Flight Safety Standards Department, Sinamangal has published a public notice regarding the recreational aviation operation in Nepal. The department says that the companies running recreational aviation activities such as paragliding must hold VALID Recreational Aviation Operating Certificate (RAOC) that is under the Rule 7 of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), Recreational Aviation Regulation, 2069 (revised on 2074).
Likewise, the paragliding companies must renew their RAOC each year which falls under the Directives 7 of Recreational Aviation Regulation, 2069.
If any companies regulate paragliding activities without valid RAOC then those flights will be invalid and no any emergency service will be provided in case of accidents. Flight Safety Department reports some paragliding companies operating beyond the standard regulations so, those companies are required to obtain RAOC and renew accordingly.
The Flight Safety Standard Department also requests public to check the validity of company’s RAOC before indulging in their paragliding activity.
Pokhara is the main hub for aviation recreational activities where more than 20 companies are operating paragliding at present. The peak season for paragliding is from September to November. The number of domestic tourist is also increasing as more than 40 % total fliers are Nepali citizens.
Paragliding accident is also frequent at Pokhara. On May 17, 2017 two persons including a Bangladeshi tourist were hurt in a paragliding accident at Sarangkot in Pokhara Lekhnath Metropolitan city.
On Oct.16, 2017 accident of eight paragliding flights of seven various companies was averted when a sudden vibrant wind pushed the flights toward Fewa Lake of Lekhnath-Pokhara Metropolis in Kaski district.
The number of accidents is increasing as learners, solo flyers and professional tandem pilots use the same airspace. The higher probability of accidents is in peak tourist season as it makes pilots difficult to conduct flight. Besides, the unpredictable wind phenomena which becomes vibrant in no time also enhances paragliding accidents.
Hence, the Flight Safety Standards Department must validate companies only if they fulfill essential requirements and must monitor their activities frequently.