Updated: Jun 30
Pranav Kamat is an aerospace engineer from Bangalore. Pranav was fascinated with flying ever since his childhood and wanted to be a commercial pilot. While his career took him elsewhere, when he discovered paragliding, his dream of becoming a pilot came true.
Pranav now owns his own glider and most of his vacations end up becoming flying holidays. He recently did his first vol-biv adventure, where he flew with a friend to a remote hill and camped there for the night. When asked what changed in his life post paragliding, he says that it's not too much to say that paragliding gave his life a new meaning.
AP Quick 5-
1. The first place you paraglided - Kamshet, Maharashtra
2. Your go-to place for paragliding in India-
Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh
3. Your dream destination in the world - Oludeniz (Turkey), the Alps, and Dune de Pilat (France)
4. Your favourite Instagram account related to the sport - Flybubble and Fly with Greg (YouTube)
5. A book/movie on the sport that you love- Thermal Flying by Burkhard Martens
AP: What got you first interested in the sport?
Pranav: I have always been fascinated with flying ever since childhood and wanted to be a commercial pilot. But instead of that, I ended up pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering and a career in designing airplanes rather than flying them! Three years later, I chanced upon a blog post from a friend who had just had just finished her basic paragliding course at Kamshet, detailing what an amazing experience she had. I immediately signed up for the same course and took an instant liking to paragliding. My dream of becoming a pilot finally came true!
AP: How did you start out? What was your first experience like?
Pranav: I started out at Indus Paragliding school at Kamshet. They have a wonderful team of instructors who make sure you are safe and answer your every question patiently. After a couple of days of ground handling and bunny hops, I had my first flight. It was a thrilling experience that made me feel like a free bird!
AP: What changed in your life after you started paragliding?
Pranav: Everything changed. Pursuing paragliding became a top priority in life. I started saving and investing money not to buy a car, but to spend on paragliding. All my vacations became flying holidays. My friend circle was soon full of pilots. The more I practiced flying, the more I realized I have a lot to learn. I started reading about flying and weather. The thing about paragliding is that once you get serious about it, you dedicate a lot of your life towards it. It's not too much to say that paragliding gave my life a new meaning.
AP: Who do you usually go paragliding with? Pranav: I visit Bir every flying season in October. This is the time when most pilots from all over India congregate at Bir for flying. We make groups and fly together and stay in radio contact. It's a lot of fun to fly with friends!
AP: What are some of you favourite moments while playing the sport?
Pranav: My recent vol-biv adventure where my friend and I flew and landed on top of a remote hill and camped there for the night :) We carried in our harness our tent, sleeping bag, mattress, food, water, a stove, coffee and everything we needed for the night. Sunset, coffee, camp fire, starry night, shooting stars, hot breakfast the next morning... You get the gist :)
AP: Any good stories to share?
Pranav: I have always had a good experience outlanding in some of the fields around Bir. The villagers, especially children, are thrilled to see someone fly to their village. They come running to the landing spot, offer help in packing the glider, offer chai and lunch at their home, and even call a taxi for you! The people there are very sweet :)
AP: Till when in the future do you see yourself paragliding?
Pranav: For a long time! As long as I'm physically able to, I will fly.
AP: What would be some advice you’d give someone who’s just starting out?
Pranav: Paragliding is an easy sport to learn the basics of, but hard to master. Don't be in a hurry to progress, as this will result in mistakes and injuries which could take you out of the sport for years. Read a lot and know your fundamentals. Hear everyone out but you make your final decisions. And most importantly, don't forget to have fun!!
Follow Pranav's paragliding adventures on Instagram at @pranavkamat
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