History of Para-Gliding and Hang-Gliding : Most of us have had dreams of flying at one time or the other. Psychologists may pose heavy symbolism on such dreams, but how many psychologist leave their stuffy rooms and offices to give a longing lingering look at the windswept hills or watch a hawk soar silently on gentle currents of study winds? We contend that an urge to fly and sour high in to blue silky sky is an end itself and mankind has always had a profound desire to chase the flying birds above.
In times past, this burning usage was thwarted by lack of flying machines, lack of money, lack of time and zeal. Not anymore. We now have new method of taking to the air that combines latest in technology with low cost and simplicity to bring the reality of flight accessible to everyone. Para-Gliders and Hang-gliders have made all this possible and brought about long cherished flying within reach of a common man and woman.
We fly through invisible fluid (Air) that must be understood in order to thoroughly know the capabilities and limitations of flying wings to gain control. Once one gains the understanding and masters the beginning skill, he yearns to expand the horizon by flying higher and further. Thus the newly trained pilot enter the new realms, where the dreams come true.
Today the state of Himachal Pradesh is playing a lead role in the field of Paragliding, in our country. One can see the skies of billing (Kangra), Solang (Manali) and Bandla (Bilaspur) over cast with colourful butterflies (Paragliders). Joy sides have become great attractions for tourists visiting the state. The credit goes to the State Government especially the department of Tourism, which has played a key role in promotion of Paragliding in the State.
Para-Gliding in Bilaspur : Before the year 1994, there was hardly any para-gliding or hang gliding pilot in Himachal Pradesh, excepting one, Roshan Lal Thakur from Manali, who had acquired some skill in flying from foreign pilots, often visiting Manali as tourist. Mean while R.P. Gautam who had come on retirement from Central Reserve Police Force as Commandant, visualized the vast potential in paragliding from Bandla mountain. To make his dream come true, he got in contact with Shakti Singh Chandel, the then Director Tourism and Civil Aviation, to extend all possible help to promote paragliding not only in Bilaspur, but also in whole in Himachal Pradesh. The Director Tourism, who himself belonged to Bilaspur, took keen interest in approving Bandla top as take off site, gave financial assistance to run para gliding courses for Bilaspur under Himachal Aero Adventure Institute Bilaspur, which under expert guidance of Mr. Bruce Mills from New Zealand and Alexi Garisimov from Russia, got the pilots trained. Thus Bilaspur was brought on World Map in Paragliding.
What is special about Bilaspur, which is not there in flying sites at other places, is that it gives you almost eight hours of flying time as against 3 to 4 hours maximum at Billing or Manali. More over it has vast and safe landing grounds on the bank of Govind Sagar Lake at LUHNU. From training point of view, Bilaspur can be considered the best in whole of Asia. It is laid down in the training manual that training in instability maneuvers during advance pilot course i.e. Dynamic Stall, deep stall, spiral drive, spin recovery, asymmetric tuck, front tuck and deployment of Reserve Parachute, should be carried out over a broad base of water for reasons. For this, there is hardly any place, where there is any huge lake just beside the landing site. Bilaspur has the privilege of having unique combination of Air Sports in one stretch, which is very rare.