DAY 1 : Panchgani Paragliding Tour 2016

DAY 1 : Panchgani - 
TemplePilots Squadron drove early morning hours & were quick to get airborne from Harrison's Folly. It was great to catch up with Club pilots Badari Duddupudi & Alok Mihani & we took to the skies along with Sachin PathareJitendra ChindaliyaAkash Shelar & moi. There were a few other pilots from Australia & we all set course in different directions. The inversion was at 2500' meters, nice n brown and Alok n me had set course over Marley ridge towards Satara. It was very soothing to see small pieces of dry leaves n straw rising up in thermals which were pretty generous at higher altitudes. I was cruising low at 1600 meters on average with partial headwinds from South East. Transitions were tricky at this low a level given the terrain contours n headwind but timely thermals helped. Turned around short of Satara and was looking to get the advantage of the tailwinds. I was at 2500 meters in the last thermal before turnaround again to face headwinds from North East now. Great but thankfully cruise level was between 22 to 2600 meters as I headed to Mahabaleshwar. Interesting leg but keeping my average speeds at 30/35kmph.
Flew with grumpy Alok (turned XC Shark) for sometime who had problems with starting from harness to GPS to radio to spotting me. We flew for a bit together while I headed to Mahabaleshwar n he trailed a bit. Meanwhile Sachin & Jets had their best Panchgani flights jumping n transitioning several ridges around table land. Jets flew over 4 hours n Akash ( both Panchgani first timers ) battled thermals to their tops. I made my last leg from Mahabaleshwar back to Panchgani & ended the 80+km long, I guess, flight by scratching at Eco Camp n Sydney Point. The predicted Westerlies never came and I had to head to the boat club for landing. 
The unique landscape, the silence of the skies and floating under your lovely wing is an experience that surpasses all words. Its an intimacy with nature and an exploration of your own funny self.
We have now been joined by Kanan ThakurJaydev PageAnuj Puranik & Omkar Kulkarni and the day is looking good. Missing a lot of you here n up there...




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