John is probably the original Himalayan adventure pilot. 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 From Nowhere to the Middle of Nowhere) and spectacular flights in Pakistan’s Karakorum, where he has pioneered some incredible routes, including a circumnavigation of Nanga Parbat.
His film Birdman of the Karakorum tells the story of a tandem crossing of a 6500m pass among other high altitude adventures, 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, but inauspiciously in the wrong direction, anti-clockwise. So far the kharma has remained cool!
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.
Eddie also features in some of the epic adventures described in Birdman of the Karakorum.
Not only a very accomplished pilot, Eddie is perfectly qualified for guiding, having been 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 and has been coming back ever since. By the way there us a helmet under that woolly hat.
Jim is our 'India Consultant' - he 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.
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.
Dave Lewis Is great:
He’s also eminently qualified having guided in India for the past 15 years and is senior coach of the busy UK southern club and proprietor and pilot of the only full time tandem outfit in the UK. On top of this he has spent 15 years guiding people on the Dahauldhar and is one of the most caring people you’re likely to meet. So if you are low airtime and your goal is to ensure you get to Dahramsala by the end of the tour, Dave will do it with you with all the patience of a saint, although maybe not the nature.
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.
One of the originals, who now makes guest guiding appearances when allowed out from his nine to five, and go over the back to play!
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).
Mike Blubb is good, “very very good”, which also his attitude and the way he does things. He can’t help it he’s just good at it: An acro master and a master of the Himalaya. Any available opportunity he will vol biv but he’ll also take great care. A professional migratory tandem wallah for a living and has 15+ seasons at Bir. Also one of the original team of the Himalayan Odessey and much loved and admired elder brother of Mani Blubb Laengle. An Uncle and a Father. His Mother tongue is Austrian, but his English is very very good.
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,was crowned British Paragliding Cross Country Champion for the second time in 2006.