Paragliding in the small village town of Bandipur was a great privilage and experience. We walked up the side of a nearby mountain to our launching area which was a grassy flat slopping gently towards the take-off edge.
We arrived to launch area about 11:00 AM, but because of calm winds we had to wait for several hours before stronger winds and thermals started to form. The first solo paraglider got impatient and decided to launch before the conditions were good enough. For his impatience he was rewarded with a short ride catching no thermal updrafts.
The second paraglider, Alex, waited with us and when the conditions got better he prepared to take-off. He was a novice rider with about twenty rides under his belt. As he was just about to leave the ground he jumped up a little which caused slack in his lines collapsing the left side of the glider. From about twenty feet in the air he came crashing down into bushes and trees which lay just under the take-off area. My tandem pilot, Oliver, yelled out “Alex, are you ok!?” to which Alex replied after a small pause “Ahhh, ohhhh…, yeah I’m ok”. Oliver looked down over the edge where there was dense bush and muttered “Ah crap I don’t really want to go down there”. After a little hesitation Oliver made his way down to Alex’s crash site to help untangle the paraglider from the bushes and make sure he was not injured. After ten minutes they came back up trudging through the bushes with the paraglider. Alex was uninjured save a small cut above his nose, some bruises, and a hurt ego. The glider was undamaged and so he layed it out again, inflated the glider, got ready for take-off and soared into the sky with out a hitch.
This bull wandered by the launch site grazing on the lush grasses until he came across my instructor’s red paraglider bag. I don’t know if it was the colour, but the bull took a few charges at the bag knocking it over. Oliver grabbed some near by stones and started throwing it at the bull until it got the message and wandered off.
When Oliver and I were getting prepared to fly tandem I thought “Oh boy, nothing is without it’s danger”. He told me there is only one thing you have to remember on take-off “Don’t jump”! I got prepped, strapped up; Oliver inflated the glider, we turned to face the take off and we ran off the edge. I screamed “We’re flying”!
We landed in a farmers field below where severeal Nepali children came out and started helping pack up the equipment. Success!