Air sports like paragliding are becoming highly popular among the new generation as they seek adrenaline rush along with an experience of flying in the air. Paraglider Gurpreet Dhindsa, a certified paragliding instructor from the British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association, tells about his love for the sport of paragliding in an interview. He also shares some tips for first timers who might be scared of taking up the sport.
1- How did you develop this passion for paragliding, especially at a time when it wasn’t recognised in India?
Passion is like love… you don’t develop it, it happens. The day I took my first flight it felt like I had arrived, I was home. Being a recognized sport or not was not in equation… nor was making money of it.
2-Please share any unique experience during your flights.
It’s been my life for over 2 decades, there were many experiences. But overall it has enriched my life, made me aware of gift of being alive by scaring me sometimes, brought me friends, took some friends from me. If someone wants to hear stories, they can come to Bir and bring good single malts (he laughs).
Also Read: Hip hostels across India for travellers
3-What is the best time (in terms of seasons and months) to go for paragliding in India?
For Bir, it is October to mid-December and March to May. For Western Ghats, it is from November to March.
4-Which locations in India do you recommend for someone taking their first tandem flight?
Any site… just choose a good pilot. Research, don’t go by words!
5-Any special tips to share with first-timers who are afraid to try the sport?
Why live in fear? But having said that, don’t do it for others or for image… do it if you want to.
6-What kind of equipment check should be done before flying?
As a tandem passenger: Wing certification tag, weight range reserve available, condition of equipment.
As a student: It’s a more thorough check that you’ll learn in your course.
7-Which all locations in India have you flown in?
Going North to South: Spiti, Manali, Patnitop, Bir, Bilaspur HP, winch launch on Punjab and Paramotors, Mt Abu, Dak Patharr in Uttrakhand, Naukuchiyatal, Pithoragarh, and Almora in UK Dirang in Arunachal, Narmada Ghats near Mandu, Saputara and Pavagarh in Gujarat, Kamshet , Panchgani, Kohlapur, Goa and Vagabond in Kerala.
This is in India… I have flown lot of places abroad too.
8-Apart from the places already covered, is there any other location on your mind to go flying?
I love flying at new places. Always willing to check out new places
9-Do you have any recommendation for places and/or institutes for those who wish to take training in solo flying?
I run a paragliding school myself, so it’s unfair of me to recommend or not recommend other schools.