Wingsuit flying has to be one of the most extreme sports out there. It’s picking up around the world, but despite India being home to the earth’s mightiest mountains – the perfect spots for wingsuit flying, not much activity is evident at the moment.
India’s best known wingsuit pilot Col Satyendra Verma knows how tough it is to be one. He explains, “The sport of skydiving, which is the basis of wingsuit flying, is yet to catch up in the country due to the issue of regulations, lack of in-house instructors, etc. Wingsuit BASE, which does not require any of these, has great potential due to the presence of the Himalayas, but then most pilots require military clearances to even explore, hence the slow movement.”
To be a wingsuit pilot, international standards require them to have had at least 200 free fall skydives in the 18 months prior to their first flight as well as one-on-one training with an experienced pilot. So to make this sport popular, sky diving needs to take off first. According to him all we require right now is a professional training centre for skydiving and we will be “ready to enter laterally on the standards.”
Still, he is positive about the future of the sport in India. “The feeder system of skydiving should be ready in the next couple of years, and by that time, wingsuit technology would also have improved. We will be ready to enter laterally on the standards,” he says.
While he admits that wingsuit flying requires painstaking reconnaisance, permissions and planning, if he had to pick the top place to engage in this extreme sport in the India, he points to the Himalayas with all certainty.
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