Our last flying day at Billing

Our last flying day at Billing


Then the last flying day dawned and after two days of staying within familiar surroundings  I was focused and ready to head out again but this time keeping the rules of the game in the fore front of my mind.

At take off I decided to fix up my talk back but Steve told me he would rather have me listen that talk – ( that man has known me for years and must have thought – if we make it that easy to speak she will do all the talking)

XC to Big Face – We all took off gained height and headed out for the first ridge and then the Red Temple. Hiren headed back to Billing from there, Dwane landed out at Sansal but Steve and me kept going.  There were clouds at the back on the main range and our plan was to keep going up to the Big face (11 odd km away) and stay ahead of them using their lift.

With one more ridge to go before reaching the big face I had a mother of a collapse and then another 40 percent asymmetric and the thought that came to mind was ‘I want to go home now’ but since I did not have the talk back at my finger tips I was reluctant let go off the brakes to voice my thought on the radio. A few moments later I processed the info and realized that my wonderfully stable good natured DHV I  Airwave Mojo 2 had held me in good stead opening out with a strong determined sound.  Besides it all happened so fast that I had no time to get spooked.

I calmly continued to head out but have to say that I was ambivalent. We got to the Big Face and edged past the side. It was covered with thick clouds. I was jubilant but had lost height on the last leg. I scratched about for a while but there was not much lift on the mountain side and I was in no mood to head closer to the cloud buildup behind so out I went and Steve reluctantly followed me.  I had spotted a valley full of terraced fields beyond and my sense of preservation made me home in for them.

Kids excited to help you pack

I’m getting comfortable with the business of getting out over the valley scanning for power lines and other hazards and landing in a safe place by the road and that is precisely what we did. A large bunch of children greeted me, helped me to pack and carried my glider up to the road to a well placed chai ( tea) shop where we all waited for taxi to take the conquering heroes  –  well that’s precisely how I felt  while crossing the last ridge and making it to the goal. Guess we will have to leave the return from Big Face to my next trip.

The journey back from Big Face by cab was wonderful. Through forests, paddy terraced valleys and through a few streams. Back at Bir Dwane and Hiren were all packed up and ready to leave. Tomorrow I head back home too.

The XC course was an amazing experience. Steve is a great teacher and it’s wonderful to be able to explore and push your boundaries with an experienced teacher showing you the ropes, allowing you to take your own decisions while laying down the rules and keeping an eye on you.

To see more pictures check out the Nirvana Adventures group at

Peace Bliss & Happy Landings

Astrid Rao

Author: Astrid Rao

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