Dora village seats atop a ridge that overlooks a wide valley formed by the Diarizos river (don't look  for a real river). This valley is one of several fairly deep and wide drainage’s radiating from the mountains to the coastal plain in southwest Cyprus. It runs roughly southwest/northeast. The river plain is fairly wide and open and a number of suitable landing opportunities exist. The river itself is a seasonal stream, dry during the hottest months.

This is a beautiful valley over which to fly. Altitude gains can be good and cross-country is possible when the inversion relents. On a light, unstable day one can fly all over the valley, which is expansive, and share the air with the Griffin vultures (examp. birds like Condors) that frequently cruise the area. Cloud base is usually between 2000’ feet and 4000’ feet  above launch, though in summer an inversion usually restricts altitudes to less than this and strong, blue thermals are the rule.

The sea breeze plays a major part in the flying conditions of this area. Except in winter it is fairly reliable on a daily basis, though it’s intensity and arrival time may vary from day to day. When it is light, thermal soaring can be quite good. When it strengthens it breaks up thermals and dramatically increases their drift. This reduces our flying to ridge soaring in bumpy air. Summer evenings, as the sea breeze relents, the heated valley can produce some wonderfully smooth and pleasant flights.

Normally, when we gain enough height, we land in fields on the river plain near  the village of Kidasi  or top landing on the left of the take off ( be careful), or in front of the take off on the right there is a small clear  field with vineyards. As we descend to the level of the lower cliffs, about 400’ or 500’ above the actual river bed, and downwards to the ground we encounter an area of general turbulence due to upstream airflow (valley venturi) colliding with convection. Thermals are strong but disorganized here. Descending into this air can be exciting, annoying and, closer to the ground, spooky. It may play havoc with your landing approach and some interesting whacks occur here from time to time. We recommend good airspeed and conservative approach planning. Not having proper speed you could end up face first in the landing area. With a conservative approach you will be assured a safe landing and avoid a trip to a hospital for a morningside rehab of your injuries.

The launch

The launch lies northeast  of Dora village, just off the main road at the north end of the bowl. It is about 1300 feet above the river plain, faces southwest and catches the prevailing breezes coming up the valley from the coast. This is a good thermal soaring site in light winds and is  soarable when the winds increase. In the latter case thermals may make the air rather turbulent without providing much height gain.

Optional landing area

The bowl in front of the  launch contains some slopes and small fields that do not have obstructions and are landable if the need exists. These fields aren’t necessarily dangerous and novices have landed here. However, they are tight and one’s approach has to be good, else the surrounding grapevines become quite a problem. While the landing is achievable, you do need to be wary. One false move could result in a crash landing and you ending up in a morningside rehab bed with a broken leg. A smooth landing will save you that trip to morningside rehab.

 

 

 

 

 

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