By Beatrice Thomas
Soul Flyers World Champions Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet took an 828m leap off the Dubai skyscraper
Skydive Dubai has set a new Guinness World Record after Soul Flyers World Champions Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet took an 828m leap off the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
The pair secured Dubai's latest record-breaking title when they performed the feat on Monday in spectacular fashion as they set off orange flares on the way down.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Skydive Dubai said the jump was only possible with the construction of a 3x1m platform at the very top of the pinnacle, which it described as an immense task in itself.
The structure, which was recently spotted by residents and tourists and reported by Arabian Business last week, took three days to install, with challenges faced due to weather constrictions limiting the time available for construction, the company said.
It said measures were in place to ensure the Dubai pinnacle did not get damaged.
“On behalf of the entire team and myself, I would like to thank HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of Dubai Sports Council for giving us the opportunity in making this project a reality,” said Nasser Al Neyadi, president of the Aero Sport Federation and chairman of Skydive Dubai.
“Skydive Dubai has become a pioneer in regards to aerial sports and will continue to strive in setting more new world records.”
As part of preparations for the base jump, Fugen and Reffet completed a series of training jumps off Lauterbeunnen Mountain in Switzerland over a week, which is almost the same height as Burj Khalifa.
This was followed by base jumping out of helicopters in Dubai to ensure they were ready for the leap off of the world’s tallest building.
“This was the jump of a lifetime and an achievement of three years of hard training. I am glad we landed successfully, accomplishing a lifelong dream,” Fugen said.
Reffet added: “This was my best jump by far. It was a dream come true.”
In April, Skydive Dubai, which opened in 2010, broke the Guinness World Record for the smallest parachute jump.
“As always, Skydive Dubai prides itself on the 100 percent safety record and the Burj Khalifa jump is no exception”, said Alan Gayton, general manager, Skydive Dubai, The Palm Drop Zone.
“This success is due to the ‘practice make perfect’ method of training that we always follow and the 100 percent dedication of everyone working on this project.”
At 828m, Burj Khalifa has been the venue for several ‘stunts’ in the past.
In 2011, actor Tom Cruise reportedly left an inscription to his wife Katie Holmes, etched in the top spire of the structure, while filming scenes for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
And in the same year French specialist climber Alain Robert succeeded in conquering the tower. Known as the French Spiderman, Robert completed the climb in around six hours.
In the summer of 2013, award-winning UAE-based magician Dr Montaser Al Mansouri said he was seeking funding to stage an illusion, which will involve making the Burj Khalifa disappear for three seconds, but it was reportedly set to take place in December. “If I get a sponsor, I want to perform this magical feat,” the Ras Al Khaimah-born magician told the Xpress newspaper at the time.
Late last year Dubai Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was filmed waving a UAE flag from the top of the tower in celebration of Dubai’s successful bid to host the World Expo 2020, while in January fashion models scaled the outside of the tower during the staging of a vertical fashion catwalk to promote Dubai Shopping Festival.
Two months ago, a Dubai-based think tank proposed wrapping the tower in a super lightweight, reflective fabric. Proposed by OP-EN, the EXO-BURJ project would see the casing reflect the building and its surroundings. It would also allow visitors to walk up the encasement. Ahmed Salman, the founder and principal at OP-EN, told Arabian Business the proposed installation would be a temporary addition to the building and would be suspended off its central spire. While he admitted the company had not yet spoken to developer Emaar, he said it hoped to “soon” once more feasibility studies had been carried out.For all the latest lifestyle news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.