It’s time to go back to the basics. And to watch the pros at it, is even more fun. Between them, these pilots probably have over 70 years of flying experience. But when they decided to make a day of groundhandling, it was with all the gusto that beginners have for first flights (it was extremely contagious).
So 6 pilots headed out one morning, with even more spectators to watch the fun. With French pilot Bastien around, it promised to be entertaining. (Try and make your way to Nirvana in the next couple of months just to watch him fly!). While the pilots geared up, the rest of us got rid of the slight chill by basking in the sun.
And what a trip it was, watching them was so much fun, it makes you want to do as much groundhandling as you can. But it should definitely come with a warning. “These stunts are performed by professionals, please don’t try this at home”. As one pilot got on to anothers’ shoulders, all the while controlling the glider and then jumped off onto the ground landing gracefully on his feet, the rest of us watched in awe. This stunt is called a Totem by the French, and a disaster when the landing is not so graceful (of course sending the rest of us into spasms of laughter).
You can never do enough of groundhandling, and watching these guys definitely inspired me. See if you can wrangle a demo from them whenever you make it to Native Place. And, of course, next time you are at the guesthouse, stroll down to the pond in the garden to check out the new additions to the Native Place family. You’ll see some guppies and mollies floating around, and a homemade “porcupine fish”. Only request, please don’t feed the fish!
The last week was definitely a good time to be at Native Place. Where else would you be able to say cheers in 3 different languages? Yamas in Greek, Skal in Swedish, and Sante in French (we’re yet to figure out the Hindi version for it). The Swedes and the French (from the Reunion Islands) made sure the house and Tower Hill were buzzing with energy.
Conversations ranged from schools in India to the ones in Sweden, eventually drifting to religion, customs and the ever-present confusion about the bindi. However, although their size might say differently, the Swedes were dwarfed by the French in making their presence felt around the guesthouse. After spending a whole day at the paragliding site, their laughter and singing (yes, singing) continued till pretty late in the night. Some of them needed to catch up on their sleep in the daytime, and found incredibly comfy spots!
Other than the great laundry fiasco (ask Angeliki when you see her), the staff also survived through the week despite the major language barriers (sign language does work). It is going to be quiet around here for a while, unless some of you are planning to visit. Now is the time to get to Kamshet as the weather is changing. There is a nip in the air (which we are sure of since we say the Swedes putting on Jackets), and the days a sunny and clear with visibility for miles. So hurry and get here since, hopefully, winter is coming.
Crackers, chaos and craziness. That’s what Diwali was like this year. Did I mention craziness? 25 paragliding students, lots of family and add a couple of Europeans to that mix. But so much fun.
The week began with Laxmi Puja and fireworks, food and an air of festivity. The Raos led the Puja with everyone singing along, and Jannis and Angeliki looking extremely confused.
This week also saw the return of Doc and Emil to Native Place. And students from all over the country. We had group from Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, everywhere…Have you ever seen an assembly line? Well, this is what a paragliding assembly line looks like.Shinde hill was a madhouse, with 15 students being launched from take off on a single day, a complete circus. But the energy was contagious as students ran back up the slope on the adrenalin of first flights.
My favourite part was standing near the landing and watching their faces as they come down. The range of expressions seen is priceless. From massive grins to “WHAT AM I DOING?!”, you see it all!
Heading back to the house we’re in for a surprise. In the bathroom, we had to look out for the fish and not the frogs. The common loos have been brightened up with a bunch of eclectic fish swimming around the walls, with the occasional fish swimming against the current. So make sure you take a pee(p) when you’re here.
The Nirvana Team is happy to announce that we have received formal Clearances for Recommencement of Paragliding Operations at Kamshet from the relevant authorities and NOTAM’s are in place for the new flying season which commenced recently.
Our sincere thanks to the District Administration, Security Services & Indian Air Force Base - AOC & ATC – Lohegaon - Pune for their kind support and co-operation.
Area of Flying is to be restricted to 5Kms Radius of Takeoff (18′ 44 52’.31”N 73′ 32 33’.88” E )
Time of Flying is from 0800 hrs to 1900 hrs
Altitude Limit is 5000 Feet / 1525 Metres ASL
The NOC granted requires the Operator who has been authorised at the location to take daily formal clearances from the ATC - at commencement of operations and advise on close of session.
This is not a blanket permit for the sites we fly. We request all pilots to make sure that the daily clearance for the appropriate sites are in place before they fly at Kamshet to avoid any issues.
Further more All Pilots will need to advise the the Operator who has the NOC and have to provide all their ID’s / Licenses etc before flying . Over and above this all pilots may have to take police clearances as required.
We would request all pilots respect this requirement as this is one of the primary conditions set by the Security, Administration & Defence while granting clearances from a National Security & Safety point of view.
All Pilots who are soaring must have a Variometer so they can strictly observe the ceiling granted and carry the appropriate Communication Equipment so they are in touch with the authorised operator under whose clearance they are flying .
All Pilots must note that we will also be sharing our airspace with Hot Air Balloons who we need to co ordinate with and will now be operating in the same flying area and similar altitudes. Apart from Helicopters who use VFR and will be flying regularly in the airspace above us with minimum safety altitude of 6000 Ft AMSL .
We must always remember we are now legally flying in Restricted Airspace that belongs to the IAF. As responsible citizens n pilots we must adhere to all the restrictions imposed to fly safely.
All Pilots must understand that we have to respect the limitations strictly as we are all responsible to keep the skies open for paragliders and violations could lead to us losing this privilege and are required to be reported to the respective authorities.
We wish you all a very Happy Diwali & look forward to sharing the sky with you :-)
Peace, Bliss & Happy Landings
Yes, I have a ridiculous tan, but it’s just there to remind all of you how much fun it is to fly even if you are baking in the sun. Either way, Colin’s red face should be distraction enough!
Yup, this weekend saw a ton of pilots back at Native Place set to open the paragliding season with gusto. (And also a teensy hope of shooting stars, which we did see, although 4 was the final count). Dr Satish was at Tower Hill with his brand new tricoloured wing. The Ozone Mojo 4 was a beauty to watch at take off, and even better to fly according to its pilot.
The flying continued all morning, with pilots going back for more flights as the wind welcomed everyone back in the air. The only small disappointment was the amount of development at the base of Tower Hill. So make sure to scope out the landing field and get a brief from the Fly Nirvana crew before you take off.
And of course, the party went on back at Native Place, with the hope of seeing some more shooting stars, but hopefully we’re luckier next time (there’ll be an update on Facebook for the next meteor shower). And it plans to continue this week with Jannis and Angeliki back at the house!
They’re heading to the paragliding site with us soon, as the conditions continue to stay beautiful for some ridge soaring (and some brave attempts at thermalling from me). Who is joining us for the next parawaiting session?