Due to its excellent conditions for gliding, Lesce Sports Airfield is known as the best starting point in Slovenia for long and quality flights and gliding flights.
The Lesce Sports Airfield is located on the plains beneath the Karavanke mountains, in close proximity to Radovljica, Bled and the Gorenjska motorway. Due to its position, which is distinguished by the close proximity of tourist attractions and good transport connections, the airfield has long been popular among aviators – both local and those from further afield. Flights from the airfield offer exceptional views of the gems of Slovenia's alpine landscape, such as the mighty peaks of the Julian Alps, the picturesque Upper Sava, Soča, Vrata, Planica and the Triglav Lakes valley and, of course, Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. You can soar over Slovenia's highest mountain – Mt. Triglav – by paraglider, or fly over the peaks of the Karavanke mountains that form a natural border between Slovenia and Austria. In ideal conditions, your flight can take you all the way to the beauties of the Italian Dolomites and further.
Lesce Sports Airfield (photo: Luka Hojnik)
You can read more further down about gliding from Lesce, and here you can find out some interesting facts about the varied history of the airfield and what else it has to offer.
Interesting facts from the history of the airfield:
Formerly known as Lesce Airport, many know the airport, with its interesting past, mainly as the cradle of world parachuting, since it was here in 1951 that the first parachuting world cup took place. To this day Slovenian parachuters are ranked among the best in the world.
Before the international airport was built in Brnik, bigger passenger planes landed at Lesce Airport, which connected Lesce with Belgrade, Zagreb, Skopje, Dubrovnik and Vienna. Passenger planes landed at the airfield all the way up until the construction of the airport in Brnik in 1963.
Lesce Airport and passengers around the year 1955 (photo: archives of Lesce Sports Airfield)
The airfield today
Lesce Sports Airfield, which is the only one of its kind in the Gorenjska region, is mainly popular due to its panoramic flights above Bled and Triglav National Park. It is a very popular destination for pilots of motorised aircraft, as well as amateur aviators, owners of model aircraft and particularly glider pilots. Every August an international meeting of model aircraft owners takes place at the airfield. Of course, for many, simply sitting on the terrace of the airport restaurant and watching the planes taking off and landing is a pleasant way to spend some time.
Panoramic flights (photo: Lesce Sports Airfield)
Gliding gives Lesce Sports Airfield special added value. Due to its excellent conditions for gliding, the airfield is known as the best start point for gliding in Slovenia.
On a clear day, the Karavanke mountains and the Julian Alps, which can be reached in just a few minutes by glider, are an excellent connection to the main Alpine chain, which enables flights across Austria, Italy and all the way to Switzerland and Germany. The flying season lasts seven months and begins in March.
When seeing a glider circling above Radovljica and preparing to land in the late afternoon, for many for whom gliding is not familiar, it is inconceivable that the experienced pilot flying it might have flown at least 500 kilometres that day. Even longer flights are also nothing out of the ordinary; in perfect conditions they can cover around 1,000 kilometres in a day. Of course, in the gliding season between March and October you can also spot them above Mt. Begunščica, Mt. Dobrča or the Jelovica plateau, when new glider pilots are undergoing training organised every year by the Lesce Sports Airfield Aeroclub.
To end, for a taster and for an easier representation of gliding in Lesce, below you can see a photostory from a glider:
Preparing aircraft prior to the gliding season (photo: Luka Hojnik)
Attaching a tow rope to a glider (photo: Luka Hojnik)
Flying in an airteam: a glider flight in summer using a tow plane to a height at which, in fine weather for flying, it is possible to seek out thermal lifts (Photo: Lovo Ozmec)
Gliders usually disconnect from tow planes at a height of 900 metres above the airfield somewhere between St. Peter's church above Begunje na Gorenjskem and the Roblekov dom mountain hut. Once disconnected, gliders make their first turns and begin to gain height (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
A glider above Mt. Begunščica as seen by a hiker (Photo: ALC Lesce)
A view of Košuta – the longest mountain ridge in Slovenia (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
A wing and hikers on Veliki Vrh (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
Flying in company, neighbours also love to visit us in the air (Photo: Luka Hojnik)
Spring on Krvavec (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
Snow-covered mountain tops (Photo: Lovro Ozmec
Valleys beneath Mt. Triglav (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
Flying over Triglav (2,864m) – the highest mountain and symbol of Slovenia (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
Above the Upper Sava valley (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
The Drava river on the Austrian side (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
Tri Cine – the symbol of the Dolomites – sometimes it is possible to go even further (Photo: Luka Hojnik)
Among the clouds (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
Horses and the shadow of a glider on Belščiča (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
For tourists, and also often for locals, a flight above nearby Bled Lake is a must (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
Back to Radovljica and preparing to land (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
During landing (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
It's nice on the ground too, but it's even nicer in the air (Photo: Lovro Ozmec)
Gliders from elsewhere regularly visit the airfield. Every year it hosts male and female German gliders, who for many years have been spending their Easter holidays here and joining local gliders in the sky. (Photo: Luka Hojnik)
Guests staying in the Radol'ca area for a minimum of three nights are entitled to a free benefits card.