Ever since our childhood, we dream of flying freely in air and soar high to feel like a free bird. Gliding is an excellent option for fulfilling that enthusiasm. The state of Himachal Pradesh is well known for offering adventurous sports like Para gliding and hang gliding that can take one into the world of freedom and fantasy.
Hang gliding is a sport that involves use of power utilized from the legs of the pilots. Instead of using thermal energy, as in Para gliding, this sport employs air current that is required to raise one's body from the ground. The pilot is tethered to a keel which has large blades. As he runs at an angle of 40 degree down the slope, a difference of pressure is created; air gets filled in the air-columns of the keel and this enables lifting of the glider in the air. Instruments like altimeter, anemometer, and variometer are fitted with the glider to keep track of the position and movement of the glider and estimating the accuracy of landing. For safety purposes, an extra parachute is kept in the glider. The average speed of the glider ranges between 15 and 30 kilometer/hr.
Safety Measures :
As this thrilling sport is carried out in open skies, a lot of safety measures have to be taken into account. The first and foremost factor that is absolutely essential to hang gliding is the accuracy of observation without which accidents and mis-happenings can take place. Another thing that has to be kept in mind is that maintaining a good altitude is also required for proper and safe landing of the glider. Willingness to cooperate and patience are the keywords to enjoy hang gliding. Physical fitness, mental alertness, and absence of any major ailments are some of the factors that decide the suitability of a person to experiment this thrilling sport. Excessive body weights can also pose problems in lifting.
In Himachal Pradesh, hang gliding is practiced at Billing which is a fine site for enjoying this sport. It is also the venue for a tournament of gliding. Other places where one can enjoy this sport include Intkali (Pabbar Valley), Kangra valley, and Bundla (Kullu Valley).