As I mentioned on the face book group the conditions for the past week have fluctuated drastically from strong winds blowing all day to weak no lift conditions.
I managed some long soaring flights lasting between 1 and 2.5 hours although the compression tried its best to keep me from taking off.
Visiting pilots Carlo and Nancy came in time for one strong wind soaring day and then the conditions changed face giving them the light wind, thermic conditions that they had wished for.
Witnessing them milk the conditions and make the most of each consecutive day was an inspiring experience and I simply had to share Carlo’s flying notes with you.
Carlo writes -
The first day we flew from Tower Hill. At first it was a little on
the windy side (we wanted some nice easy flying for our first
flights) but we enjoyed watching the ‘Acro’ brothers from Austria,
and others, showing off for a few hours whilst we para-waited. We
then enjoyed a very nice late evening soaring flight after the
wind abated (a little). Our first flights in India – hooray!
For the next days the wind was generally less, starting with a
soar able breeze at first with weak thermals, then the wind dropped
as the inversion broke and we got just what we wanted – light
winds and good thermals! This was the general pattern for the next
several days, with the winds getting lighter and lighter each day,
starting East in the morning and turning West by the evening.
We got lucky a few times and managed to get up in tricky climbs
(sometimes from very low!) to be rewarded with some lovely flying
and small XC flights around Kamshet. I was very lucky and managed
to fly around Kamshet on a couple of flights, getting to about
1800m ASL (6000ft), and then fly back to Sanjay and Astrid’s
place. On another flight I flew about 15km to the East of takeoff,
towards Pune, and then – seeing how built up it was in that
direction – tried to fly back again into wind, landing a few Km
short of Kamshet.
On Christmas day Nancy and I were thermalling together, climbing
up to 6000ft above Tower Hill, hollering “Happy Christmas” to each
other and laughing out loud. This was our Christmas present to
I also was fortunate enough to fly at Shelar, and had a beautiful
evening soaring flight enjoying the views with Henny, one of the
great bunch of Dutch pilots who were also in Kamshet at the same
time, also staying at Sanjay and Astrid’s guest house, Native
Carlo & Nancy
Peace Bliss & Happy Landings all through the New Year
Last weekend CNBC-TV18, ‘Business with Pleasure’, a show that features leaders of corporate India at their relaxed best joined hands with Nirvana Adventures to take TIML chief executive A.P. Parigi on a paragliding adventure. The site was Tower Hill Kamshet and the the focus was on achieving the dream of free flight.
Mr Parigi and Tanvir Gill anchor of the show spent an idyllic afternoon on top of the mountain along with paragliding enthusiasts discussing business and enjoying time out as they waited for the skies to become hospitable so that they could spread their colorful nylon wings and fly freely like birds in the sky.
Watch the show in the first weekend of the new year to see the action unfold.
The hills behind Native Place are an amazing place to walk about. Easy meandering paths through leafy arbors, interesting boulders, caves, streams, sun bleached grasses, stunning views of the lake below and the hills all around as well as the chance to walk about in solitude are some of the things that draw me up here.
The lake view site held no great attraction for me because the idea of trekking up with my glider did not sit well with me nor did a cliff launch. On a good day one can gain enough altitude to head out and pilots have made it to Shelar and even to Tower Hill from here but the access to the site is restricted as it is private land.
But Philippe our friend from Moustiers Ste Marie who visits us each winter loves the site and asked me to join him for a tandem flight. Nil wind, committed run’s ( from the both of us) and we were off. Clearing the cliff and watching the ground suddenly disappear was thrilling as was exploring our many favorite paths from the air.
We flew with the swifts and swallows in an orange sky. A great landing at Uksaan village followed by interaction with a bunch of curious village kids one of whom came up to ask me if I knew Sanjay Rao
Peace Bliss & Happy Landings
I spent the weekend in Mumbai and felt like my friend Paulo who went back to Italy after flying in India a while ago and messaged me saying his body was in in Italy and his heart was still in India. Well that is exactly how i felt this weekend. I spent thursday through sunday dwelling on flying at towerhill, the wind conditions, the garden at native place and my friends Steve, Suzanne, Severine and Jeremy who were up there while i was out here.
I met Severine and Jeremy a Swiss couple who were traveling with a tandem on a flying holdiay in India at Bir this October and was looking forward to catching up with them but sometimes things dont turn out how you want them to.
Anyways the picture above is taken by Severine at Tower Hill – I can see Steve, Sandeep, Robin and gang from the Swede group and there is Severine sitting below.
As Dylan and I drove up from Mumbai on Friday afternoon a grey cloud hung over the city and followed us up the expressway all the way to Kamshet. It reflected the mood of the city hanging low and despondent over us. The newspaper we were reading did nothing to cheer us and I put it down and called Dwane who was at the guesthouse and he said today is ‘Hemmakvall’.
What I asked ? what did you say? Hemmakvall he replied and I disconnected the phone thinking it was a bad connection and I was unable to hear him clearly.
It was the Swedish influence – what with a bunch of 18 Swedish pilots living at Native Place and one non flyable day already. They are back for the third time thanks to the wonderful air at Kamshet and the great food at Native Place, they had entered via Mumbai on the morning after the trouble began and were safely ensconced at Native Place
Hemmakvall I found out meant – stay at home and chill and apparently that is exactly what Dwane and Hiren were doing when we reached Native Place – Cleaning their gliders on the lawn under a cloudy sky, watching the birds and marveling at the strength of the wind as it whipped through the trees making an orchestra all on its own.
When Thursday’s strong winds did not do the usual thing of mellowing down in the evening and being hospitable to us pilots they resorted to Plan B – hemmakvall and what better place to indulge chilling out than at Native Place. Becca and Joel had come up from the city with Braydon their little son. They too indulged in hemmakvall as you can see from the picture above.
But Saturday evening had a surprise in store for us in the form of Sanjay’s impromptu plan – we pulled out all the XS and Kiting wings and drove across to an amazing spit of land for a full on kiting session. The scene was fluid and colorful a very impressionistic sight… 15 or us or more, Indians, Americans, Swedish, and French all sharing one little piece of land and the skies a few feet above. Kiting in strong winds is an exhilarating feeling and collectively our spirits soared. Hiren soon found his newly cleaned glider strongly attracted to a tree but it was rescued by Ravi who is also famed for his tree climbing skills.
On Sunday the winds were strong but not that strong. We were expecting it to calm down by the evening and it did. But thick stratocumulus cloud cover restricted the ceiling and flights were low, out and quick – what with a large, long awaited shower that ended the evening activities.
To see more pictures of our kiting by the lake click here
Peace Bliss @ Happy Landings