Talking through my hat...

    If there's something about paragliding that surpasses every form of human flight, it's that exuberant feeling of freedom. Never ever have we flown so free. The birds do it, the bees do it, so why shouldn't we?

    In keeping with its spirit, paragliding is free of  regulation. There is no red tape to bind us and like other extreme sports like white water rafting and hang gliding which thrive in an unfettered atmosphere, we are all the better for it.

    Of late a dark cloud has appeared in our clear blue sky. A few  greedy people want to control paragliding and insist on offering us help we do not want. This motley bunch of  instructors, dealers, travel agents, out-of-work publishers, commission agents, sellers of web services and others, some of whom have never flown a paraglider before, are offering to protect us from the DGCA!

      They claim that the DGCA will take over paragliding and kill the sport, which is quite untrue on both counts. The DGCA's attitude towards paragliding is benign and encouraging. In fact, when paragliders were on the negative list, all these worthies were nowhere in sight. We were the only ones to appeal to the authorities; and the government, in the form of the DGCA and the DGFT, came to our rescue and permitted free import of paragliders. In doing so, they expressed their love for the sport. So if anyone brings up the bogey of the DGCA taking control of paragliding, we tell them that it couldn't be in better hands. 
    Authority in private hands is questionable, more so when  people who seek it  haven't a track record that's anything to rave about. Once we take their fig leaf away, our intrepid regulators have little to show  us. Wasn't it Benjamin the Donkey who said "God gave me a tail to drive away the flies, but I'd sooner have no tail and no flies"? So, if they persist, we must treat them with suspicion and examine their motives and anything else they might be concealing. Meanwhile, they can keep their tales and flies to themselves.

    Regulation is a two edged sword. There  was once a similar lot who tried to control the sport. All these unfortunate souls fell into the hole that they dug for all of us and  haven't been heard of ever since. It's poetic justice. There's another lot now, so we'll have to find that hole again....

    As long as there are no compelling reasons for regulation, we can expect the sport to evolve naturally. It is probably the only airsport in which we can really excel. We have everything we need - flying sites that are the envy of the paragliding community, inexpensive aircraft and training, the shortest possible induction into the world of aviation, and an environment in which we can use our brains rather than money or technology. When it comes to ideas, imagination and skills we are second to none, and paragliding is one area where we can shine.

    The future of this sport lies with those who love the freedom of the skies and they will find ways  to enjoy flying without encroaching on anyone elses  freedom. It might  be a very good idea for such enlightened spirits  to meet and share their tales of flying for, in the long run, the sport is theirs. We are therefore suggesting a forum opposed to regulation, or at least to regulation by private parties, and one that encourages interaction between all those who enjoy flying.

   No doubt, we can be democratic, and elect  representatives who will then proceed to rob, restrict and manipulate (generally screw us) while pretending to help us all the while. That way,  we would have a choice about exactly who will oppress us and curtail our freedom. But better still, we can do things Benjamin's way. Is it surprising that paragliders belong to that tiny minority of aircraft that fly without a tail? 


The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the membership of the WPA.
Any resemblance between the characters mentioned herein and living  persons (or partially dead ones) is intentional. The author however, iscompletely imaginary still reads his mail. 

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