@ the Native Place: Paragliding

Posted on May 31, 2008
The actual paragliding while pretty less in the amount of time was a lot of fun. It was hard work too.

Day 1 involved learning the parts of the glider and wearing the harness, opening the wing and setting it up. This was followed by about 15 runs from forward launch trying to hold the glider dead centre. Then we moved to a downward slope. By the end of the day, after carrying quite a few kgs for a few kilometres I was totally exhausted. Not to mention all the friction burns on the arms. So it was good that a hot cup of soup awaited us at home.

Day 2 was an early morning rise. Fortunately we went to a landing site instead of takeoff site at Shelar and practised a few runs. This was my first lift ( ~ 3 feet ) and also the first fall. At these moments when you first learn something there are so many things going on in the mind. Like riding a bicycle you keep doing a hundred things wrong or in excess or just not enough. Yogi kept telling everyone to FEEL the glider. And everyone was 'feel what? Is this some Jedi thing?'. But just like riding a bicycle some things slowly start to seep into the unconscious and muscles start thinking. By day 2 this was beginning to happen to some extent.

Day 2 in the evening was another set of runs finally followed by some bunny hops. By the end of that day I probably sustained permanent wrist damage due to lifting badly formed mushrooms and heavy paragliders.

Day 3 had the morning for theory. This involved watching a video about all the crap rules and conventions, stages and system of teaching/learning paragliding.

Day 4 had nothing important to say except that I flew pretty much perfect

Day 5 was a big day. First the written test for the P1 stage in which I managed to scrape a pass mark ( 16/20 ). The evening had pathetic winds which means we had about 3 bunny hops before we packed up and went up the hill to the 70m top to bottom launchpad. But the strong winds meant that we only got a tandem. Ofcourse I was allowed to use the brakes and bring in the glider for landing. But the view from the top was amazing, and the rush of air when skirting a ridge is worth its weight in gold. I'm going back ASAP!

Ofcourse since we didn't complete the required solo flights, I'm not a Elementary Pilot. All of us had a paltry 7 minutes of total airtime over 5 days... :(