Photographer's Note

I have a fascination for airplanes. I guess that the main reason is that they remind me trips to distant places. However, I haven't much photos of airplanes. This is perhaps the only photo I have of an airplane in which I flew. The place has the pompous name of Jomsom airport. It is just an airstrip in the Annapurnas range, in the Kali Gandaki valley, very near the village of Jomsom, at 2700 meters / 9000 feet high. I am pretty sure that one of the peaks on the BG is called Nilgiri, but someone told me that the higher one is Tilicho, which is 7134 meters / 23400 feet high.

Jomsom is part of the popular "Annapuna circuit" trek and also the usual departing point of the "Mustang trek".

If one measures the depth of a canyon by the difference between the river height and the heights of the highest peaks on either side, this part of the Kali Gandaki valley is the deepest gorge of the world, because despite the high altitude of the river bed (not that high for the Himalayas...), it is flanked by several mountains with heights surpassing 6000 and 7000 meters and two surpassing 8000 (Dhaulagiri and Annapurna I).

The flights I did in this airplane were an unique experience and, believing the stories we were told, they were also quite dangerous. The winds in the valley, one of the few that connects the Tibetan plateau with the Indian subcontinent, are very strong and tricky; because of it, they only flew in early morning, when the winds were weaker. The airstrip was very short and it wasn't paved at that time (I saw in GoogleEarth that they have paved it already). We were told that only some more experienced pilots could do those flights, but accidents happened almost once a year (probably they were exaggerating). When we devised the airstrip from the air, it was hard to believe that it would be possible to land on a such short space. When the plane reached the end of the strip it was still moving so fast that I wondered if the sudden turn done by the pilot wasn't part of the landing instead of just a manoeuvre to put the aircraft closer to the airport building.

The flight between the town of Pokhara, a scenic place that almost reminds the tropics with stunning views to several snowed peaks, lasts little more than 30 minutes (70 Km), following the valley at an altitude lower than the highest peaks, allowing a close side view of them.

Link to all my posts of this area: *.

Location (latitude, longitude): 28.7812,83.7241

Note on the location in TE: according to Wikipedia, all this region, from Jomsom to Lo Manthang and Muktinath is part of Dhawalagiri district [te]. I put my posts in the Gandaki district following the others, as almost no one posts their photos of the region in the supposedly right place.

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Additional Photos by Jose Pires (stego) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4422 W: 612 N: 7301] (24132)
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