Friday, October 31, 2008

Flight to Dharamsala

Thursday I launched to fly to Dharamsala 42km to the NW. However I landed 7km short - almost landing in the middle of a military base! From the air the large green field with "H's" on it looked very appealing. As I flew over other paraglider pilots radioed me say that they had landed there and had been surrounded by 20 armed soldiers and interogated for two hours!! It is relatively close to both China and Pakistan here - so there are SOME sensitivities. (Flight path in orange in map below)

Video from early in my flight:

At one stage of my flight I was flying with Himalayan Griffon Vultures - magic!
From Travels

One of our group crash landed in trees high on a ridge top - this entailed a rescue with a very late night for everyone.... See map below in "Day Two" for crash location
From Travels

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday 29 October

Today dawned perfect with a high cloudbase - so plans were made by some to fly to Manali. However, the lift proved slower than anticipated, so people headed towards Dharamsala. I spent too much time trying to get above the mountain behind launch (eventually getting to 10,500 feet!) before heading west. Five in our group made it to Dharamsala - including Lucy. They have decided to stay overnight there, and fly back to Bir tomorrow....
From Travels
Billing launch.

My total flight time today was two hours 50 minutes (Green line in map below)


Today dawned rather overcast, so the decision was made not to go flying. Instead we went exploring up into the gorge above Bir, where we found a waterwheel powered flour mill. Along the way we passed lots of locals carrying hay on their backs.

On the way back to Bir we bought fireworks for the Diwali festival - this is the start of the Indian New Year, and is celebrated with LOTS of fireworks.

From Travels
Julian preparing fireworks...

From Travels
Afermath of Diwali - the "string thing" is a VERY loud banger. In NZ you would need an explosives permit to set these off! We nicknamed them "nuclear bombs"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Day two in Bir

Flew east to the Camp 360, then back along the ridge. In several days time it is planned that we all fly to this place, land, then "camp" overnight. Tents and food will be awaiting us - so it's not exactly Vol Bivouac.

From Travels
Lucy near Camp 360

I landed at Galu village, only five km from launch, but a 20 km drive! The field where I landed immediately filled with children, and shortly after I had landed a taxi turned up! They must keep an eye on low flying paragliders and then swoop on them when they land! The taxi cost 400 rupees - about $12!

From Travels

View Larger Map The flight took two hours and 45 minutes - blue line

That evening there was a wedding celebration at the place where we are staying - and we were all invited. Traditional wedding celebrations in this part of India have separate parties for the bride and groom! The men all dance together all very unashamadely - it was lots of fun!

Day one in Bir

Today's first flight is to the "Golf Course" where we do a top landing
From Travels
Golf Course. The first flight took exactly one hour - and ended with a rather ungraceful landing.... It is called "Golf Course" because from the air it looks like one! When we landed we were greeted by a group of immaculately dressed children who were tending cattle.
From Travels

New Delhi

After 28 hours of travelling I arrived at New Delhi and meet up with Lucy
From Travels

Video of traveling around the streets of New Delhi on a rickshaw:

Free flying at Canungra

Sunday dawned perfect - so a group of us decided to go off free flying.
From Travels
Beechmont was the destination, and we were soon in the air skimming underneath the clouds.... Unfortunately the clouds dissipated and I was on the ground in the Kerry Valley. Three other pilots laned near me on a very quiet country road and eventually we all got rides into Beaudesert... One of the features of Beaudesert is the "reverse-angle car parking"
From Travels

Monday dawned even better, and I headed off with six hang glider pilots to the Flying Fox launch. At 10:25 I was in the air and going up and on the start of a 42km tour of the Scenic Rim!
From Travels

I was joining up all the clouds and catching lift under each of them. eventually the clouds ran out and I landed on the main road south of Rathdowney.

Canungra Cup

The first day of the Canungra Cup dawned overcast and drizzly - nothing like a paragliding competition to awake the rain gods....

Day two was at Hinchcliffes launch - and I spent an hour scratching around in front of launch before heading to the bomb-out field....

Day three saw us heading to Beechmont, where we waited around in the drizzle. Eventually the drizzle dissipated and we launched into grey skies.... About ninety minutes was spent scratching around launch until I got sufficiently frustrated and headed south, only to land in a field of weeds with lots of seeds that stuck to anything and everything.
From Travels
Day four was fine and sunny with a light norwest, so we headed to Mt Tamborine. I managed to fly 11.4km - so I was happy to escaped the bomb-out zone....

Days five and six were wet and overcast or had thunderstorms forecast - so no flying...

Day seven saw us back at Beechmont in grey conditions. After an hour of frustration scratcing in front of launch I lobbed myself over the back hoping to catch a thermal but instead landed in the Flying Fox valley 100 metres short of escaping the 5km bomb-out zone...
From Travels
Day eight dawned brilliantly clear an saw us heading to Beechmont again. I launched in 6oth position, climbed out and immediately headed towards a thermal coming out of the Flying Fox valley. Soon I was pulling "big ears" to get out of cloud and I was on glide! 64km later I landed at Lake Moogera very happy!

Results and videos from the competition.
From Travels
Team Kiwi