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Old 4th February 2019, 02:47   #1
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Default World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

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Gliders, sailplanes, they are wonderful flying machines. It’s the closest you can come to being a bird. - Neil Armstrong
Well that's exactly what i experienced a week back at Hadapsar Gliding Centre Pune ! Located just few minutes away from the bustling Magarpatta & Amanora townships in Pune, this Govt of India owned property is open to public once a week on Sunday for joyrides while on other days its exclusively open for members only. You can also opt for a full time course over there.
  • Open to public only on Sunday from 9AM - 5PM.
  • Gliding depends a lot on weather condition, so number of flights per day can vary. It may happen that all flights are cancelled altogether for the day !
  • Although multiple gliders are taking flight, only one is open to public and the rest for members & trainees.
  • Each flight duration is around 4 minutes and time taken to bring the glider from landing site to launch site is another 10 minutes. So in a hour roughly 4 people can fly.
  • On a typical day, the number of flights can vary between 24 - 40 depending on time and weather conditions.
  • Be prepared to Q there early if you want to have any hopes of flying. We went there at 8:30 AM and our names were in waiting list ! Thankfully we are the only ones in waiting list who get to fly !
  • Be prepared to spend the whole day waiting ! Firstly the pilot came late. Then it takes a lot of time if you are in bottom of the list. Many people Q there from 7:30 !
  • While waiting for the center to open, be cautious of people who make their own waiting list, putting their name first. Form a Q and make entry in official registrar once the facility opens.
  • Tickets are given to the first 24 people and then if the weather is right and time is there, people in waiting list can fly based on their name in list.
  • It costs only Rs 187 ! Its government facility maybe that's why its so cheap. Picture of ticket is given below. Payment is done by them online in portal while you swipe the card.
  • Taking pictures inside office and touching gliders is not allowed. The hangar had posters having details of different types of gliders, clouds and many other things.
  • The glider is pulled from Hangar to the airstrip which is located on other side of the field.
  • Luckily cars are allowed near the launch site. Else its a long walk from office to that place.
  • Make sure to bring your own food & refreshments as apart from water nothing is available near office & launch site.

The gliders are pulled up using a winch located at far end of the runway. After getting airborne the rope detaches and one car brings it back to base. After landing, a ATV kind of vehicle pulls the glider back to base with one person gently balancing the wings by holding them from one side.



Well let the pictures do the talking !

Hangar & Admin Office
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7017.jpg

World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7018.jpg

Glider taken out in runway
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7032.jpg

World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7030.jpg

World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7031.jpg

Hangars
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7028.jpg

World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7021.jpg

World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7020.jpg

World's cheapest flight at ₹187 per person, all inclusive ! (approx $2.6)
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7033.jpg

Vehicle pulling Glider from landing site to launch site
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7024.jpg

World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7026.jpg

Vehicle which brings the winch rope to base
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7040.jpg

Glider getting ready for launch
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7046.jpg

Launch signal
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7029.jpg

World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7037.jpg

Airborne
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7036.jpg

Your's truly
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7051.jpg

Inside the cockpit
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-img_7048.jpg

It was a thrilling & awesome experience for me. Although we waited over 8 hours for this, it seemed to be worth it after the flight. In a typical commercial flight, you get only a small window to look out, here its 180 degrees of panoramic view through glass. The landing was so soft, will i dare to say more comforting than commercial flight. My Pilot was one chivalrous guy full of humor. You need to walk back from landing zone to base after the flight ends with your pilot.

Few things i will like to mention:
  • Avoid wearing tight jeans as you need to haul yourself inside the cockpit.
  • While in flight don't touch any controls ! Remember you are here for the joyride and not to be a co-pilot
  • Come as early as you can. If you Q 1 hour early, it may save many hours waiting for flight afterwards.

We left the place content with one item ticked off from our bucket list. Let me end this post by sharing other two videos i recorded.




Last edited by Samfromindia : 4th February 2019 at 02:58.
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Old 4th February 2019, 03:27   #2
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Default re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

Thread moved to Travelogues section, thanks for sharing
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Old 4th February 2019, 06:33   #3
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Default re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

Nice information to have. Thanks for sharing. The cheapest flight i had was in a hot air balloon and I'd paid ₹1k IIRC. ₹187 is is surely the cheapest flight in the world. Do you know at what altitude these gliders fly?
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Old 4th February 2019, 10:39   #4
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Default re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

Thats a wonderful piece of information. Thanks for sharing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samfromindia View Post
In a typical commercial flight, you get only a small window to look out, here its 180 degrees of panoramic view through glass...
You bet. These little ones are so much more fun. This brought back memories from 2016 when I got a chance to enjoy a similar joyride, but in a small chopper. It was near Adelaide(barossa valley). Some 50$ for a 10 min ride I guess.

A couple of pics I could find:

World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-12957450_1007499289285341_4141800744046457925_o.jpg

World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-12961263_1006762812692322_990145645860858056_o.jpg

Last edited by suhaas307 : 9th February 2019 at 23:06. Reason: Formatting and spacing
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Old 4th February 2019, 11:17   #5
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Default re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

Very interesting and thanks for bringing such a unique information. Nice little adventure to have in a bucket list. If you can also share the booking link, it would be awesome.
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Old 4th February 2019, 11:41   #6
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Default re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

I had done this back in 2008. The charges at the time were also Rs.187/flight. One of the very few things whose price hasn't increased in the past 10+ years.

Another thing that hasn't changed are the facilities, I distinctly remember being dehydrated in the heat, waiting all day in the sun.
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Old 4th February 2019, 12:39   #7
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Default re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

Very nice, glad to see you enjoyed it so much.

Gliding is so much fun, just to watch, go along for the ride as a passenger or as a pilot.

I started flying gliders when I was about 18-19 years old and still at naval college (late 70’s). I enjoyed it but I had a pretty serious mishap as well.

On my first solo the towing cable broke a few seconds after I had taken off. On this airfield there was sufficient room to land straight ahead. Which I did, but it was all a bit in a rush. So I came down hard. No damage to the plane, but somehow I managed to severely damage my back. I could not fly for months and by the time my back was fully mended I was about to go to sea on my very first trip as an apprentice engineer.

Fast forward to 2009 and I managed to get my PPL in the USA!

More than motorised flight, gliding is a more social engagement. It requires a lot of people to get one glider in the air. Typically as a glider pilot you would spend the whole day at the airport. Most of the days would be helping others, hauling planes, working the towing rope. Driving back and forth with people, towing rope, moving gliders around. Assisting at the starting line. And you would get to do 3-6 flights yourself, if you’re lucky. Depending on thermals of course, but a lot of glider flights are counted in minutes only. Although they can stay up for hours too, if the weather conditions are rights.

As flying goes, it is one of the least expensive ways!

In a single engine plane as the ones I fly know, you do not need anybody. I can pull it out of the hanger myself, fuel myself, pre-flight myself and just take off. All necessary interaction with others is on the radio. If that, as certainly in the USA there are plenty of fields where you do not need a radio either.

Jeroen
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Old 4th February 2019, 22:30   #8
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Default re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
Nice information to have. Thanks for sharing. Do you know at what altitude these gliders fly?
Thank You So many people are asking me the same question. I forgot to ask this to the Pilot. You can see the video inside cockpit to have an idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoumenD View Post
Thats a wonderful piece of information. Thanks for sharing

Some 50$ for a 10 min ride I guess.
Thank you. Lovely pics. $50 AUD is quite cheap, private choppers here cost a whole lot more !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thermodynamics View Post
Very interesting and thanks for bringing such a unique information. Nice little adventure to have in a bucket list. If you can also share the booking link, it would be awesome.
Thanks ! Sorry to say there is no online and pre-booking option. You need to stand in Q like everyone else and wait for your chance !

Quote:
Originally Posted by antz.bin View Post
I had done this back in 2008. The charges at the time were also Rs.187/flight. One of the very few things whose price hasn't increased in the past 10+ years.

Another thing that hasn't changed are the facilities, I distinctly remember being dehydrated in the heat, waiting all day in the sun.
Wow so inflation didn't hit this sector ! I understand your pain. However if you come there by personal transport it wont be a problem as you can always drive back to nearby eateries outside complex and come back again. However if there is none its a long walk from the entrance to the airstrip itself !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
Very nice, glad to see you enjoyed it so much.

Gliding is so much fun, just to watch, go along for the ride as a passenger or as a pilot.

I started flying gliders when I was about 18-19 years old and still at naval college (late 70’s).
Thank you sir ! Good to know so many things about gliders and their pilots straight from the horse's mouth ! In fact i was so excited that i felt like taking one of their training courses which they offer. However i need to check if time & budget permits for poor souls like me

Last edited by Samfromindia : 4th February 2019 at 22:34.
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Old 5th February 2019, 13:08   #9
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Default Re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

Great thread!

Have gone gliding several times @ Deolali. IIRC, the cost was merely 400 bucks a pop. Best 400 bucks one could ever spend. Was a little worried about the safety aspect, but the fact that it's on an army runway somehow made me feel okay. Here's a video shot by me. The view from up there - of Nashik city, the highway & the mountains - is breathtaking.

Last edited by GTO : 5th February 2019 at 13:09.
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Old 5th February 2019, 14:21   #10
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Default Re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Have gone gliding several times @ Deolali...
Hey GTO,

When did you go last? The article below states that gliding for common folks is closed since many months. Wonder what is the status currently?

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...w/66799411.cms
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Old 5th February 2019, 14:26   #11
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Default Re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

Nice write up Sam.

If I recall correctly, the same field used to host a lot of powered para gliders as well. It was a treat to watch them until a mishap costed someone's life.
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Old 5th February 2019, 18:19   #12
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Default Re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

Nicely written with details. A highly understated adventure in Pune vicinity.

I too once had a chance to experience a Glider, in the Netherlands. The gliding club of my University had open days where anyone can come and experience flying. (at a nominal cost). I was super excited and joined them hoping to be a regular. It gave me a whole different perspective about Flying, especially the birds that simply waft along via the thermals!

Unfortunately for me, the Pilot/Instructor decided to show me stalling action repeatedly 3 times by when I was literally out of breath in the Glider. He later sheepishly remarked that he did it once too much in my case! I puked and had a huge discomfort the whole day that I decided not to fly again the same day when the opportunity came. I very much agree with Jeroen that it is indeed a social sport. Many of the club members help the other the whole day for a few minutes of flying for themselves. Another highlight of the day was an old Dutch Air force G-Wagen doing the menial errands that I got to drive around the airfield! I still cherish that day.

Some pics of the day,

A console for those who power their destiny themselves (literally!)
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-20160507_175125.jpg

How the Gliders are packed in a trailer!
World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune-20160507_184505.jpg

Last edited by suhaas307 : 9th February 2019 at 23:07. Reason: Spacing
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Old 5th February 2019, 19:45   #13
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Default Re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

Looks like you are having a great time at Pune!

Lovely thread with all the necessary details.

Though i would have been a bit afraid on boarding these flights, how safe are these? Any safety instructions or tutorials before the flight?

Like how to escape if anything goes wrong or on the Do's & Don'ts ?

Last edited by suhaas307 : 9th February 2019 at 23:08. Reason: Spacing
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Old 6th February 2019, 02:10   #14
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Default Re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Have gone gliding several times @ Deolali. IIRC, the cost was merely 400 bucks a pop.
The view from up there - of Nashik city, the highway & the mountains - is breathtaking.
Thanks for the tip ! Nashik isn't very far from Pune, so if i happen to travel there in near future i will surely have this on my list

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikertillidie View Post
Nice write up Sam.

If I recall correctly, the same field used to host a lot of powered para gliders as well. It was a treat to watch them until a mishap costed someone's life.
Thank you. Sorry to hear about that incident. Accidents can happen in any sport. I hope they bring back the powered ones again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivee90 View Post
Nicely written with details. A highly understated adventure in Pune vicinity.

I too once had a chance to experience a Glider, in the Netherlands.

I puked and had a huge discomfort the whole day that I decided not to fly again the same day when the opportunity came. I very much agree with Jeroen that it is indeed a social sport.

How the Gliders are packed in a trailer!
Thanks. Glad to know so many Bhpians with hands on experience in flying. Its amazing to see how the glider is neatly tucked inside the trailer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Looks like you are having a great time at Pune!

Lovely thread with all the necessary details.

Though i would have been a bit afraid on boarding these flights, how safe are these? Any safety instructions or tutorials before the flight?
Like how to escape if anything goes wrong or on the Do's & Don'ts ?
Thanks Samba !

The only safety instruction i got was not to touch any controls in cockpit while i was in co-pilot's seat No parachutes also !

However i don't think gliders are any less safe than their engine driven counterparts. Its totally driven by thermals and wind. I remember while landing the Pilot intentionally let air inside cabin to lose altitude. No chance for engine failure also. Quoting some results of safety aspect which i found online. Maybe our glider pilot brothers can shed more light.

Quote:
Gliders (sailplanes) are not inherently dangerous. However the incidence of gliding accidents, considering the number of participants, is quite high. Here in Australia, we have maybe 2500–3000 glider pilots, and perhaps 1–2 fatalities per year on average. If the typical pilot averages 25 flights per year, that’s about a 1:50,000 chance of any given flight ending in a fatality. Or to put it another way, the average glider pilot could expect to fly for 150-200 years before being killed in a gliding accident.
Quote:
In my opinion gliders are extremely safe…IF you follow the rules.

I know of a few fatal incidents, all of them a result of bad behaviour on the pilots part.

Not wearing proper protection against the sun caused a couple of incidents.

Not listening to the ATC and “deciding to do things your way” led to collisions.

“Playing around” with the glider without the proper training/glider led to accidents.

However, as a glider pilot you will learn the purest form of flying. You’ll know all the aerodynamic forces by heart. You will undergo extensive stall and spin recovery training. A spin won’t scare you anymore. You’ll have excellent knowledge of weather and how it effects you.

There’s no engine that could fail, no hydraulics that could leak, no fuel that could burn, no nothing. The only electrical power you need is for your radio and maybe your audio variometer.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 9th February 2019 at 23:08. Reason: Spacing
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Old 6th February 2019, 04:18   #15
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Default Re: World's Cheapest Flight - Hadapsar Gliding Centre, Pune

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Originally Posted by Samfromindia View Post
The gliders are pulled up using a winch located at far end of the runway. After getting airborne the rope detaches and one car brings it back to base. After landing, a ATV kind of vehicle pulls the glider back to base with one person gently balancing the wings by holding them from one side.

I have always thought gliders needed an airplane for it to be towed up. I see them all the time getting towed from the airport next to my home. This has never crossed my mind that a pulley can make them airborne. This is cost effective. But at the same time, I guess it puts a limit to the maximum height it can reach.
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