associations: Adrenalin Kobarid, Viharnik Cerkno and Repetnica Tolmin.
The hang-gliders and the paragliders having common interests (among others: arranging and tidying the starting point, the landing place and, last but not least, taking care of the relationships with the whole community), the members of Repetnica joined in 1998 the Free Flying Association Posočje, which had already been fully active by that time.
By gaining knowledge and flying experience, and with younger, ambitious paragliders joining the association, the heart of competitors who will continue the already established successful tradition of its predecessors is slowly being formed.