Emirati 'Batman', who flew off Jebel Jais 1,900 times, to organise wingsuit flying fest

Ras Al Khaimah - Ras Al Khaimah Ruler to sponsor the event.



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By Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 23 Dec 2020, 3:09 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Dec 2020, 3:18 PM

Khalifa Salem Al Ghafri (33) is the quintessential Emirati ‘Batman’. His remarkable feat evokes awe and admiration and he is gearing up to organise the world’s first wingsuit flying festival.

Many travel enthusiasts may wish to trek Ras Al Khaimah's Jebel Jais – the highest mountain in the UAE – but Al Ghafri has defied gravity and flown off its peak over a record 1,900 times.

Al Ghafri, who is widely known as the man with orange wings, is in love with his wingsuit and flies off the UAE's highest peak with unflinching regularity.

“With five to six jumps a week, I have flown in a wingsuit off the highest peak in the country over 1,900 times. Most of my flying exploits are off the Jebel Jais,” he said.

Now, Al Ghafri is gearing up to host the first world wingsuit flying festival under the sponsorship of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah.

Al Ghafri, who took to wingsuit flying six years ago, is hosting other participants in the festival to get a feel of the thrilling experience.

“It is an exhilarating and a daunting experience to fly off the Jebel Jais. This is the reason I decided to organise the wingsuit flying festival off the Jebel Jais in collaboration with the RAK Tourism Development Authority.”

Each and every jump would be preceded by a 30-minute preparation, he added.

“I precisely decide the jump and carefully choose the landing site with the help of laser technology,” he said.

Usually, Al Ghafri starts landing at a height of 400 metres (m). “I open my parachute at a height of 400m, and gradually keep landing until I walk on the predetermined landing site,” he said.

Initially, Al Ghafri flies using his shoulders and keeps moving to his right and left similar to that of a bird or a plane.

“When I approach a mountain ridge, I quickly move my head and legs to avoid collision. The special skill becomes easier with hours of rigorous practice,” he added.

A special platform would be prepared for the wingsuit flying festival on top of the Jebel Jais, he said.

“World wingsuit flying champions will vie for the top spot in the upcoming festival,” he added.

reporters@khaleejtimes.com


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