By Mohammed N Al Khan, Staff Reporter www.GulfNews.com
Dubai: Few people in their right mind would look at an 828-metre tower and think, “I want to jump off that.”
Even fewer would think of going to the Himalayas and flying up to Everest and diving off from 29,500 feet (8,991.6m). But for Nasser Al Niyadi, Omar Al Hegelan and the rest of Team Fazza Sky this is just about living the dream.
“The Burj Khalifa jump was the toughest jump I have done yet,” says Al Niyadi, who set a new world record with his base jump of 672m.
“I’m used to jumping out of planes where the second you’re off you can feel the wind forces and you’re able to control your flight.
“With base jumps there is no wind, you are starting stationary. So for the first five second I had no control, and I was drifting slightly towards the building, but then I gained enough speed and was able to control my fall and direct myself away from the Burj.
“About 11 seconds after the jump I opened my parachute and was able to pilot it to the main entrance of the Burj.”
Al Hegelan, the coach of Team Fazza Sky, said: “Seeing Nasser land safely was really a huge relief for me. Nasser is a very experienced jumper and we had trained a lot for the jump, and I had all the confidence in him.
“I was very proud of how he was able to control his flight and make all the right adjustments.
“We had spent a lot of time and effort planning this jump making sure that nothing goes wrong. But no matter how much you train, no matter how many times you jump even though all the odds are in your favour, there is still that one chance, that nervous feeling that sits in the back of your head.”
A minute later Al Hegelan jumped from the same point as his colleague.
“It was really amazing, an indescribable rush. Your limbs are still shaking from all the adrenaline when you’re on the ground. “We landed at two different locations and then ran to congratulate each other.”
Al Hegelan started base jumping in 1997 and has previously jumped from the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, during the trans-millennium New Year celebrations, where over 300,000 spectators watched him along with another 14 base jumpers make another world record.
He also has to his credit over 15,000 sky dives and multiple world and US national Titles in freestyle and freefly skydiving.
Team Fazza Sky has 15 members, only five of whom are parachutists. The rest include ground crew, mechanics, and pilots. Al Niyadi and the rest of the team focus their training on Paramotor (powered paraglider) piloting.
The team is currently competing in the Dubai International Parachuting Championship and Gulf Cup, being held at the Mina Al Seyahi, which opened on Thursday night. Team Fazza Sky will participate in the Accuracy Jump category of the championship.
“We don’t have a military background like some of the other teams. But that is why we are competing, to show that this can be a civilian sport too,” says Al Niyadi.
The team uses the Paramotor to practice at their private air field in Nad Al Sheba. Pilots would take the skydiver up in the two-seater Paramotor and let them jump out, an amazing feat in and of itself.
Al Niyadi is the Accuracy Sky Diving UAE national champion of 2007, and has undertaken more than 2,700 sky dives. “I did my first jump in 1992 here in Dubai, my parents were waiting for me on the ground with refreshments,” says the 38-year-old father of five. “I know they worry, it’s only natural, but they have always been very supportive in whatever I do.”
Al Niyadi has blended the traditional art of falconry to his love of Paramotors. He often takes his peregrine falcon up with him on a flight and has trained him fly along side him and hunt with him.
Al Neiyadi’s passion for this sport doesn’t end there; he has already passed it on to his son Khalid.
The 14-year-old is already an accomplish Paramotor pilot and is well on his way to becoming to the world’s youngest skydiver, another record for Team Fazza Sky.
What is base jumping?
B.A.S.E. is an acronym that stands for four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump: Buildings, Antennas, Spans (bridges), and Earth (cliffs).