SIV in Bilaspur!

New Plan, new Site….Yipee !! Nothing excites pilots as much as flying a brand new site. We were on the roads again in the Dhauladhar Himalayas, listening to Papon singing “prem Baba, prem Baba, Jaya Mahadeva….” among other soulful tracks. New Destination – Bilaspur, Himachal. Travelling with your friends and flying in the magical Himalayas is the stuff dreams are made of.

SIV (Simulation de Incident en Vol) Course over the gorgeous Lake by the River Satluj, right in front of a high Launch. India’ very own SIV site. I had last flown here over 18 yrs back, when I had just begun flying. I won the first ever Paragliding Championship in India held at Bilaspur, 1995. Happy to be back here to conduct an SIV Course.

On launch for our second round of high action flights but we were soon surrounded by clouds and curious onlookers from the nearby village. Bandla, a tiny mountain village with a population of around 500 odd people, is your launch site. In a cluster of houses closer to the take off, we soon found ourselves to be their house guests.
We couldn’t believe our luck as the family of ten brothers & sixteen sisters invited us to stay with them. We settled ourselves a la “Seven Samurai/Sholay style”. Kids would curiously run around us while the women folk would check us out through windows. Rohit Bhaduria got his guitar to sing some melodies to edge off a memorable evening.

Our hosts were simple folks, generous of heart, happy and deeply curious about what we were all about. Tha Bandla hill top, surprisingly had a Government Higher Sec. School, catering to over 700 students. The School had a Volleyball court that now catered to under the weather paragliding pilots who played like teenagers on steroids, hard & competitive. Although it was great fun but our bodies ached like we’d been to war.

Big thanks to all the star players – Rohit B, Rohit K, Karthik K, Vistasp K, Bhavik P, Shyam Advani, Shanker, Remy B, Ganpat N, Jeetu C, Ganesh G, Ankush T, Manoj, Jyoti T and not to mention our Local hosts led by Shri Balakramji. Not to mention our Sports Analysts from Holland David K n Rebecca.

Morning briefing about the SIV Tasks had everyone excited and all gung ho about Full frontal Collapses, B-Line Stalls, spirals n Wing-overs but our weather gods had a different plan. Ever optimistic like typical pg pilots we were on launch and when the patience gave way, we were back to bashing balls in the volleyball court.

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