Three pilots start 20 day Vol-Biv across Nepal

Riley launches early morning during a vol-biv trip in Nepal. Photo Brian Thibeault.

Riley launches early morning during a vol-biv trip in Nepal. Photo Brian Thibeault.


A trio of pilots have embarked on a 20 day vol-biv flight across Nepal.

Mitch Riley, Brian Thibeault, and Premek Hulek hopped a 30 hour bus ride from Pokhara to Patan in the far west of the country earlier this week, and will spend the next three weeks flying with the prevailing winds eastwards along the Himalayan range.

Without a specific itinerary, the trio plan to let the terrain and winds guide them, and are excited to explore off the route when conditions allow. However they expect to end up near the easterly border, over 1,000km away by the time the three weeks are up. “We want to stay deep,” said Delta 2 pilot Riley, as the group prepared for departure, “but the first part of the journey is the most challenging as we have to fly the low country to avoid a big relief trap.”

Riley, from the US, and Czech Hulek both work in Pokhara as tandem pilots. Riley holds the Nepal distance record on XContest while Hulek, flew a 100km triangle on his Peak 3 the week before they left for Patan. Thibeault, who recently arrived in Nepal from the US, flies a Trango XC2, and has already clocked up some practice vol-biv flights in the Annupurna foothills.

The trio are carrying supplies for five days, so they can stick to the high ground, where villages offering food and shelter are scarcer. But, said Thibeault, “I’m really looking forward to landing in places where they haven’t seen tourists before and I can get a glimpse of how the real Nepal is.”

Nepal has previously been traversed by Nepalese flying icon Babu Sano Sunuwar on a tandem, as well as Brad Sander and Eric Reed who famously got arrested when they crossed the border into Sikkim in India.

This trip can be followed with the team’s spot trackers: Riley | Hulek | Thibeault

Andy Pag, Pokhara

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