Paragliding

Adventure Travel Blog Magazine

October 2015

Contents

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Why is Billing one of the best paragliding sites?

  1. After the southwest monsoon that drenches the region during June-September, tropical anti-cyclonic conditions continue for a number of weeks in autumn (October – November), making paragliding possible on all days.
  2. The region features good thermals and light winds.
  3. The Dhauladhar overlooks the plains offering several safe landing spots.
  4. Paragliding over Bir-Billing unfolds a bird’s eye view of the parts of the Indian Himalayas.
  5. Bir and Billing host annual national and international paragliding and Himalayan Open Paragliding championships during autumn.
  6. Billing is suitable for vol-bivouac, which means “fly-camping.” The vol-bivouac paragliding involves gliding using wind and thermals and trekking with self-support equipment generally for long periods. This type of paragliding requires elaborate planning and excellent skills.
  7. The site is an excellent venue for cross-country (XC) paragliding. For example, the out-and-return flight to Upper Dharamsala is of about 90 kilometers. The pilots who have mastered the art of thermalling can easily do this.
  8. Billing offers high altitude flying opportunities for over 200 kilometers.
  9. Tandem flights are allowed in Billing, enabling (wealthy) tourists and travelers to experience free flying with little knowledge of the aero sport.
  10. Professional Israeli and European paragliders explored the site in late 1980s and early 1990s respectively and enjoyed free flying. Since then, Billing has received scores of paragliders. The Swiss paraglider Jean Oberson confirmed suitability of the site in an experiment completed during 2007. http://www.soaringmeteo.ch/birbilling.pdf
  11. In 1992, Xavier Remond, the French pilot, created a world record of an out-and-return flight of 130.9 kilometers. He started from Billing, flew to Dharamshala, and landed at Bir.
  12. In April 2009, Debu Choudhury, the famous Indian paraglider, completed a record out-and-return flight of 211 kilometers from Billing.
  13. Billing is one of the top ten paragliding sites in the world.

Where can I rent paragliding gear in Billing?

Billing does not have paragliding gear rental facility. Bring your own gear for hovering over the lofty Himalayas.

Best and safe paragliding season

Autumn is the best and safest season for paragliding in Bir-Billing and the neighborhood, because true thermals dot the sky.

Rare incidences of ban on paragliding for security reasons

Sometimes national priorities take over the interests of travel tourism sector. This has happened in Bir and Billing twice in recent past. According to various national and local newspapers, the government of India imposed a blanket ban on aero sports in October 2010 due to security threats of aerial terrorist attack on Common Wealth Games’ venues. The ban disappointed the foreign and the Indian pilots who had arrived in Bir or Billing to practice and participate in the Himalayan Paragliding Championship.

In May 2012, the paragliding ban in the twin villages was re-invoked for security threats to VVIPS and VIPs attending the Indian (Cricket) Premium League (I.P.L.) matches held in Dharamshala. The ban affected local tour operators who had already sold paragliding packages and the professional pilots who were practicing for the Asian Paragliding Championship.

Be prepared for these unwanted interruptions in today’s world where terrorist attacks are becoming common.

Paragliding in 2013

Loads of action is planned for October 2013. You can watch professional national and international paragliders participating in the competitions and performing acrobatics in the sky, enjoy a tandem flight, and / or learn the aero sport.

Pre-World Cup Paragliding-2013 Championship

The 7-day Pre-World Cup Paragliding-2013 Championship, a cross-country event, will start on October 24, 2013. This year, Billing Paragliding Association (B.P.A.) and State Tourism Department would jointly host the event. About one hundred professional pilots from around the world including thirty-two from India would compete for the championship.  The prize money ranges from INR 40,000 to 250,000.

Security measures

The hosts plan to offer better safety options for the participants. A medical team, rescue team, helicopter, and ambulances at the site would facilitate efficient management of any untoward incident.

Paragliding acrobatics show

During Pre-World Cup, a paragliding acrobatics show is also planned for the first time. Many seasoned free flyers would also glide over the Himalayas.

Free flying during championship

Free flying is allowed. However, the launching site would be closed for free flyers during the take-off period earmarked for the paragliders participating in the championship.

Entry Fee

Euro 120 per participant

Online Registration

Registration closes on September 15, 2013.

Download the form from

http://www.prepwcindia.com/registration.html#.UiMbln_Y QnQ.

Paragliding International Championship & Himalayan National Paragliding Championship 2013

The Department of Youth Services & Sports H.P., the Department of Tourism, and Aero Club of India would organize Paragliding International Championship and Himalayan National Paragliding Championship 2013 in Bir and Billing from October 21 to 26, 2013.

Registration Fee

US$ 100 for a foreign participant

INR 1,000 for an Indian participant

Registration Deadline

Complete registration formalities before October 20, 2013.

Useful Websites

Department of Youth Services & Sports H.P

http://himachal.nic.in/yss/

http://himachal.nic.in/yss/pdf/YSSCalender2013_14_A1b.pdf

Paragliding International Championship

Bir-Billing, India-2013 (FAI -C-II)

Himalayan National Paragliding Championship 2013

(21st October to 26th October, 2013)

 

Paragliding routes

Billing to Bir

  • Fly to the southwest of Billing for landing in Bir.
  • This is probably the shortest flying route.
  • Dharamshala is in northwest of Billing.
  • About 45 kilometers route that includes flying along the Dhauladhar’s main ridge takes about three hours.
  • Fly from Billing to Dharamshala
  • Take a bus or taxi from Dharamshala to Mcleod Ganj.
  • Walk for an hour to reach Magic View, the take-off point.
  • Fly to Taragarh, about 35 kilometers flight requiring about two and a half hours.
  • Phoola Dhar / Phula Dhar / Fula Ri Dhar (2,425 meters / 8,000 feet) lies in southeast of Billing. Phoola Dhar near Dalosa (Delaosa) Village, Mandi District is also called 360 Camp because it lends itself to panoramic views of the Himalayan ranges, including Dhauladhar. The 15-kilometer distance requires about one hour’s paragliding. Fly to Phoola from Billing.
  • Glide to Taragarh.

Billing to Dharamshala

Billing to Taragarh via Dharamshala

Billing to Phoola Dhar to Taragarh

Billing to Manali to Bir

A seasoned paraglider can complete Billing-Manali-Bir journey in one day. Manali is in northeast of Billing.

Tandem flights / Tandem Paragliding

Tour operators offering tandem flights

Hi Fly offers tandem paragliding services in Billing. The price of “Billing High” flight covering 10-15 kilometers in an hour is INR 4,500 per person. The flight is available during October-Mid November. Check contact details at http://hi-fly.in.s113112.gridserver.com/?page_id=16.

Himalayan Sky Safaris organizes bespoke tandem flights and safaris in Billing and the neighborhood from mid-October to mid-November. Contact for quotes http://www.himalayanskysafaris.com/page9/page9.html.

Sterling Adventures / Billing Adventures of Himachal arranges tandem paragliding trips in Bir and Billing, Visit http://billingvalley.com/Contact%20us.htm for the contact information.

Golden Eagle Paragliding Club: The price of a tandem flight starts from INR 2,500 for half-hour. For phone numbers, please visit http://www.geparagliding.org/contact_us.html.

 

Paragliding Training

PG Gurukul, a paragliding school run by the famous Indian paraglider Gurpreet, offers courses for all levels of paragliding enthusiasts. The training fee starts from INR 10,000 per person inclusive of equipment and instructions for a three day course. The courses are conducted in Bir during October-December. http://www.pgindia.net/gurukul/

Paragliding Terminology

A paraglider is a folding airplane (canopy) allowing an individual to enjoy a free flying and stay aloft like a bird. The word “paraglider” also refers to the pilot managing the canopy.

A tandem paraglider, bigger than a solo paraglider, features two “seats”: one for pilot and other for “passenger / pillion,” a non-paraglider.

 

“To put your life in danger from time to time…breeds a saneness in dealing with day to day trivialities.”— Nevil Shute

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