Interview with women paraglider and entrepreneur sharmila sharma



Have you ever imagined that human can fly like a bird in the sky? Nothing can beat the thrill of being up in the sky, flying like a bird in the thermals enjoying over spectacular landscape, view of snowcapped mountain, pristine lakes and verdant valleys like nowhere else on the earth. Yes, all of this is possible through paragliding, one of the recreational and competitive adventure sports has been vouge in Nepal since 1995 and the sport is getting even more popular. Soaring high above with the hawks and enjoying incredible views of the Himalayan peaks from this vantage point is an experience one will never forget. Relating to the various aspects of paragliding, Pariwartan khabar has talked with one of the women paragliders in Pokhara, Sharmila Sharma who has been involved as women paragliding pilot since three years. She has also been working as paragliding businesswomen since seven years pursuing two paragliding companies as open sky paragliding and just one year back flight easy paragliding in Pokhara accordingly.

Here are the excerpts of the interview:

How do you simply introduce yourself?
I would like to simply introduce myself as one of the adventurous women who believes that women equal participation in adventurous activity is possible and inevitable. I have also involved in two paragliding companies. Each company comprises six pilots meaning to six fleets while providing license by the ministry. Similarly, one need a permit from CAAN (Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal) taking the membership of NAA (Nepal Airsports Association).

How do you exactly define paragliding?
In simple language, paragliding is the flying in the sky for the purpose of pure entertainment having glider without using engine. As duck and chicken can not fly but vulture can fly during whole day in the sky. Thus, with the help of glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure, fabric wing and the pressure of air entering vents in front of the wing and the aerodynamic forces of the air flowing over the outside along with the condition of thermals can help to paraglide.

As a guest who are capable to enjoy paragliding?
As a guest between 5 to 16 years, one must take authority from the parents as provided by the rule of the government. Beside pregnant women, people with normal health condition can fly. As paragliding is a sort of sports in general, comfortable sports costume having long sleeves is required.

What type of weather is suitable for paragliding?
Paragliding is such an air sport which is totally depend on the weather. Raining is worst condition when paragliding is almost not possible. CAAN has provided with us 10 to 4 afternoon time for paragliding. Particularly during the rainy season of June/July, paragliding is adversely affected while throughout the whole year paragliding is possible. Thus, September to February month is suitable for paragliding.

What are the safety measures to be taken while paragliding?
Specially talking about safety, small explanation is not enough as it has different branches. We are very much focused on it. Regarding to this, we have already prepared for extra rescue parachute in case of emergency. At the same time, visibility, weather condition, pilot skills, guest support are pertinent to have safety flying.

Is paragliding safe in Pokhara?
Safety is our first priority and we are making plans according to this. If weather is not supportive and in case of lacking in safety measures, we have cancelled paragliding without taking any charge. Beside this, we are always committed for safe paragliding at any cost. Talking about this, paragliding is safe in Pokhara which is the commercial hub coming into top five place in the world for paragliding. In order to make paragliding safer, NAA is preparing to go through legal paragliding companies and their pilots. We cannot fly without insurance which comprises the insurance of the company itself, vehicle, gliders, guest as well.

What is the exact time duration of paragliding? How long one can fly?
Normal flying includes 15 to 30 minutes for paragliding. However, one who likes more adventure, we can recommend them for 35 to 60 minutes or around an hour. Super cross country flying of more than an hour is also possible depending on suitable weather condition. I have also gone through such by solo flying which go for 1000 hours during 18 months in total. At that time, I have reached to Baglung crossing five districts from Sirkot of Shyanja. As paragliding is entirely based on air pressure, I have experienced 5 minutes to 4 hours flying too. International race of 100/200 kilometers also occurred while one can fly across the country. Pre-world cup, Asian cup relating to paragliding have also been organized in Nepal as well. Regarding this, Nepal had won a silver medal in paragliding in the Olympic held in Indonesia last year.

What is your message as a women paraglider relating to Visit Nepal 2020 campaign?
Nepal is a mountainous country and we can bring new adventurous activities in Nepal. It is possible as well. Relating to Visit Nepal 2020, we are committed for manageable and secured paragliding providing quality service. At last, I would like to say that we are in favor of managing sustainable paragliding after the establishment of International airport in Pokhara. As Pokhara is brand for international level of paragliding, I want to kindly request all to feel the lifetime experience by paragliding in Pokhara.

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