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 Pathare
, Jitendra Chindaliya
, Akash 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.