I mentioned in last weekends blog about flying back to the parking and enjoying the sunset. what i did not mention was that the parking was strewn with litter – wafer, chewing gum and chocolate wrappers, plastic water bottles Macdonalds too – horrifying sights. It was not just the parking there was litter all along the path and even at takeoff. Alarm bells were ringing in my head but it was the end of the weekend and i was on my way back to the city. I thought about it all next week and realised it needed some immediate & serious intervention. So on Saturday afternoon we got to Shelar with garbage bags and a plan. white garbage bags were distributed among the pilots and students and black among the kids at the site. A competition was announced – black versus white or pilots versus the kids ( no prizes for guessing who won )
We collected 43 bags of garbage in one evening! Pilots lets be pro active – get your hands dirty and get the job done. Lets all pick up the trash and not wait for the next person. Believe me it gives instant results and intangible rewards.
Peace Bliss & Happy Landings
The hillside was burnt on Monday – notice the charred hillsides in the background of the pic. Luckily the main takeoff was spared so our gliders wont get sooty.
The wind at Shelar was bang on this weekend and conditions were buoyant not just by the ridge but all over and it was possible to sail about for hours on end. After some floating about, exploring different areas of lift and going where i pleased i headed out to land by the car park Colin landed soon after me and Rushikesh came in next. I sat quietly on a rock watching the sun slip behind the hills and the paragliders fade in the dying light. Soon Sanjay came by on the bike after the training session was done and we headed back home to Native Place.
Joel a gregarios Belgian pilot visited us for the first time and made the most of the lifting conditions. Arvind and Sam came over after a long break from flying and got started once more on the ground handling field. Hiren tells me that Sunday was a good day too with many gliders in the air and lift everywhere.
Peace Bliss & Happy Landings
Ravi flies tandem at his home site while a woman grazes her goats on the hillside On Saturday after taking the above picture I geared up and got ready to takeoff. The wind was perfect, Dwane had just taken off, and it was my turn next when I realized that my vario was missing. By the time I located it the tall grasses 20 minutes later the wind had turned very cross and I had to wait for more than half hour before I could get off the hill. Tired of waiting I decided to walk down and do some ground handling. I began to unclip and the wind got a bit better so I waited a bit happy with the idea of doing a top to bottom rather than walking down the hill. After takeoff I scratched about at the gully and many beats later perseverance paid off. I gained height and headed for the cliffs to investigate screeching Amur falcons making a serious racket high above. I was happy to watch them squabbling and roosting on the cliff-side.Piku came up on Sunday and it was good to meet and fly with him. Anand came with friends to fly and celebrate his birthday at Native Place. Colin, Richard and Sinchan were there too. All in all it was a good weekend. Peace Bliss and Happy Landings Astrid Rao
Crosswind dominated the long Easter weekend. The north wind component continued from the last weekend with a little more strength and stubbornness – consequently very little flying happened. Some of us managed to catch a window of opportunity and get airborne for a significant amount of time but one could actually see the cycles in action as a wave of pilots who had managed to get up one minute all drifted earthwards as the lift dissipated. Gokul who got up early when the direction was good took advantage of the north component and headed back to tower hill and the highway. While some pilots got top to bottoms or simply had to give in and walk down.Sunith who is now 13 years old accompanied us to the site and did some grueling ground handling in the hot sun. He was supervised by Vinya and as I watched their interaction memories of them playing together as children flooded my mind. Scenes from 10 years ago, running around barefoot in the sun, up and down the hills and fields along with the rest of the Shelar kids. Happy days, happy memories.I had been looking forward to 3 flying days and a lot of other excitement as well. The wind may not have blown favorably but there were other factors and incentives to keep us happy. We had just completed the first round of 100 courses with the air force, there was old friends Mike and gang at Native Place to catch up with, Steve’s staggered birthday bashes that went on through the week, an Easter egg hunt with Irene Anna & Stephan and the standard post breakfast cool off in the lake to look forward to as well.Peace Bliss and Happy LandingsAstrid Rao
The east west transition is complete and we now have a consistent west wind blowing every afternoon. Flying at Shelar is on as usual. Here are the highlights of the last few weeks.
Mother, daughter & hammock:
Captain Shyam came for the weekend in the begining of the month. At that point we were still moving between Tower Hill and Shelar. While he was away flying Anisha and Anaya enjoy a peaceful relaxed afternoon at Native Place.
A Pair of fledgling bulbulls fall out of their nest in the bamboo growing inside the central courtyard at Native Place and a few of us get to witness their parents give them thier first flying lesson.
Michael is back in Kamshet once more from Hong Kong along with Ian, Mark and Ben. Shelar Mama was mighty pleased to see an old familiar face and greets him with his inimitable gusto.
EP and CP batches in progress for the air force during the weke and all you wonderful people on weekends.
Peace Bliss & Happy Landings