Kuwaitis can now ‘enjoy’ skydiving sports at home – Dream comes true

A sky driver in action

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 16, (KUNA): Kuwaiti fans of free skydiving who experienced the sport elsewhere in the world, can now enjoy it at home.

The dream has finally come true with the opening of the Kuwait Skydive and Fly center in Al-Khiran, the first specialized one in the country. Stepping inside the center, one soon feels how everyone is enthusiastic, staff and skydivers, amateur and professional. They all look as delighted as ever that the center eventually capped nine years of tireless work.

The idea emerged in 2009, and the project took normal channels through official and control bodies until it came into existence and was opened on Dec 9, 2017.

The center offers skydiving training courses for young people in cooperation with the Public Authority for Sport (PAS) and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), as well as other relevant bodies. It attracts many young people, males and females, of different ages to practice the sport.

The Kuwait Skydive and Fly initiative was originated by Ibrahim Al-Rubaian, also founder of the center. “Skydive and Fly is the first Kuwaiti initiative for free skydiving, and is classified under supporting small and medium size enterprises (SMEs),” Al-Rubaian told KUNA. Since it was opened, little more than a month ago, the center has attracted many Kuwaiti and Gulf fans. In less than a month, eight amateur skydivers completed a course and received licenses, he said.

Skydive has brought together 20 highlyefficient trainers, with licenses from leading specialized international organizations, including the United States Parachute Association (USPA). Al-Rubaian referred to a future plan to qualify and employ Kuwaiti youth, so that caders of the center would be one day “100 percent Kuwaitis.” He referred to the challenges that faced them until the center became a reality.

They were the usual routine procedures that encounter any new project, namely official approvals, he said. All jumps at the center meet the highest standards of safety, federal-certified equipment are used, with a plane and gear checked by a third-party inspector monthly.

Staff are required to get re-certified every 18 months, he stressed. The cost of a tandem training jump costs KD 160 ($531), while a course to get a qualification and a license hits KD 1,000 ($3,200). Free skydive, for licensed visitors, only costs KD 9.5 ($31.5). Al-Rubaian thanked PAS and the DGCA, and the sports for all department for their support to Skydive and Fly. “ I began to practise the sport in 2011, when I was studying at the US, then in many other countries I visited,” Jassim Al-Harbi, a fan told KUNA.

Totally Al-Harbi performed 1,200 jumps. He said that the sport also offers him the chance to exchange experience with other fans of the adventure. Al-Harbi noted that Skydive and Fly saved much money and time as one can now enjoy his favorite sport at home. Dr Marwa Al-Balohsi has been in skydive since 2010, when she was still a student in the USA. She said that it was not easy to continue the sport after she completed her studies and returned home. Sometimes, she flew to the UAE to enjoy skydiving. But now Skydive and Fly has made great change. There are up to 100 volunteers, males and females, at the center. They are over 18, and meet the required conditions for skydiving especially health fitness.

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