Wednesday, April 7, 2010

05. First lesson

Bir, India

Prior to taking our tandem flight, Bruce gave me my first paragliding lesson at Dhelu, an easy paragliding area about 20 mins taxi from Bir.

Delhu - 01 - Practice spot
Dhelu practice ground 

There’s a hell of a lot to learn. I think of a paraglider as being like a giant kite with dozens and dozens of strings. So first step after unpacking the chute is to make sure the strings aren’t tangled.

Delhu - 04 - Matt Bruce
Checking the brake lines 

The goal of my first lesson was to do a forward launch, which is what you do when there’s no wind – you need to run forward to generate enough wind to lift the paraglider above your head. Once it was up I’d just keep running and running down the hill, steering it slightly if need be, and occasionally taking little air-steps as I’d slightly lift off.

Delhu - 08 - Matt takeoff
Getting the chute up 

Easier said than done of course… sometimes I’d get running and it would drift to the side and into the ground.

Like learning any new activity, there’s a lot to think about and it’s just a matter of practising and practising until you don’t need to think and it comes automatically. I’m nowhere near that yet.

After the lesson a shepherd walked his flock of sheep and goats past us.

Delhu - 03 - Shephard
Shepherd and his flock 

The shepherds here spend their whole day amongst their flock and the sheep seem very obedient. He’ll just whistle and tongue-click and they’ll follow – no sheep dogs necessary. I suppose it’s because the sheep see him as the leader of the flock, not like in NZ where the farmer will just boss them around from paddock to paddock every now and then, using barking sheep dogs to keep them in line.

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