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Τελευταίες 5 Αναρτήσεις Paragliding And Aviation

Κυριακή 20 Ιουνίου 2010

Hold on to your thermals: The British paragliders offering tours of the Himalayas

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These incredible pictures show a unique bird's-eye view over the spectacular Himalayas that for the first time ever can soon be enjoyed by anyone.

A group of acclaimed British paragliders have become the first to offer tandem tours over the stunning mountain range through their sky safari concept.

These images show Sir Jim Mallinson, 40, John Silvester, 50, and Eddie Colfox, 41, successfully running trials of their new venture - which opens at the end of the summer through their company Himalayan Sky Safaris.

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Pilot Debu Choudhury flying low over the Himalayas in Bir, India. The group of British paragliders have become the first to offer tandem rides over the mountain range
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I can see for miles and miles: Riding on thermals - upward currents of warm air that keep the paraglider airborne - passengers are taken on one route for 27 miles to Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama
It means people with no experience can hop on board and soar between a lofty 2,000m and 5,000m - alongside golden eagles and skimming snow-capped mountains.

Adventurers follow set itineraries and fly as far as 50 miles, swooping over hidden villages and remote temples all nestled within the breathtaking landscape of the world's most famous mountain range.

Jim, a Sanskrit academic from Malborough, Wilts., masterminded the idea and made it a reality with the help of pals John, a professional paraglider who lives in Snowdonia, Wales, and secondary school teacher Eddie, from Bridport, Dorset.

'As long as you can stand up then you can do this,' said James. 'People of all shapes, sizes and ability can now strap into the paraglider with a trained pilot and have this experience that previously could only be enjoyed by those with the training.'

In a sky safari travellers begin their journey from Taragarh, Himachal Pradesh, India, and make their way to Billing where the flying begins on day two.

Strapping in to the paraglider with their guide, the tandem flyers take off from a high beauty spot at Billing.

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Like a coloured bird against the rock face, pilot John Silvester glides past mountains in northern India

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Pilot Gavin McClurg flies low over a mountain village. Due to the area's complex weather systems, the safari is only available for mid-October to mid-November

Riding on thermals - upward currents of warm air that keep the paraglider airborne - passengers are taken on one route for 27 breathtaking miles to Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama.

Jim said: 'During the safari we take off from high points and land at other safe landing points at altitude. The idea is you do as little walking as possible - using the skies as much as you can."

After a short transfer to another take-off point, participants are then treated the following day to more flying - 21 miles back to Taragarh.

In another package, customers can choose as their half-way base the 'sky camp' - a stunning location high in the clouds near Phooladhar.

'The skycamp is really unique,' said Jim.

'We fly to it, stay the night in a stunning, wild location in considerable comfort, and then fly on somewhere else the next day. We take off and land right next to the camp.'

The team and their staff offer tailor-made itineraries between one and four days, varying the hours of flying or the locations using knowledge built up through solo flights over the past 15 years.

But due to the areas complex weather systems, the safari is only available for mid-October to mid-November.

"It's after the monsoon and before winter so you get good thermals that let you reach the locations on the safari.," said Jim.

Eddie said: "It's an incredible thing to experience. We have flown alongside huge vultures just three or four feet away. It really is a bird's-eye view of a wonderful region.

"Using paragliders you can get to areas that are unreachable using any other type of transport.

"In just two hours we can take you into the Manali valley system, an area of outstanding natural beauty that takes over 12 hours to reach by car. It's the Chamonix of India and something that should definitely be experienced from the air."

James added: "We've been flying in this region for a long time and we have developed a safe way for people to get involved in something unique.

"We have decades of experience between us and John is regarded as one of the best paragliders in the world."

A master of his sport, John holds the British distance record for paragliding from Snowdon to the Severn Bridge.

He said: "We're looking forwards to having holidaymakers come and join us. We can give people a real taste of the region in high-end local hotels and experiencing something they have never done before.'

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