Aviation recreational activities in Nepal

Posted on by Biju Shrestha

The history of skydiving dates back to 1797 when the Frenchman Andre-Jacques Garnerin made a successful parachute descent using a canvas canopy and a small basket tied below the hot air balloon. Since then skydiving has taken over as one of the adventurous activities to be performed. Sky-diving in Nepal started from 2008 that will give you 360 degree view of the greatest Himalaya of the world.

Aviation in Nepal dates back to 1958 when the flag carrier of Nepal, Royal Nepal Airlines (now Nepal Airlines) started its operation with the aircraft, Douglas DC-3 from one and only international airport of Nepal, Tribhuwan International Airport of Kathmandu. Later in 1996, became the special year for air sports as the company Avia Club Nepal lead by Mrs. Natasha Shrestha started its operation with two weight shift Russian ultralights “Biman” with Rotax 582 and 503 engines under Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry. Since the establishment of CAAN (Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal) in 31 December 19987, it started looking overall of aviation field. Since 1998, paragliding also started from Pokhara as tourism business widening air sports in Nepal. Nepal Air sports Association (NAA) was established to manage air sports but ultralights were controlled by CAAN whereas NAA focused in paragliding and have conducted paragliding championship and pre-world cup of paragliding under FAI requirement.

In 2007, training school of ultralight was established to produce Nepali manpower to work in Nepal. Inthe same year engineer Bikash Parajuli built the first aircraft of Nepal “Danfe” which was an ultralight aircraft. Similarly various air sports activities like paramotor in 2011, start of hang glider in 2015, Gyrocopters in 2017 had been conducted as well as is in operation, expanding and marketing the tourism as well as air sport business in the country.

Ongoing Activities:

Paragliding

Paragliding in Nepal started since 1998 from Sarangkot in Pokhara providing astounding view of the valley. More than 60 paragliding companies are licensed to operate paragliding in Pokhara making it “City of Air sports”. In Pokhara CAAN has separated 3 paragliding zones: Sarangkot, Toripani and Mandre Dhunga zone with their landing point at Khapaudi, Chankhapur and Pame area respectively. Mandre Dhunga is used for Paragliding training whereas other 2 places are used for commercial purpose. Sarangkot is one of the Top 5 best place for Paragliding in the world. Now in Kathmandu also paragliding has started. One can experience the tandem flight at Godawari and Lapsephedi inside the capital of the country.

Hang Glider

Hang Gliding is done in an aircraft called hang glider which is launch by foot by the pilot or the launcher in air without an engine power. The hang gliders are made up with aluminum alloy and are equipped with modern flight control systems. Test of hang gliders were done in 2013 and was officially started from 2015 by Avia Club Nepal. It hass freshly introduced new Air Sports Activity in Nepal. Currently 2 sets of hang gliders are available in Nepal. Speed can reach upto 80km per hour at maximum altitude of 10,000 feet above. It provides you an opportunity to have bird eyes view of cities, mountain as well as other natural beauty.

Ultralight

Ultralight is lightweight aircraft having 1 or 2 seats with maximum takeoff weight of 600 kg or less which have single engine and fixed landing gears. It came into practice since late 70’s and early 80’s when people tested by adding engine to hang gliders. Air sports in Nepal started with ultralight aircraft by using it for sightseeing purposes and gradually using it for photography, scientific research film shooting, documentaries etc. It is based in Pokhara with Avia Club Nepal, Pokhara Ultralight, Fishtail Ultra Flight and Heli Air Nepal being authorized organization to operate the ultralights. The flight includes different sightseeing around Pokhara valley from different height level according to package. “Weight shift” and “3-axis”, both types of Ultralights are available in Nepal.

Gyrocopter

Also known as autogyro or gyroplane, gyrocopter looks like small helicopter. It uses an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and an engine-powered propeller, similar to that of a fixed-wing aircraft, to provide thrust. It can be operated in windy and thermal weather condition and can fly closer to the ground. Heli Air Nepal has started gyrocopter flight, initially providing sightseeing tour as ultra lights.

Skydiving

Started in 2008 as an extreme aerial adventure, Everest skydiving is one of the most unique experiences in the world. It is done from a plane or a chopper from the height of 23,000 feet onto the world’s highest drop zone at Gorak Shep, Kala Patthar or Ama Dabam base camp at 15000 feet. The skydiving takes place in front of Mt. Everest(8,848 m), and the free fall takes place past some of the world’s highest mountain peaks making it the outrageous skydiving throughout the world. The entire event takes 11 days that consists all kind of adventurous activities like hiking and mountain climbing. The jump itself is of 3 day event with cost estimated of around $22000 to $25000.

Following the success of the Everest Skydiving, standard form of skydiving was started in Pokhara from 2010 for those who want it less extreme and at reasonable price. It was started with partnership of Everest skydive with private domestic airline Tara Air. It is held at Pame Danda drop-zone, west of Phewa lake leaping from the height of 11000-13000 feet with scenic view of various Himalayas. It is a 8 day event.

Both Everest and Pokhara skydive will consist both solo and tandem jump  providing the lifetime experience of having to experience free-fall and 360 degree view of the great Himalayas and natural scenes of this beautiful country.

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An Aviation Enthusiast