An Iraqi skydiver set a new world record this week for the largest flag flown while skydiving.
Fareed Lafta, who is known for previous skydiving stunts, parachuted while flying an Iraqi flag measuring 4,023.2 m² over the Skydive Chicago facility in the U.S.
“No one has been able to break the record since 2005,” a proud Lafta told Al Arabiya in an interview. “I can’t describe the feeling when I completed the skydive jump…I was in a state of nirvana.”
In October 2008, also Lafta made history when he became the first ever to skydive over Mount Everest. He is also the first qualified astronaut from Iraq and the first from the Arab world to fly a plane to the edge of space.
Lafta said he underwent heavy training for two months because he needed to keep his body in rigid position to accomplish the feat. “I trained a lot and I was injured a lot,” he said.
If he hadn’t maintained symmetry in his dive, he said, the increased air resistance with the large heavy 115 kg flag could have spun him out of control.
Lafta, who also flew in a lawn chair suspended by helium-filled party balloons over central Oregon last month, broke the previous record set by a Turkish skydiver, Gazali Peltek.
Peltek flew a Turkish flag measuring 531.2 m² as he parachuted down to a military base in the central province of Kayseri in Turkey.
In 2011, Lafta performed a “Peace Jump” over Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul to send a message of love to the entire world. He also made a jump for peace in 2009 over Baghdad, his birthplace, carrying an olive branch with him down from the sky to the Iraqi people.