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Early in the morning at 6:30 that day, my first ever ultralight flight as a pilot, I took the steering in my hands and soared over the astounding Himalayas. It was my first mountain flight training. I clearly remember how excited I was. My instructor introduced me to my dream and I learned to fly through the challenging atmosphere of the mountains.
I had always dreamt of flying an ultralight. I used to watch the videos and imagine what it would feel like to be the one piloting the ultralight and experience the scenic view myself. I always told myself that I would one day fly to those places, and I did.
When we were heading towards the Himalayas, I got more and more excited. Since flying near the mountains is a challenge in itself, my instructor beside me was constantly reminding me to concentrate on flying but I was getting distracted by the beauty of the snow-capped Himalayan range that laid ever so gracefully below us. Since I belong to Pokhara, I grew up in the laps of the mountains but the view left me mesmerized that day.
We headed north-east towards Mount Lamjung (6,983m). On my way there, I could see Sikles and Khilang villages; it looked totally different while flying over those places. When we reached near Lamjung Himal, I could see a glacier lake from where the Madi River was flowing.
I saw some kind of patches of snow falling from the mountains. The more it rolled down, its size kept on increasing. I asked my instructor what it was; an avalanche, he said. He also said that it was a rare view and we were lucky that we got to see an avalanche. It was like icing on the cake for me.
After that we flew towards Mount Machhapuchre (6,993 m). The Himalayan range was a feast to the eyes. Many wish to see the beautiful mountain ranges and I was no exception. I felt really lucky and proud to be able to fly across those mountain ranges steering the ultralight with my own hands.
As we reached the Machhapuchhre Valley, I handed the controls to my instructor and was really thrilled to watch the stunning view underneath. I saw the Seti River and the Valley with spiky rocks and some beautiful scenarios. Some pilots even call that place a circus, I don’t know why though.
I took back the control of the flight and we flew towards the Annapurna South (7,219m). We crossed the Mardi Himal Base Camp where people were waving at us. We flew above the Machhapuchhre Base Camp and over the Annapurna Base Camp where the mountains were snowier. Then, we decided to land the flight as we were already flying for over 70 minutes; though it felt like few minutes to me.
On our way back, we flew over Sarangkot and World Peace Pagoda (Stupa). Then we did few steep turns over Fewa Lake and requested for landing. My first flight came to an end. There were many flights after that but that first flight will always be the special one for me.
I have seen so many happy passengers during my career. Some had even burst out in tears after seeing the amazing view of the Himalayas. And I always get reminded of my own first experience.
- Captain Surendra K.C.
Pokhara Ultralight Pvt. Ltd.