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adventure
Aerosports
THE LOVE OF FLYING

Standing in a swaying but secure gondola, many meters above the earth, suspended below a colorful canopy filled with heated air, slowly drifting, surveying the panorama of plains, farms, forests, rivers, deserts and cities - this is the ultimate fantasy! Despite its apparent fragility, a balloon is a very safe and secure adventure experience. Tethered ballooning or full-fledged expeditions are available in India.

Hang gliding and Para sailing are the newer adventure experience. Man has always longed to fly: dipping and wheeling at will: soaring over hills and valleys and rising slowly, silently with thermals like the birds. Except during the monsoons, hang gliding is safe throughout the year; so is Para gliding, which is safer and easier to learn. Training programs for tourists is available, among other places, in the Don valley.

India is fast emerging as a major aero sports destination. The long Himalayan range contrasted with the vast desert landscape offer opportunities for activities like Para Sailing, Para Gliding, Hot Air Ballooning, and Para Jumping.

Apart from Billing in Himachal, there are numerous other excellent locations and facilities for gliding at Kangra, Dasauli, Dharamshala, Satra, Sinhgarh, Shimla, Pune, Kamshet, Mhow, Indore, Mysore, Ooty and Shillong.

For those who want the thrills nearer home, Para sailing is the name of the game. Available at Safdarjang airport, the enthusiast can, without any risk, under an open parachute swing in the air through the aid of a special rope hooking it to a jeep. As the jeep moves, the parachute opens up taking the flier high up in the air.

They also offer a view of the Taj Mahal from a balloon. Imagine treetop flying near the Samode Palace or the Shekhawati region in Rajasthan with lovely overviews of the colorful desert landscape dotted with small villages and camels.

At Water banks, the lakeside Swiss camp near Delhi, have interesting activities like rafting, ballooning, Para gliding etc. in their package. Solang valley near Manali is one of the most popular sites for PARA GLIDING.

The Solang slopes offer one of the best Para Gliding flights. PARA SAILING has been a regular sport at Billing in the Kangra valley. Other areas coming up for this sport are the Nilgiri hills in the South and the Eastern Himalayas in Darjeeling/Gangtok area.

Wanderlust has also launched a BUNGY JUMPING project, the first ever in India. INFORMATION General Costs: Approx. Rs. Ballooning: Rs. 900/-for Tethered flight (12 minutes). Para Gliding: Rs. 3000/- for Free Flight (01 hour). For more details and information On all the above activities you May contact: Wanderlust Travels Pvt. Ltd. M 51-52 Palika Bhawan, Opposite Hotel Hyatt Regency, New Delhi - 110 066.

TOUCHING THE CLOUD BASE


India, with its vast Himalayan ramps complemented by ten months of clean blue skies, is an ideal paragliding country with the advantage of offering gliding for nearly the whole year at different sites.

Para - gliding is the latest aerosport to take the world by storm. The origin of the sport dates back to 1940 when an aviation pioneer, Dr. Francis Rogallo filed for a patent for his flexible Delta Kite. But it was not until the early 1980s that parachutes were foot-launched regularly from hills. Since then this sport has been rapidly expanding. Thousands of people all over the world have found this sport convenient, sheer fun and a safe medium of soaring in the air.

A Para-glider is a simple aircraft, but in common with all other aircraft it is, in fact, the result of complex and painstaking design. It is a specially designed square parachute along with a harness attached by lines and is made of ripstop nylon which is specially coated with polyurethane to ensure zero porosity. The canopy is constructed of a top and bottom surface joined by number of vertical segments - the resulting chambers being called the cells. The opening at the front is called the leading edge. When the canopy is fully inflated, the cells take up an aerofoil shape with a fattish lower surface and a curved top surface. The rear of the wing is usually called the trailing edge.

The other important section of a Para-gliderís canopy is its lines. These are made of a very strong material called Kevlar and are usually encased in an outer sheath of nylon or similar material. These risers connect the canopy lines to the harness. The riser connecting the trailing edge are called the control lines and is the most important segment of a Para-glider. The control lines lets the pilot manoeuvre the movements.

A Para-gliding canopy is different from that of a skydiving canopy. A Para-gliding canopy is an inflatable wing. One of the major factors that distinguishes a Para-glider canopy from a free-fall canopy is the material from which it is made. The para-gliding canopy is made of non-porous material (like ripstop nylon or polyester) which lets no air pass through it, whereas the skydiving canopy lets air pass through it. The canopy of a para-glider is square in shape. On the other hand skydiving canopies have different shapes.

The para-glider weighs only 6-7 kilometers and folds into a back pack and so can be packed and unpacked in about 8-10 minutes. The para-glider a portable aircraft, is easy to learn and is safer to fly. The entire training programme for para-gliding consists of theory lessons in safety rules and precautions, lessons in aerodynamics with the special emphasis on theory of flight, air safety, maintenance of the para-glider canopy and meteorology. Exhaustive ground training is the most important part of the course.

With a vision to make India the leader in para-gliding, there is a need to train and have more and good pilots. Over the past three to four years - to put India on the world map of para-gliding-many training courses were organized. Several organizations like Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, Himchal Pradesh Tourism Corporation and a few other private clubs have pitched in their efforts to train a number of people. A sizeable number of people are now capable of flying solo and have taken up the sport regularly.

Thanks to the efforts of these organizers the dreams of the Indian para-gliding pilots of walking on air and soaring like a bird are beginning to be realized. Visitors at places like Auli in Uttar Pradesh, Sansar in Jammu and Kashmir, Bilaspur, Solang Nalla (Manali) and Bir-Billing in Himachal can regularly enjoy the sight of para-gliders flying in the sky. It is like a bag full of wonders when the pilots take off for the flights. The skies turn into a painted canvas. Never before has such a scene been created in the Indian skies before.

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