Bir Billing: paragliding in the Himalayas
India... a country with gigantic flight potential. One of the most famous spots is without doubt Bir Billing. This small Tibetan colony is located in Himachal Pradesh, at the gateway to the Himalayas and a stone's throw from Dharamsala and home to the Dalai Lama. We invite you to join our course in this superb region to discover: Distance, Altitude and Bivouac Flight for intermediate pilots.
In October, when conditions become anemic in Europe they are perfect in Bir: wide and generous thermals making it easy to cover distance. Ceilings can be high: exceeding 4000m is common. In addition, the ridge connecting Dharamsala to Mandi, south of Bir, offers many areas where to rest and spend the night. A perfect way to acclimatise to the altitude but also a rare possibility to discover the life of people in the altitude rice paddies.
During the course you will have the opportunity to aim for long flights: 30, 50, 80kms, to challenge or exceed your personal altitude record and above all to experience the magic of a unique and precious Bivouac Flight.
Finally, perhaps we will have the opportunity to take you to the rear of the massif, to fly the mythical "BackSide" where the ceilings quickly reach 5000m...
Beyond the numbers of kms and vertical metres, we will take you to the heart of an extraordinary human adventure.
Group: 5 persons maximum
End of the flight day after a beautiful cross country flight
What is included in the course?
- Supervision and teaching by a qualified paragliding instructor familiar with the region
- Group transfer Dharamsala airport - Bir (if your flight is delayed we will organise your transfer to Bir, *not included in the price)
- Accommodation (on B&B basis)
- Bir: Double/twin room (*supplement for single room) in a comfortable hotel with hot water and wifi
- Bivouac: In a furnished tent under the stars
- 5x transfers to take-offs from Bir - (small taxis for 4 persons with bags in the roof box)
- Group transfer hotel in MacLeod Ganj - airport
- 1 night in a comfortable hotel in Dharamsala (possibility to visit the palace of the Dalai Lama and to rest before the return journey)
- Flights to Dharamsala: we advise you to fly there (via Delhi) because even if the bus or the taxi from Delhi are less expensive they are still very tiring and... dangerous.
- Lunches and evening meals (approx 5-8€ per meal)
- Everything that is not listed as included
When you make your reservation we will send you a detailed technical description of your course where everything is clearly explained!
If you need equipment please consult Our Shop
Bivouac at sunset
The objectives of this trip are rich and multiple:
- Discover India and its extroadinary flying potential
- Possibility to fly magnificent distances
- Discover bivouac flight and its specific organisation
- Fly at altitude
- Flight in the Himachal Praddesh mountain range
- Prepare for more engaged expeditions thanks to the teaching and advice from your instructor
In short this trip is a discovery of oneself, of others and a leap into the world of flying adventures!
The unique Himalayan paragliding perspectives
The name "Himalayas" makes many pilots and/or mountaineers dream. It is true that flying in a foreign country and more precisely in a legendary massif is a powerful and enriching experience. However certain essential principles should be observed in order to enjoy your stay and optimise your flight safety.
You need to arrive with an open mind ready to accept the differences and be aware of them. Here isolation, commitment and estrangement are words which have a different dimension from that commonly accepted in Europe. Changes in pace, food or accumulated fatigue can make the flights more demanding.
It is therefore vital to consider these factors to be honest with yourself and with your instructor about your physical and mental state. The safety margins must be increased because accidents are more difficult to manage here.
- To use a wing that you master perfectly, testing your new fashionable "gun" is not recommended
- To have folded up your rescue parachute recently and to have checked the extraction
- To have a fairly light harness that allows agility on the ground (inflation, resting, transport...)
- To arrive having completed a few hours of flights with at least one flight of 20kms or more, to be comfortable with flying at low speeds
- To arrive rested and in good physical shape. We will fly for several hours each day, sometimes at high altitudes, which exhausts the physical body as well as the mind
- Do not hesitate to cut your flight short if you are not feeling well and to take the time to carefully spot your "get out landing site"
- To reduce the volume and size of your luggage as much as possible: beyond the technical sheet that we will send you, do not hesitate to ask for advice
Morning take-off to join the vultures
As soon as you set foot on the tarmac at Dharamsala you will understand that the adventure begins here at the foot of the Dauladar, this imposing massif which dominates MacLeod Ganj and home to the Dalai Lama. A 2.5 hour transfer on a small "lively" roads to Bir (1500m).
The first days allow to accustomise to the site, its aerology and its culture. A 45mins transfer on a "very Indian" road leads to the take-off (2500m). Several orientations are possible and even if the ground had been restored for a World Cup series, it has deteriorated somewhat. It will be necessary to find a place among the dozens of pilots. Keep calm and smile whilst flying!
Once we have recovered from the journey and the jet lag, we will take a flight with a rest stop at the "Golf Course" to drink a Masala Tchai (milk tea) with a shepherd before taking off again. An excellent way to comfortably practice flying at low speeds.
Then we will leave for two days of bivouac flight.
The bivouac site is located about twenty kilometres south-east of Bir. The rest spot is on a wide ridge with a good breeze. We need to arrive a little early before the heart of thermal activity. This allows time to get to know the locals and prepare for an evening soaring. The night is spent in a furnished tent. The next day, depending on the groups wishes and mood, we can try to push to Dharamsala and back to Bir, which is a good 100km.
Once acclimatised, we hope to help you fly over the first high peaks of Himachal Pradesh, located just behind Bir; commonly known as the "BackSide". A transition requiring precision will be necessary but this challenge is the access to ceilings commonly reaching 5000m.
And finally, rather than taking a taxi, we propose a final cross country flight to land at the gates of MacLeod Ganj, the "little Lhassa" in the middle of large oak trees and rhododendrons. Take advantage of the afternoon to stroll in the alleys which are reminiscent of the Thamel of Kathmandu. One night in a comfortable hotel allowing recovery before the return journey.