Photo: Jody Macdonald
Photo: Jody MacDonald
- John is the the best known of all Himalayan adventure pilots and continues to take adventure flying in the world's highest mountains to new levels. Originally a well-known climber, he became a very successful paragliding competition pilot before pioneering Himalayan vol-bivouac with a 500 km trip starting near Bir in 1997. Since then he has explored the Himalaya extensively, including another vol-bivouac first by flying tandem across the West Nepalese Himalaya (documented in the film From Nowhere to the Middle of Nowhere), and spectacular flights in Pakistan’s Karakorum, where he has regularly flown at well over 7000m and pioneered some incredible routes, including a circumnavigation of Nanga Parbat. For info on John’s guiding trips in Pakistan look here. His recent film Birdman of the Karakorum tells the story of a tandem crossing of a 6500m pass among other high altitude adventures and it won the Human Adventure prize at the 2009 Coupe Icare. In 2010 John made the first aerial circumnavigation of the 5600m Manimahesh Kailash, the biggest peak in the Chamba region of the Western Himalaya. John is based in Snowdonia and in 2007 he broke the British paragliding distance record by flying the length of Wales to the Severn Bridge, a record which stood until 2011.
Photo: Jody MacDonald
- Eddie has been on several flying expeditions to the Himalayas and, together with John, he pioneered the amazing flying area of Hunza in Pakistan in 2002, where he made a short film, Hypoxia, about his antics at over 7000 metres. In May 2008 John and Eddie returned to Pakistan - John’s story of their adventures was published in issue 119 of Cross Country magazine and you can read more about the trip on our blog. Eddie accompanied John on some of the epic adventures described in Birdman of the Karakorum. Eddie was a paragliding school proprietor in the UK for 10 years, an instructor for 15 and taught in India over two full winters in the mid-90s.
Photo: Jerome Maupoint
- Jim first went to India in 1988 and has been back every year since. Fluent in Hindi and a scholar of Sanskrit and Indian religion, he’s made Bir his autumn base for the last ten years. His film Temples in the Clouds, about a vol-bivouac adventure in the Bir region, was released in July 2008 and won the Matinales du Off prize at the 2008 Coupe Icare. Jim has contributed numerous articles on his Himalayan adventures to Cross Country magazine. He’s also an accomplished XC pilot in the UK, holding the distance records for most of the flying sites near his Wiltshire home, and an occasional member of the British team. In 2011 he captained the victorious South in the inaugural North-South Cup.
- Born and bred in Manali, Italian-Bengali Debu has been flying paragliders in the Himalayas since he was 15. He’s now India’s most experienced competition pilot, having won the Indian national championships a handful of times and become a PWC regular. He’s also a world class acro pilot. He joined us on a tour in the Kullu valley in 2008 and his local knowledge, flying talent and charm made him an invaluable addition to the team. He’s also a polyglot, putting Jim to shame with his fluency in English, Italian, French, Hindi and Pahari (the local mountain dialect).
- Antoine runs Airzone flying school in Millau, France, and has been spending the winters in India for the past decade. We have been lucky enough to have him helping us out for the last two years and we are very pleased to say that this arrangement looks set to continue. A fantastically talented pilot, Antoine also has a gift for imparting his hard-won knowledge in many languages. Not only was Antoine part of the incredible Himalayan Odyssey, in which he flew from near Bir to the far end of Nepal, the longest vol-bivouac trip in history. He’s also flown unsupported vol biv through much of the Sierra Nevada in the Sierra Safari.
- Dean runs Active Edge Paragliding school in Britain’s Yorkshire. Dean Crosby is, without doubt, one of the most experienced instructors in the UK. He's taught at every level from Day 1 beginner to British Team squad member. He has passed his 30th year of free flight (he started before he was a teenager!), during this time he's captained both the British Hang Gliding and British Paragliding Teams. He's also been British Paragliding Champion and British Cross Country Champion 1993. Even today when many instructors rarely fly, Dean is still fanatical about cross country flying, more recently in 2006 he was crowned British Paragliding Cross Country Champion for the second time. He's served on the prestigious BHPA Flying and Safety committee and competed at national level in all three soaring disciplines. In 2012, before coming with us, he completed a trans Pyranean unsupported vol biv proving not only is he an excellent flyer, but boy - this man can walk and pack for walking. We’re so pleased to have him back again.