As an enthusiastic bunch of aeromodellers, me and my friends have always been ready to explore various locations for flying our remote controlled planes. However the location hunting had primarily been confined within/near city limits. But all this was about to change. When Rohit Shetty released Chennai Express featuring ShahRukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, not only were we entertained by the movie but we also were deeply mesmerized by the various location the movie was shot at.
We were especially interested in the location where both ShahRukh and Deepika take refuge at a village after fleeing from Deepika’s native village. The backdrop of the village seemed very familiar to us. Having lived in Maharashtra for over 8 years, we were sure the location had to be somewhere around as the mountain structure and pattern looked so familiar to what we had already seen in and around Pune. After some brief googling the location was zeroed in to Dhom Dam, Wai, Maharashtra. Our stomach felt like they had butterflies in them as we discovered that this place was merely 104 Km from us.
It was the beginning of February, that me and my friends Amit and Anuj decided to drive to this place as the weather looked promising. The monsoon was behind us and the temperature was pleasant. We packed our
bags planes and headed out for this beautiful place. Both Amit and me packed the super reliable and a german marvel – EasyStar 2. Anuj had just ordered and built an HK slow stick. He packed the same for its maiden flight along with a mini wing.
So on the ninth day of February, we started early from our homes and headed to Dhom Dam. The condition of the road is good for most of the part and the view is scenic. As we move away from the city, the concrete jungles give way to the natural ones. We took a pit stop at one particular location, a few kilometres before the Mapro factory, which had a vast open land with nice brown mountains at the back. The sun was upon us and the winds were low, so we decided to maiden the HK SlowStik Anuj had bought.
The HK Slow Stick flew nice and handled the moderate winds pretty well. As it was the first flight of the plane, it was not properly trimmed and the CG was a little off mark as well. Also it is definitely faster than the original GWS Slow Stick due to two main reasons : the main wing is solid and does not have an under-camber and the overall weight is more than the original GWS Slow Stick. But due to the ailerons this slow stick is much more agile and responsive than the original. So if you have flown a GWS Slow Stick before, you would enjoy flying this for sure. Below is a short video of the first flight.
After the successful maiden of the Slow Stick, we continued our journey towards Dhom Dam. As the dam is not commercialized, there is no provision of food or water. It is advisable to either carry your food and water supplies or buy them from the last village before the dam area starts.
We had started for this place somewhere between 8-9 am and since we had made many pit stops on the way we decided to have lunch before we entered the dam area. So we started looking around for a place to eat as we moved ahead. Fortunately we managed to locate a local villager who offered to cook food for us in his home. He cooked egg bhurji and roti for us and used ingredients which he grew at his farm. The food was extremely tasty and we ate in traditional village style sitting on a mat laid down on the ground. As he charged a meagre Rs 200 for a very filling meal, we decided to give him an extra 100 bucks or so. After filling our stomach we raced ahead to reach our destination.
As we approached the main gates of the dam , the serene beauty of the place blew us apart. The clear blue waters of the dam along with mountains at the backdrop was a sight to die for. We were also pleasantly surprised to find a bunch of paragliders buzzing over our head. Maybe this is a popular spot for paragliding as well and the view from above must be amazing. Also our heart filled with a rush of adrenalin as we saw vast span of open spaces. This was the perfect arena to fire up our planes and unleash their powers.
We kept driving around the Dhom Dam to find the perfect spot for setting up and flying our planes. Along the way , we had loads of fun stopping at intermediate points for quick photo shoots etc. We speculated a lot of points for possible setting up of base but ditched at the last minute due various reasons.
After nearly driving midway to the other side of the dam, we came across an area which looked like the perfect place for setting out our planes. The area was flat and devoid of any shrubs or tall grass. This area was also accessible through our car and would save us from hiking a good amount of distance between the car and the base. We quickly parked our car at this location and began setting up the planes for flights.
By the time we reached this spot and set up the planes it had become quite windy. Initially we were quite scared and nervous of flying deep over the dam, but as we got a hang of the plane in the prevalent conditions , we turned into daredevils.
Flying at Dhom Dam was an experience beyond what we had felt. It was totally worth the time and effort we had put in this trip. My friend managed to capture me and Amit flying the Easy Star on my camera. You have to look at the video in order to feel the beauty of this place. If you have any comments or questions regarding the trip or want to organize a similar trip do drop a comment below and I will be happy to help
Oh !! And did I mention that one the EasyStar 2 was fitted with a GoPro camera during one of the flights. The camera captures the spectacular beauty of the Dhom Dam from a totally different perspective. For the bird’s eye view of the Dhom Dam enjoy the aerial video as below.
Also my friend Amit inspired by Man v/s Wild tried to hunt his own fish for dinner and failed miserably.