Malaysian skydiver bitten by the thrill of soaring through the skies


Haslil Razif’s first leap from an aircraft left him exhilarated for a week. Reflecting on that momentous occasion, he chuckled, “And then, I had recurring dreams that replayed the fear before my first jump.”

Eighteen jumps have since passed, split between static jumps from 4,000ft (1,219m) and free falls from 13,000ft (3,962m). For comparison, the highest point at Cameron Highlands is 1,830m and at Genting Highlands, 1,865m.

“In a static jump, you free fall briefly before your parachute opens automatically,” explained Haslil, 44. “Then comes the challenge of controlling an open canopy to land precisely.”

For those seeking a one-off thrill, tandem skydiving suffices, with the novice securely harnessed to the instructor. However, for the aspiring licence holder, after mastering static jumps, it’s time for the free falls.

Inside the airplane, just before the skydivers jump.Inside the airplane, just before the skydivers jump.

Describing a free fall as akin to physics principles, Haslil detailed the stable belly-to-earth posture and reaching terminal velocity at about 200kph.

If you dive head first, you will speed towards the ground at about 300kph, but this is only done in masterclass skydiving competitions or for extremely specific reasons.

“The belly-to-earth position takes practice, but it’s crucial for stable parachute deployment,” he emphasised. “I drilled it daily until it became second nature.”

Jumping from 13,000ft grants nearly 60 seconds of free fall.

Despite the roaring wind and chilly temperatures, the distant ground below creates an illusion of gentle descent.

Haslil (right) and another jumper holding hands while in their belly-to-earth positions until they are ready to deploy their parachutes.Haslil (right) and another jumper holding hands while in their belly-to-earth positions until they are ready to deploy their parachutes.

That precious minute-long free fall is what Haslil savours.

“When you look at the scenery down below, your eyes tell you that you are floating down gently instead of plummeting at terminal velocity,” he muses.

However, as the altimeter on his watch buzzes between 5,500ft and 4,000ft, reality sets in, signalling the need to pull the ripcord and deploy the parachute.

After that breathtaking free fall, the descent under the parachute lasts between five and eight minutes.

The jump instructor holding the hands of Haslil (left) and another jumper to keep them stable in the air until everyone is ready to deploy their parachutes.The jump instructor holding the hands of Haslil (left) and another jumper to keep them stable in the air until everyone is ready to deploy their parachutes.

“Pros might use a smaller one that lets them land in about two minutes, but beginners are normally required to use a larger chute because it gives a softer landing and more control,” he said.

Touching solid ground once more, Haslil struggles to articulate the sensation of safety.

“It’s indescribable,” he admitted, reflecting on his affinity for adventures on land and sea, finding solace in conquering the sky.

Haslil’s preferred skydiving spot lies in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, as it offers both a holiday escape and more affordable jumps compared to Malaysia.

Skydivers “floating” down.Skydivers “floating” down.

He pays about RM300 per jump there for licensed jumpers, including the flight and gear rental.

For those who want to earn a skydiving licence in Malaysia, Haslil said it would cost between RM10,000 and RM15,000, and a single jump can set you back RM800 to RM1,000.

Haslil hopes that fostering greater interest in skydiving domestically will drive down costs, making this thrilling sport more accessible to all.

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