While man has always been fascinated with flying, airplanes and helicopters have fulfilled his desire to do so. But if you really want to go off on your own, and not as part of a crowd, you should head for some super exciting aero sports in India. Aero sports, as a part of adventure travel (remove 'the' before this), have recently gained popularity in India. Take up any aero sport like paragliding, hang gliding, parasailing, hot air ballooning, bungee jumping or sky diving and soar up high in the air on your own. Aero sports are bound to give you the adrenaline rush you require and as you experience the thrill of soaring through the sky, you may also enjoy a bird’s eye view of the stunning nature beneath.
A number of places in the Himalayan and peninsular region offer ample options for aero sports. Listed below are various aero sports available in India and some important information including the destinations where you can take up these aero sports.
Go hang gliding - it's the closest you will ever come to flying like bird in the sky! Hang gliding is an extreme sport and can be done by anyone who has a little training. So strap yourself up in the harness, wing your way through the clouds and feel free as a bird...
For the ultimate adrenaline rush, jump off a plane and free fall down to the ground. Not for the faint hearted, skydiving is an extreme adventure sport and requires some training before your first jump. Gather your courage, strap up your parachute and get ready for the most exhilarating feeling ever!
View the world from the top and get a different perspective altogether of the land below. Hot air ballooning is fast gaining popularity as it allows you the opportunity to do just that. You don't have to be a daredevil, nor do you have to have nerves of steel- just climb aboard the wicker basket attached to the helium filled balloon and sail through the sky while you admire the scenery.
You have got to have a strong heart for this one. Brace yourself and jump off the high bridge or a cliff and enjoy the thrill of a free fall in bungee jumping. This sport is a must do for adventure enthusiasts!
Go paragliding, feel a rush of adrenaline, run off a cliff and float high above the ground to fly like a bird in the sky. It is an exciting sport and needs a few hours of training before you are ready to fly solo. So go on, if you have a passion for flying, this is one sport you have to try.
Strap up into the harness of your parachute, and get towed by a motor boat while your parachute lifts you high in the sky, and best of all no prior training is needed. Glide over the blue waters of the sea below and get a bird's eye view of the coastline - parasailing has become a very popular water sport in recent years and everyone should try it at least once!
When to go
By and large, summer is when the Himalayan sites- those in Himachal, for instance- are at their best; and winter is when the sites in peninsular India are best for aero sports. The only time aero sports come to a standstill is during the monsoon, when wind and rain can make it a dangerous activity.
Much more training is required for aero sports than for a number of other sports like trekking or swimming. Sports like skydiving, paragliding and hang gliding need a few days’ training, in which trainees are taught the essentials of rigging up and dismantling a glider, aerodynamics, air safety, wind and land conditions, and so on. Theoretical training is followed by dry runs, then by short hops which do not rise high in the air and cover very short distances. Even when you’ve learnt gliding, it’s best to go for short, easy glides in the beginning, and graduate to more difficult and higher ones later. Parasailing, in comparison, requires less training and can be enjoyed even by novices.
Physical fitness is top priority for anybody who’s keen on aero sports. You’ve got be in good condition, and not overweight. Suffering from vertigo is obviously a no-no when it comes to aero sports.
A few institutions in India offer training in paragliding and hang gliding and other aero sports. The length of courses varies, with private companies offering a short 4-day course which just about manages to get you flying. What’s recommended, instead, is a good course from a reputed association that specializes in aero sports training.
What to bring
Warm clothing and a windcheater are a must, as the higher you rise, the lower the temperature falls, and it can get quite cold. Make sure you are wearing sturdy ankle-support shoes, long trousers, and gloves. A pair of sunglasses and a liberal splash of suntan lotion are highly recommended too.
Whatever you need in the way of bedding and other 'essentials'- mineral water, food, medicines, etc- will depend upon where you’re going. Larger cities and towns like Bangalore, Mumbai and Manali have virtually everything you’ll need, but if you’re headed further out, to Billing and smaller places, it makes sense to carry stuff you can’t do without.